Looking to fund that great idea? Look no further. This list has been compiled to serve as a resource so you have 15 different places to look for funding, and how to go about it.
– By Ayandola Ayanleke
Agriculture and agro-business is fast becoming a major focus in Nigeria, especially since the economic recession that visited the country in recent times. The devastating effect of the recession made it necessary to look into other economic opportunities apart from oil and gas. And as necessity is the father of creativity, the many opportunities in agriculture are becoming more obvious. However, despite having creative ideas, for a lot of start-ups, funding is a major issue. It would not be if people had the right information on organisations that have taken it upon themselves to help agro-businesses with funding.
Here are 15 organisations you can approach for investment if you run an agro-business.
- African Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF): The organisation is a US private fund that provides monetary support to businesses in 24 Sub-Saharan African countries, including Nigeria. With the aim of reducing rural poverty, they have been rendering support to businesses in agriculture, renewable energy as well as rural financial services and communications systems that support the two sectors. With the help of their funding partners, they have funded 257 businesses across 24 countries in Africa.
To be a beneficiary of the AECF fund, you would have to apply on their website at https://www.aecfafrica.org and then go through a selection process, after which selected applicants are awarded the grant. The grant usually comes with post-awards conditions that would be made clear before the grants are awarded. And after the initial disbursement of funds, the AECF monitors their beneficiaries quarterly or semi-annually before other funding is made.
You can contact AECF by visiting them at The AECF, West End Towers, Kanjata Road Off Muthangari Drive / Waiyaki Way, Nairobi, Kenya or call +254 0703 033 394 or send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Bank of Industry: The Bank of Industry is an organisation that is saddled with the responsibility of transforming Nigeria’s industrial sector. Therefore, they offer loans to manufacturing and processing businesses. The bank does not offer loans to individuals or group of persons but to enterprises and they have to be registered. They also do not offer cash to the beneficiary; instead they pay vendors and suppliers directly. Their loans start at 5 million Naira but there is provision for less than that.
To apply, you have to be certain your product is among the products BOI supports. Funding for start-ups is at the bank’s discretion but the start-ups would need to have proof of performance before they can be considered. You can visit their website https://www.boi.ng/apply/ for more information.
- Bank of Agriculture: Similar to the Bank of Industry, the Bank of Agriculture has a mandate by the Federal Government to support small and medium agricultural enterprises as well as non-agricultural enterprises. BOA has disbursed about 41 billion Naira to over 600 enterprises across the country in the last ten years. They get the beneficiaries by partnering with other institutions, such as Bank of Industry.
To secure a loan, you will need to have had a customer account with them for at least six months and must have deposited 20% of the required loan, must have a collateral excluding landed property and have a detailed business plan. The bank, luckily, has branches across the country or you can also send them an email at email@example.com.
- SMEDAN: SMEDAN, which stands for Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, was established to initiate growth and development of small and medium enterprises. The organisation has different types of loans; the business loan, personal loan, mortgage loan and credit cards. The loans are divided based on size of fund, interest rate and the type of business to be funded. The organisation serves as a link between you and loan providers based on the type of loan you apply for.
To access this, you must fill in your information on their website and afterwards they suggest different loan providers for you based on your information. You can contact them at 35, Port-Harcourt Crescent Area 11, Garki, FCT-Abuja, Nigeria or simply visit their website at http://cip.smedan.gov.ng/
- Agri-Vie: Focusing mainly on food and agro-business in Sub-Saharan Africa, Agri-Vie is a private equity investment fund that seeks to address development impact challenges. For close to ten years now, since their establishment in 2008, they have invested a lot of money into value. Their ability to recognise value or its potential has made it possible for them to make impact in the region. But for rare cases when they invest in stand-alone primary production, Agri-Vie only invests in food and agro-business value chain.
Their focus is on food and beverages, dairy products, food logistics, health and wellness products, convenience food, forestry and timber agricultural inputs such as seeds and fertilisers, and renewable energy. Before any offer is made, the organisation will take a space of 12 to 16 weeks to evaluate the application based on prospects, capital structure, terms for the shareholders agreement among others. Agri-Vie is situated at Barinor’s Vineyard South, The Vineyards Office Estate, Bellville, South Africa, 7530 and you could call them on +27 (0)21 913 5662 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tony Elumelu Foundation: Founded in 2010 by Tony O. Elumelu, TEF is an African non-profit organisation founded to support philanthropic goals across Africa in order to drive Africa’s development. Since then and when the TEF Entrepreneurship programme was launched in 2015, the foundation has supported many businesses across Africa, including agro-businesses.
You can apply into the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme by visiting their website at http://www.tonyelumelufoundation.org/ to answer certain questions as well as upload some documents. If selected, you stand to gain not only funding, but also mentorship and a strong support system that would all see to your success. You can visit them at Heirs Place, 1 MacGregor Road, Ikoyi, Lagos – Nigeria, call them at +234127746415 or send them an email at email@example.com.
