Table of Contents Hide
- #1. Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Program
- #2. Shared Interest
- #3. Tshikululu Social Investments
- #4. VC4 Africa
- #5. Schwab Foundation
- #6. Root Capital
- #7. Savannah Fund
- #8. Seedstars Africa
- #9. Lundin Foundation
- #10. responsAbility
- #11. Anzisha Prize
- #12. MEST Africa Challenge
- #13. She Leads Africa Accelerator Grants
- #14. Miss Africa Seed Grants for African Women in Tech Businesses
- #15. YALI Regional Leadership
- #16. Ashden International Awards for Entrepreneurs in Developing Countries
- #17. African Entrepreneurship Award
- #18. GroFin Grants
- #19. African Women Development Fund
- #20. Unilever Young Entrepreneurs Award
- #21. Innovation Prize for Africa
- #22. African Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship (AWIE)
- #23. Guzakuza Agribusiness Fund
- #24. The African Development Foundation
- #25. Acumen Business Fund
- #26. Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund
SME Grants are an excellent way for Entrepreneurs and Business Owners to actualize their dreams.
This is because, they help with paying salaries, reaching out to potential customers, buying stocks, and running ads. It’s just a simple way to move businesses to the next level.
But, even though SME grants are “free,” you just cannot get them on a platter of gold. Simple registration on some website somewhere isn’t just enough to get you one.
The competition for grants is way over the roof and that’s because you’re not the only one in need of that free money.
Basically, a consistent amount of effort is required to apply for a grant.
Furthermore, you need to understand that, even after the hustle of submitting a proper application, there are no assertions that you would get it.
And this is largely tied to a number of reasons. Like the fact that;
- Most grants are for existing businesses
- Grants are not immediate; and
- Only Interesting businesses are eligible.
In any case, to increase your chances of getting one, I have put together a list of 20+ SME Grants for Africans.
#1. Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Program
So, this program was founded by Mr. Tony Elumelu, a Philanthropist and Entrepreneur from Nigeria. It provides an annual SME grant aimed at empowering 10,000 African Entrepreneurs with $100 million yearly.
Furthermore, asides the funding, this program is designed to also mentor and train Entrepreneurs across the 54 African countries of the Continent.
- To create 1 million new jobs and generate a revenue of $10 billion yearly to Africa’s economy through the selected young businesses.
- All applicants must be legal residents of one of the 54 African Countries.
- All businesses must be in existence for at least three years.
How to Apply
To apply for this Entrepreneurship program, follow this link:
#2. Shared Interest
Shared Interest is a lending society founded in the year 1990 in England.
However, Its growth has led to the establishment of satellite offices in Ghana, Peru, Kenya, and Costa Rica.
Also, it has other investments across Africa, especially in Kenya, Mauritius, and some other countries East of Africa.
Furthermore, Shared Interest has over 9,000 members based in the UK, with each member investing between £100 to £100,000. So, this makes available a shared capital of £29m.
- To make finances available to Producers, Farmers, and Artisans in developing countries to share the risk.
How to Apply
Applications are sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
#3. Tshikululu Social Investments
Tshikululu Social Investments is a South African Corporate Social Investment (CSI) manager responsible for dispensing SME Grants to Africans.
Furthermore, it is responsible for managing the CSI funds of multiple organizations, especially the FirstRand Foundation, Rand Merchant Bank Fund, De Beers Fund, and so on.
In addition, Tshikululu goes as far as providing wide-ranging social investments and community grants for private entities in line with developing trends.
- To provide SME grants for several industries ranging from arts and culture to health, community development, and several others.
Tel: +27(0)11 544 0300
#4. VC4 Africa
This community is an exception as it tries to provide startup funding for African Entrepreneurs. However, VC4Africa is an online community which started as a LinkedIn group in the year 2008 and has grown to be one of the largest community with members in 159 countries.
Also, the platform is targeted at equipping Entrepreneurs through free online tools and mentorship opportunities.
Although VC4 Africa doesn’t give SME grants, they expose you to opportunities and link you to investors.
- To build game-changing companies in Africa by linking investors to small businesses regardless of the industry.
