While getting fund for that business idea might not sound quite as easy as, say, debating the effect of economic policies on small businesses, it’s still top priority for the overwhelming majority of Africans who have decided to go the entrepreneurial route, with about 80% percent listing it as their number one concern.
With that in mind, and because this topic can get convoluted real fast, we’re breaking down the places you absolutely need to know about to get business grants—whether as a small business, NGO, women, or social enterprise.
1. The Tony Elumelu Foundation
The $100 million programme, announced at the Tony Elumelu Foundation through its Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurial Programme () plans to identify and support 1,000 entrepreneurs from across the continent each year over the next 10 years.
The 10,000 start-ups and young businesses selected from across Africa will ultimately create one million new jobs and add $10 billion in annual revenues to Africa’s economy.
2. Acumen Fund
is a charity organisation incorporated in 2001 with seed capital from the Rockefeller Foundation, Cisco Systems Foundation and three individual philanthropists.
The Acumen Fund invests in entrepreneurs who have the capability to bring sustainable solutions to big problems.
3. Seedstars Africa
is a member of Seedstars Group, a Swiss-based venture builder that is active and invests in 35+ countries around the world especially in emerging markets in Asia, South America, The Middle East and Africa.
Seedstars recently invested $330,000 in SimplePay, a young Nigerian third-party payment processing company that has created a solution which will likely disrupt payment services in Nigeria and Africa.
4. The African Development Foundation
The (ADF) is an independent Federal agency of the United States government that was established to support African-led development that grows community enterprises by providing seed capital and technical support.
5. Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund
The is a US$ 207m fund capitalized by multilateral and bilateral donors (the AECF donors) to stimulate private sector entrepreneurs in Africa. The AECF is supported by the governments of Australia, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom, as well as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
The Fund awards grants and repayable grants to private sector companies to support innovative business ideas in agriculture, agribusiness, renewable energy, adaptation to climate change and access to information and financial services.
6. African Womens Development Fund (AWDF)
The is the first pan-African women’s grant maker in Africa. Since the start of its operations in 2001, AWDF has provided US$17 million in grants to 800 womens organizations in 42 African countries. The AWDF is an institutional capacity-building and programme development fund, which aims to help build a culture of learning and partnerships within the African womens movement.
In addition to raising money and awarding business grants, the AWDF will attempt to strengthen the organisational capacities of its grantees.
is a private equity investment fund focused on food and agribusiness in Sub-Sahara Africa. Since it started in 2008, it has invested over $100m in Africas food and agribusiness sector.
Its investments in Africa include: Dew Crisp (South Africa), Africa Juice (Ethiopia), Fairfield Dairy (South Africa), New Forests Company (Tanzania), Hygrotech (South Africa), Kariki Group (Kenya) and Vida Oils (Mozambique). Entrepreneurs with viable projects in Nigeria and other African countries are free to apply.
8. The eVA Fund
The (eVA Fund) was launched in January 2010 and is dedicated to mobilising capital and experience in the Netherlands/Europe to invest in small and medium-sized African internet related companies.
eVA Fund exclusively provides funding to startups in sub-Saharan Africa. Some of its investments include: Nomanini, Verviant, Umuntu Media, and MoboFree.
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