Seed capital for expansion is becoming increasingly challenging for businesses to locate.
Understanding the critical importance of funding to Nigerian business owners and entrepreneurs, Start-Up Digest, in its characteristic manner, has dug up some of the places where entrepreneurs can access funds for their businesses.
Finance is the fuel that propels every business and, in its absence, entrepreneurs with wonderful ideas risk failure or stagnation.
There are general criteria to access these funds and there are also specific ones depending on the particular funding institution.
The general criterion for accessing these funds is to have a business. These firms rarely fund ideas because ideas are untested and untried.
You must have a business and ensure that it is providing a solution to a problem in society.
Next is to have a bankable and viable business plan. More so, the entrepreneur should be clear on where they want to be in the near future and be able to describe their market.
Moreover, they should have good book-keeping in order to accurately know their revenue and the expenditure.
The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) has a capital base of about N11.1 billion and has disbursed loans worth N7.3 billion to no fewer than 11,000 micro, small and medium scale enterprises.
Its fund is divided into two categories: micro and small businesses. Under the micro, businesses can access up to N500, 000 loans with an interest rate of five percent and a tenor of one year. For the small business category, businesses can get up to N5 million with a tenor of three years.
Speaking with Start-Up Digest, Uchechukwu Abiakam, who runs a fashion business and produces a sportswear brand, said she got N5 million from LSETF.
“I must tell you it was amazing how that happened. I approached the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF). I submitted my application and it was as if everything was timed. After a couple of weeks, I was contacted and they came to inspect my premises. After some time, they told me to come for training. After the training, they asked me to come and take my offer letter. In October this year, they told me the fund would be disbursed at a certain time and it was done.”
On why she got that loan of N5 million, Abiakam said, “I think they saw the kind of business we are doing. We have a proper structure. We showed them our track record and they saw the products displayed on online stores. They also saw what we already had without funding.”
This is a lesson for entrepreneurs seeking funds.
The BoI has a number of funds that entrepreneurs of all levels can access. First is the Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund (GEF), which is meant for serving members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
There are also the Cottage Agro Processing (CAP) Fund for small and medium agro processors; Nolly Fund for players in the Nollywood industry, as well as Fashion Fund for designers and other players in the value chain. There are specific funds for manufacturers, including CTG Fund for textile makers, and Cassava Bread Fund.
The bank has other matching and managed funds, including a fund for the automotive industry and the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Program funds (MarketMoni, TraderMoni).
Through the business development experts, it has become easy for entrepreneurs to access funds.
Tony Elumelu Fund
Tony Elumelu Foundation has empowered 9,631 entrepreneurs from across 54 countries of Africa with seed funds of mostly $5,000 each.
Elumelu set aside $100 million few years ago for 10,000 African entrepreneurs.
If you are in agriculture, fashion and design, light manufacturing, ICT, and solid minerals, among others, then you may apply for the on-going Tony Elumemu Fund. You can be one of the 1,000 lucky entrepreneurs to be shortlisted for 2020.
The funds offered by the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) is good for exporters and manufacturers seeking to explore new markets. NEXIM was established in 1991 with a share capital of N50 billion held equally by the Federal Ministry of Finance Incorporated and the Central Bank of Nigeria. Some of the funds available at the bank include ECOWAS Trade Support Facility for exporters within West Africa, Direct Lending Facility, and Foreign Input Facility, among others.
GroFin, a development financier, has committed over $500 million to funding Nigerian micro, small and medium business (MSMEs) across the country.
The firm has five different types of fund: the Aspire Nigeria Fund, the Growth Africa Fund, the Small Growing Business Fund, the Aspire Small Business Fund and the Aspire Growth Fund.
The Aspire Nigeria Fund, the Growth Africa Fund and the Small Growing Business Fund cater for all parts of Nigeria except the Niger Delta.
The Aspire Small Business Fund provides a minimum of $100,000 and a maximum of $1.5 million to SMEs in Nigeria.
The Aspire Small Business Fund and the Aspire Growth Fund cater for the Niger Delta.
The Aspire Small Business Fund provides between $10,000 and $100,000 to small business owners in the oil-rich region, while the Aspire Growth Fund frees between $100,000 and $3 million to businesses to stimulate growth in the area. GroFin provides its funds mostly for a maximum of six years.
The African Export-Import (Afrexim) Bank has offered $500 million for manufacturers in preparation for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which begins in July this year. Those who may easily access this fund are members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN).
The Orange Corners is an incubation programme that provides aspiring Nigerian young entrepreneurs with a dynamic, state-of-the-art facility, where they get the opportunity to collaborate and work with like-minded individuals.
Orange Corners Lagos is developed and funded by the Netherlands embassy in Lagos and implemented by FATE Foundation.
It provides funding for prototype business development for entrepreneurs who are within 18- 35 years with innovative business models in education, health, agriculture and the creative sector.
Over the years, crowd funding has become an effective alternative for entrepreneurs to raise funds for their business ideas.
It is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising money from a large number of people who each contribute a relatively small amount, typically via the Internet.
It is initiated by some organisations or people to support a broad array of activities such as journalism, disaster relief, political campaigns, start-up funding, movie development, support of artists by fans, and scientific research, among others.
Though its knowledge is still low amongst Nigeria’s start-ups, some entrepreneurs are already talking advantage of it to raise funds for their businesses.
Some of the popular crowdfunding websites where entrepreneurs can raise funds from are: Kickstarter, RocketHub, Indiegogo, GoFundMe, Imeela, Crowdfunder and Wefunder, among others.
Africa’s Young Entrepreneurs (A.Y.E) was conceived to effectively affect the business space and entrepreneurial minds of young Nigerians. The conception has led to the identification of viable business ideas, start-ups and existing businesses which have been generously aided with funding, business mentorship and training.
The peculiarity of AYEEN is that there will be no ultimate winners, rather hundreds of people walk away annually with various degrees of business funding and other forms of empowerment.
NESG Startup Pitch Competition
The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) startup pitch competition is a yearly event organised in partnership with Venture Garden Group and its start-up investment/acceleration arm GreenHouse Capital to develop a strategy for the event that will empower start-ups before and after the competition, provide value to ecosystem players and sponsors, while putting NESG on the map as a key supporter of innovation in Nigeria.
In 2017 (NES23), the NESG introduced a Startup Pitch Competition as part of the Annual Nigerian Economic Summit.
The pitch competition created an avenue through which, young, innovative Nigerian start-ups engaged with the wide array of stakeholders drawn to NES.
Additionally, start-ups participating in the competition had the opportunity to win catalytic funding to help them scale their businesses.