To Join the Community
Sign up for a VC4 Africa account, following this link
#5. Schwab Foundation
Schwab Foundation is a Social Entrepreneurship-based organization founded in the year 1998. Its headquarters is located in Cologny-Geneva in Switzerland, which makes it under the legal supervision of the Swiss Government.
However, the Schwab Foundation hunts for just social Entrepreneurs across the Continent and subjects them to severe scrutiny.
So, until this process is over, you are not considered eligible for the SME grant.
- To advance social Entrepreneurship in different areas, including: health, education, environment, agribusiness, technology, etc.
Tel: +41 (0) 22 869 1212
#6. Root Capital
Root Capital is a non-profit investment fund that came into existence in the year 1999. But, over the years, it has empowered over 400 businesses in Africa with SME Grants worth over $500 million.
Furthermore, this fund is out to positively impact rural businesses, communities, and families, socially and environmentally. However, it maintains a 100% payback policy for its investors.
- To foster rural prosperity in poor and environmentally vulnerable locations in Africa by lending capital.
- To deliver financial training and strengthen market connections for agricultural small and medium-sized businesses.
Mobile: +254 736.864892
#7. Savannah Fund
Savannah fund is also another exception to the existing-business rule because it provides startup SME grants to African Entrepreneurs.
However, it focuses on early-stage high growth technology startups in Africa. Further, since its inception in 2002, it has recorded 15 investments in Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, and South Africa.
In addition, these investments have, in turn, helped to generate a revenue worth over $8 million and produced close to 100 jobs.
- To bridge the gap between venture capital investments and early startups in Africa.
3rd Floor, Bishop Magua Centre,
George Padmore Lane, m: Lab East Africa,
P.O Box 58275-00200
For more details about application guidelines and format, you can go through our detailed guide.
To apply to Savannah Fund’s Accelerator Programs, visit:
#8. Seedstars Africa
Seedstars Africa is a Swiss-based organization actively investing in over 53 countries across the globe, especially in the Middle East, South America, Asia, and Africa.
However, to set the ball rolling, Seedstars World annually organizes a very competitive competition for SME grants in emerging markets. This competition helps identify promising companies in need of technical help and capital.
However, a recent $330,000 investment in Nigeria was SimplePay, a third-party payment option that focused on solving the issues with payment gateways in Africa.
- To build and support online businesses in Africa.
- To fund web and mobile tech startups in Africa.
#9. Lundin Foundation
Lundin Foundation is an organization founded in the year 2005 by a Swedish family named Lundin. However, Its headquarters is located in Canada with its regional offices in Ghana and Kenya.
Also, several businesses and entrepreneurs in over 15 African Countries have benefited from SME grants funded by the Lundin Foundation.
- To provide risk capital, grants, and technical assistance to unique social organizations across the globe.
responsAbility Investments is an independent asset manager focused on sectors related to development in emerging economies. Furthermore, It was founded in the year 2003 with its headquarters in Zurich and local offices in Mumbai, Paris, Lima, and Nairobi.
Also, responsAbility currently has assets worth over $2.2 billion in 500 countries across the globe.
- To provide financing to non-listed companies with models focused on the section of the population with lower income.
Tel. +254 709 803 000
#11. Anzisha Prize
If you are a founder of an existing business initiative, the African Leadership Academy’s Anzisha Prize provides business grants to young inventive African entrepreneurs.
Young Africans between the ages of 15 and 22 will get not only business funding but also leadership and entrepreneurship training.
Basically, this is an ideal business grant for young African innovators, regardless of their initiative, business, or project.
- To provide business subsidies to young African entrepreneurs who are inventive.
- Mentorship for young entrepreneurs between the ages of 15 and 22.
The website for the Anisha Prize is https://anzishaprize.org.
#12. MEST Africa Challenge
This is an annual Africa wide-pitch competition with a $50,000 company fund for startup equity investment.
MEST Africa Challenge is a great business grant for ICT entrepreneurs in any of the following countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sénégal, South Africa, and Tanzania. The challenge is a one-of-a-kind search for African tech entrepreneurs with a focus on providing mentoring, financing, extensive networking with other entrepreneurs, and startup opportunities.