- Seedstars: Seedstars is a Swiss-based non-profit organisation. Their focus is investing in entrepreneurship ventures and technology in emerging markets around the world. In their popular competition, they invest up to $500,000 in the winning start-up company of any industry. The competition is run locally, regionally and at the global level in Switzerland.
You apply by going to their website at https://www.seedstarsworld.com/ to apply and be ready to pitch your ideas to a jury. For further information, you can send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The United States African Development Foundation: Focused on agriculture, off-grid energy and youth-led enterprises, the USADF is an independent US government initiative established by the congress to assist economic activities that improves lives in poor communities in Africa. Since inception, they have invested about $53 million in 500 active enterprises. Timely, the USADF calls for proposals from 100% African enterprises in the agricultural sector. However, they have different specific sub-sectors that they consider for each country. For Nigeria, it is rice, sorghum, cassava and aquaculture. You can get more comprehensive information at their website http://www.usadf.gov/apply/ or send an email to Nigeria@usadf.gov.
- Acumen Fund: Acumen Fund was founded in 2001 by Jacqueline Novogratz to alleviate poverty using entrepreneurship. Acumen, however, started investing in West Africa in 2011. Since then, they have invested in six companies, including Esoko, a mobile platform that provides agronomic tips and market prices to rural farmers. Usually, they provide patient capital that provides start-ups with the flexibility and security to grow their business. You can contact their West African office at A&C Square, No. 14 Jungle Road, East-Legon, P.O. Box CT8740, Accra, Ghana or call +233 030 298 4098 and you can also visit their website https://acumen.org/ for more information.
- CDC: For over 60 years, CDC has been supporting businesses that have the highest impact in Africa and South-East Asia. They have a strict adherence to responsible investing, so they only invest in enterprises that would not make them lose money. Therefore, they expect their investment to achieve results that are proportional to the risks and opportunities in the specific market. CDC’s focus is centred on but not limited to infrastructure, manufacturing, health, education, food-processing and construction. You can be a beneficiary by submitting a proposal and after review, you stand the chance of being offered monetary support. If you want to get in touch with them, you can through their contact page at http://www.cdcgroup.com/Get-in-touch/Contact/.
- Ford Foundation: Ford Foundation is a New York based private organisation aimed at advancing welfare worldwide. They believe in harnessing the opportunities provided by the West African political circumstances to address inequality in the region. Therefore, the Ford Foundation provides grants to ideas that would ultimately improve economic equality. If you are interested in applying for their grant, you can submit an application at https://www.fordfoundation.org/work/our-grants/idea-submission/ and they will get back to you in 45 days.
- YouWin: YouWin is an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Finance aimed at supporting young entrepreneurs to grow their business. To be able to apply for YouWin, you have to be a Nigerian and resident in Nigeria, must have post-secondary school education, have to be between the ages of 18 and 40 and must not be in the civil service. Their focus is mainly on agriculture/agro-processing, ICT, retail, construction, and manufacturing among others. Application is done through their website at www.youwinconnect.org.ng.
- African Development Bank: Founded in 1964, the organisation was established to alleviate poverty and improve living conditions in Africa. The African Development Bank consists of three entities; the African Development Bank, the African Development Fund and the Nigerian Trust Fund. Based on the economic recession that Nigeria faced, focus have been shifted to entrepreneurship in the sectors of agro-business, manufacturing and mining. The bank is therefore tasked with providing funding for budding entrepreneurs with creative economic ideas, especially in the sectors listed above. You can contact them at African Development Bank Group, 1521 Cadastral Zone A0, Off Memorial Close, Central Business District, Abuja or call them on 234 94621030-59.
- Startpreneur: Startpreneur is a Nigeria startup accelerator that helps small and medium enterprises in the country start up and grow their business. The organisation, through an efficient team, does not only provide financial support but also hands-on guidance to help the budding entrepreneur develop. The organisation takes the entrepreneurs through a three-month accelerator program to make them investment-ready as well as to ensure success of the business. You can apply to be a part by sending an email, which should include your executive business summary, to them at email@example.com.
- Wennovation Hub: With focus on social impact sectors, such as agriculture, education, healthcare and infrastructure, Wennovation Hub is a Nigerian innovation accelerator that empowers entrepreneurs in order to achieve sustainable development for Africa. The organisation does this by providing services such as investing, management training, consulting, co-creation and providing co-working spaces among others. You can contact them by sending an email to them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is obvious that the issue with starting up a business in Nigeria has more to do with lack of information than unavailability of funds. With the right information at your disposal and harnessing that information, you are on your way to having the business of your dreams.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on the Spark Magazine. Find the magazine here to read more articles.