How to win TEF’s $5,000 and other ways to source for funds for your business (Must Read for Entrepreneur)

You can actually win $5,000 in Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), a helping hand to all entrepreneurs on African continent. But TEF isn’t the only source fund for your business. Today, we will look at some of these funds and criteria for accessing them.

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General criteria

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 he/she wants to be in the near future and be able to describe the market he/she plays. The entrepreneur should have good book-keeping in order to accurately know his/her revenue and the expenditure.

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Tony Elumelu Foundation

The Tony Elumelu Foundation has opened its application portal for the 5th cycle of its $100million Entrepreneurship Programme. If you have an innovative business idea or a business in existence that is less than 3 years old.

If you are selected, you will join our current 4,470 TEF alumni and you will receive $5,000 seed capital (no return needed), access to mentors, top-rated business training, access to a network of African entrepreneurs and opportunities for you and your business to share a global stage.

Tony Elumelu Foundation has $100 million for 10,000 African entrepreneurs. If you are in agriculture, fashion and design, light manufacturing, ICT, and solid minerals, among others, then apply for the on-going Tony Elumemu fund. You can be lucky to be one of 1,000 entrepreneurs to be shortlisted.

More than 150,000 Africans from 114 countries worldwide applied to join the 4th ‎cycle of the programme in 2018.

The 2018 class, however, included an additional 250 entrepreneurs to the standard selection of 1,000. This was made possible by $1 million partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which pledged to support 200 entrepreneurs in conflict and fragile zones of Nigeria, particularly in the North-East where Boko Haram insurgency is rife and the Niger Delta region hard hit by environmental degradation from oil spillage. There was also a $200,000 agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to support 40 pan-African entrepreneurs and a $50,000 partnership with Indorama to support 10 Nigerians.

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Many entrepreneurs will get $5,000 or more as grants or loans.

BoI Funds

The Bank of Industry (BoI) provides a number of funds for entrepreneurs at single digit.

This development finance institution (DFI) has been rated by many local and international agencies as one of the best managed banks in the world.

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). Candidates are allowed to submit their business ideas, which are then reviewed by a team of experts. The NYSC members whose ideas are marketable and bankable are then selected, trained for four weeks and then given between N500, 000 and N2 million.

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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.

In fact, the bank has other matching and managed funds, including a fund for the automotive industry. Through 122 business development experts, the bank makes it easy for entrepreneurs to undergo the process of de-risking before approaching the bank for funds.

The bank has a N5 billion fund from Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote to finance SMEs at a single digit rate.

In November 2018, Olukayode Pitan, managing director, BoI, said at a meeting with Fahad Obaid AlTaffag, ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Nigeria, that the bank was ready to support genuine foreign businesses willing to invest in Africa’s biggest market.

“We cover the whole industrial sector to ensure that Nigerian companies become competitive. We know that borrowing money between 20 and 30 per cent is a big drag on companies and most of the banks in Nigeria are not able to give long term facilities. We are able to grant loans between seven and 10 per cent per annum for 10 years,” he said during the meeting.

AYEEN Financial Grants

Africa’s Young Entrepreneurs Empowerment Nigeria (AYEEN) allows entrepreneurs to pitch their business ideas before a panel. The panel assesses each entrepreneur and decides whether to provide financing for the business.

Hundreds of entrepreneurs walk away annually with various degrees of business funding and other forms of empowerment from various types of investors.


The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) has N25 billion to support SMEs. Though this was started by Akinwumi Ambode, the outgoing Lagos State governor, authorities have assured that the scheme will continue owing to the impact it has made on the people of the state.


The 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 for a tenor of three years. The criteria for accessing the funds include: membership of a business organisation, which will recommend the business for the loan; Lagos State tax receipt for at least six months, and Lagos state residency card. This takes three weeks for processing.

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“It is incredibly fulfilling for me to see small businesses get access to funding without bias, without nepotism, without nepotism,” Akintunde Oyebode, chief executive officer and executive secretary of LSETF, told BusinessDay in an exclusive interview recently.

“It has been superb and exciting. We have been able to support thousands of businesses, so it is rewarding and fulfilling to see a lot of our work starting to show signs of delivering some value,” he said.

So far, up to 8,000 businesses have got over N6 billion from LSETF.

World Bank Grants

The World Bank provides millions of dollars for SMEs.

The bank has a $160 million Growth and Employment in States (GEMS) funds for small businesses in Nigeria, which is yet to be fully disbursed. As of September 2018, only N3.7 billion of this money had been disbursed.

GroFin Fund

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.

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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.

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