- To provide business investment funds to African entrepreneurs.
- Grants to young African entrepreneurs in the field of new technology.
For more information, you can visit their official website.
#13. She Leads Africa Accelerator Grants
This business award is offered annually to female entrepreneurs in Nigeria who are between the ages of 18 and 35 and have a firm that requires finance.
For the most part, the She Leads Africa Accelerator prize will enhance your profile, provide you with access to Nigerian funding, introduce you to the top business minds in the country, and provide you with the opportunity to invest in your company.
The program lasts six months and provides N2 million in investment funding to female entrepreneurs.
- To contribute N2 million in investment money
- To provide a business fund and media promotion to female entrepreneurs aged 18 to 35 who already have a firm in Nigeria.
More information are avaliable on their official website.
#14. Miss Africa Seed Grants for African Women in Tech Businesses
The winner will receive a $5,000 business award, while the finalists will receive a $1,000 grand prize. Miss Africa Seed Funding assists African women and girls who are running tech businesses.
Meanwhile, DCA Academy’s Business Grants for African Entrepreneurs program is responsible for providing financial assistance to women working in science-related professions.
So basically, if you are a current resident of any African country with a track record of leadership as a company representative or social enterprise in Africa, then have a look at these grants, which are designed to help STEM fields and allied areas.
- To offer grants to women and females who show leadership potential.
Females in STEM fields and allied subjects are eligible for a US$5,000 business award, with a $1000 grand prize for finalists.
#15. YALI Regional Leadership
The Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) was established to assist African entrepreneurs and invest in Africa’s next generation of enterprises.
In general, grants are given to civil leaders, entrepreneurs, and business owners, along with other benefits such as leadership training, creativity and invention, and effective communication as an entrepreneur.
- To support small busineses with Grants
- To support young African entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35.
#16. Ashden International Awards for Entrepreneurs in Developing Countries
One of the world’s largest green energy company awards, the Ashden International Awards for Entrepreneurs recognizes innovative businesses that contribute to the creation of sustainable energy systems.
In other words, the entrepreneurship grants are available to non-profits and social enterprises that are working to develop a low-carbon world for future generations.
- Business and social enterprises are only eligible for a grant of $20,000.
- They must be established on a list of UN-approved nations. And because African countries are on the list of eligible countries, you have the opportunity to apply for this grant.
How to Apply
Basically, application procedures are pretty straightforward. Just visit their official website for all the information you need.
#17. African Entrepreneurship Award
The BMCE Bank of Africa basically provides business grants with the goal of providing a platform for mentorship. Furthermore, SME subsidies are available to African entrepreneurs with innovative business concepts.
So in simple terms, African Entrepreneurship Awards are a type of cash grant given to African entrepreneurs whose businesses have a social influence on the African environment.
If you are a citizen of any African country and are 18 years or older, and your business falls under the categories of innovation & sports entrepreneurship, or sports entrepreneurship, you may apply for this business award for Africans.
This SME grant disburses $1 million to successful African entrepreneurs.
#18. GroFin Grants
GroFin SME Grants are sponsored by a private financial firm that aims to provide medium-term financial help to African businesses and enterprises. Since its inception in 2004, it has provided business support to over 700 small and medium enterprises, assisting in the preservation of jobs in several countries in the Sub-Saharan African, Middle East, and North Africa regions.
- To provide financial assistance to African businesses and enterprises.
Meanwhile, financial loans are also available to small and medium-sized businesses in manufacturing, agriculture, education, and healthcare.
#19. African Women Development Fund
This SME grants are given to organizations led by women or that deal with issues of women’s rights, security, and justice.
African Women Development Funding is a pan-African female grant program that supports any organization working to promote women’s rights and participation in the peace process.
However, the business must have been in operation for at least three years, be registered and based in an African country, be led by a woman, and have a well-structured organization board for project implementation.
- To disburse financial aid to a company or organization that is registered and based in Africa.
- To provide funding to women-led businesses and enterprises that are working to improve women’s rights, security, and justice in their country or region.
#20. Unilever Young Entrepreneurs Award
This business award program assists innovative entrepreneurs in addressing global concerns, particularly the world’s sustainability goals.
So, if you’re a social entrepreneur who wants to scale your business or enterprise to the next level, the Unilever young entrepreneurs award could be the perfect grant for you.
Over the years, a large number of young entrepreneurs have benefited from the funding and support.
- To provide business subsidies to young entrepreneurs who are innovative.
- To provide money to social entrepreneurs in order to help them scale their businesses and address global sustainability issues.
#21. Innovation Prize for Africa
A popular SME grant available to African entrepreneurs is the Innovative Prize. The purpose of the grant is to stimulate innovative solutions to Africa’s problems.
Basically, the Africa Innovation Prize helps you in amplifying your voice and developing innovative solutions to the difficulties you confront.
So, if you have a business concept or solution that will benefit Africa, this grant is worth giving a shot.
- To promote innovative ideas and businesses that address Africa’s problems.
#22. African Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship (AWIE)
This program aims to provide business incentives to female-led businesses in order to help them grow. AWIE is one of the entrepreneurship grant platforms that supports and funds innovative and creative female entrepreneurs throughout Africa.
Each year, AWIE honors and supports African women working in private non-profit organizations that are making a significant effect on the continent’s economic progress.
- To assist groups led by women that are registered in any African country.
#23. Guzakuza Agribusiness Fund
GUZAKUZA is a platform that is bent on fostering a new generation of agricultural entrepreneurs. They aim at changing lives by cultivating female Agripreneurs, a new generation of wealthy farmers, and the production of healthy organic foods.
For entrepreneurs, they offer the following programs: Ignite, SheFarms, and Dopal.
This is an agribusiness program aimed at encouraging young women to become Agripreneurs and create jobs and wealth. Ignite is a company that nurtures and transforms innovative ideas into lucrative and long-term Agribusinesses.
This program targets females farmers, 20+ years old, with or without farm experience. However, you must be prepared to work full-time for 6 months (40+ hours each week). Furthermore, you must possess a strong ambition to expand and develop an agricultural profession.
This program aims at teaching other women farmers how to use sustainable farming practices to produce high-yielding, nutritious, and safe crops while also adding value to their output.
You can find out more information about these programs as well as how to apply at Guzakuza’s website.
#24. The African Development Foundation
The African Development Foundation (ADF) is an autonomous federal agency of the United States government that was created to foster African-led development by giving seed financing and technical assistance to community entrepreneurs.
For the most part, thee United States Army Development Foundation (USADF) links neighborhood businesses with finance and technical assistance. It assists African groups and enterprises in creating and sustaining jobs, increasing income levels, improving food security, and addressing human development needs. In 2014, the USADF awarded 336 grants totaling more than $50 million, affecting approximately 1.3 million individuals in Africa.
Small-scale farmers, youths, women and girls, and recovering communities are the focus of the USADF. It gives grants of up to $250,000 to underprivileged and hard-to-reach community businesses that are willing to help.
#25. Acumen Business Fund
The Acumen Fund invests in entrepreneurs who can provide long-term solutions to complex issues. Acumen is a non-profit organization founded in 2001 with seed funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, Cisco Systems Foundation, and three individual philanthropists.
One of their beneficiaries, Esoko Networks Limited (“Esoko”), a Ghanaian-built digital platform that connects African farmers to markets via mobile phones, received a $1.5 million co-investment from he Acumen Fund in May 2014. Furthermore, Acumen made a $1.4 million investment in Solar Now, a Uganda-based firm that sells and finances solar household systems, in October 2014.
#26. Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund
The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) is a US$ 207 million fund established by international and bilateral donors (AECF donors) to support African private sector entrepreneurs. The Australian, Danish, Netherlands, Swedish, and United Kingdom governments, as well as the International Fund for Agricultural Development, sponsor the AECF (IFAD).
The Fund supports innovative business concepts in agriculture, agribusiness, renewable energy, climate change adaptation, and access to information and financial services by awarding grants and repayable loans to private sector firms.
The AECF distributes its funds through competitions. Companies in the private sector are invited to compete for AECF financing by proposing fresh and creative business ideas. After this, grants and interest-free loans of up to US$1.5 million are given to the best proposals.