Grants are financial assistance and support to help individuals, organisations, entrepreneurs and young innovators improve or scale up their activities. They can be used for business, projects, public services or by governments to stimulate the economy.
These funds given by a private individual or entities such as NGOs, businesses or corporate bodies are often provided with a charge or a guide on how to utilise them. Unlike loans, grants are not repaid, it has no interests or collateral, but it is a more competitive process than most loans because it requires applicants explaining their intent for the grants they desire.
Examples of some grants in Nigeria are research/academic grants, small business grants, medical grants, innovative grants, project grants, educational grants, and of course, entrepreneurship grants.
There are many bodies responsible for grants facilitation, and are grouped under the following categories;
- Government Grants: An example is SBA (small business administration USA), Bank of Industry Nigeria e.t.c
- Corporate Grants: These are mostly given to NGOs. Examples include; Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Kellogg, Walmart etc.
- Enterprise grants: These are given to businesses and entrepreneurs. An example of this is the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship program.
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Positive Effects Of Grants
Grants are essential to improving or accelerating the growth of any activity. It’s a catalyst. The positive effects of it on an individual, business, corporation or nation are overwhelming.
Firstly, grants are given to persons other than entrepreneurs to cover expenses like academic or research costs, medical bills, transportation, accommodation and others. These grants are not specific and don’t cover a general cost or expenditure.
Business grants in Nigeria, on the other hand, do not cover bills in the individual aspects. Instead, they are awarded to subsidise the cost of production, distribution, workforce, imports and exports, and capital support. These grants target new business start-ups and young entrepreneurs; their support improves the efficiency of business activities.
The primary beneficiaries of grants are non-profit organisations and NGOs. This is because these organisations and NGOs do not make profits but solely utilise them for humanitarian activities. Most non-profit organisations cater for the well-being of the less privileged and fight against the spread of any global disease or adverse events through grants.
Apart from grants rendered to organisations, private individuals and entrepreneurs, governments of various countries also receive grants to enhance governance like stabilising an economy, rendering services and solving issues of national concern.
Problems Associated With Grants
There are many issues affecting the rates at which individuals and entrepreneurs get grants in Nigeria, and the following are some of the reasons.
Too much competition
Grants application is a difficult process. This is because you, as an applicant, aren’t only trying to please the grants facilitators but also competing with many other applicants jostling for the limited slots.
One major disadvantage of grants in Nigeria is the cumbersome process involved in it. Though they are required for identification and clarity, yet it’s bulky nature of the application remains a problem for most applicants
Most grants only make provisions for limited slots. Grant facilitators may desire to give according to the slots available. Still, compared to the number of applications received, it may be only a small fraction of the applicants vying for the grants.
Unnecessary supervision is also a limiting factor in a grant application and its effectiveness. Most facilitators would want to dictate how their funds are spent and may end up divulging into the personal affairs of the awardees and getting information that should be rather private
Too much rejection
Due to the influx of applications, most applicants get rejected, resulting in a loss of time, energy and resources.
Conditions and Requirements for Grants in Nigeria
This is the generally accepted requirement for all applicants. It implies that all applicants must meet the threshold or surpass it before being considered for the grant. Eligibility varies and could depend on specifications such as age, gender, status, number of workforce and nationality.
Grant facilitators favour business start-ups, young entrepreneurs or businesses in financial crisis. To ascertain your qualification for the above mentioned areas, these facilitators require bank statements to show proof of funds and all expenditures made.
Read also: Top Banks in Nigeria for Entrepreneurs.
Statement of purpose
This is the decider of every grant process. It is the most critical part of every application, and it determines whether or not an application scales into the next round. Statement of purpose is the declaration of intent for the grant, why it is needed, and how it will enhance your overall activities and benefit your immediate community.
Most grant applications require paper works or documents. While international grants require your passport for proof of nationality or residence, local grants require states of origin. But both grants would require your CAC (corporate affair commission) certificate and other vital documents.
How to Apply for Grants in Nigeria
Based on my experience, gained through intense research and implementation, I believe the steps below will help you secure your dream grant as an entrepreneur.
- The first step in applying for a grant in Nigeria is to do research. You have to know what type of grant you need and then do research to discover available grants that suit you.
- After selecting the appropriate grant, you would need to go to the nearest offices or the official websites of the grant facilitators to get in touch with its customer services for details and guidelines..
- Once you meet all requirements and are eligible, apply directly to the office or website as instructed.
- Ensure your application is peculiar and stands out so you can have a higher chance of being selected
- Ensure to finish all processes before submitting.
- Finally, you might receive a unique code or reference, but if you don’t, patiently wait for your selection letter and subsequent invitation to interview.
If per adventure, you get a rejection letter, accept in good faith and reapply if permitted.
Note: The period between your application to a confirmation or rejection letter, usually sent via email, takes 1-6 months.
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Top 10 Grants for Entrepreneurs in Nigeria
Before concluding this article, here is a list of the best grants in Nigeria you can get as an entrepreneur. The selection of the grants in this list is based on authenticity, amount of funds and support given, ease of application and consistency.
Federal Government Grant (Bank of industry; BOI)
BOI is an initiative of the federal government to disburse funds to credible entrepreneurs to help boost their businesses. It is a scheme that provides various kinds of grants, including loans. Check here for more details on this.
African Young Entrepreneur Empowerment Grant (AYEEN)
This major grant is given to young entrepreneurs to empower them and enhance their businesses. Visit here for more details on how to access this.
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Grant
One significant advantage of this grant is the large amount you could win for being selected. Funds for this grant range from thousands of naira to hundreds of millions, and its target is primarily entrepreneurs and innovators. If you’re interested in this, visit here for more details.
This grant is usually for oil-related businesses but also makes available funds for creative entrepreneurs. Check here to discover more.
This grant is part of the United States’ participation in the advancement and transformation of Africa. It seeks to empower creative innovators to contribute to their community and Africa. Visit here for more information.
Unilever Young Entrepreneur Grant
Unilever, a multinational corporation, seeks the development of young entrepreneurs and investors to grow into big empires. To access this, visit here.
Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program
Like most other grants, skilful youths are targeted in this scheme, groomed and given the chance they need to be people of utmost importance. Find out more about it here.
Bill and Melinda Gates Grant
Every year millions of dollars are sent to Africa through this platform to give African entrepreneurs a chance to shine and compete with the Western world. This grant usually ranges from thousands to millions of dollars. Check here for more details.
To compensate the Niger Delta youth for excessive exploration, Shell makes grants available to young entrepreneurs from the Niger Delta region to help establish the youths and their community. Check here for more details.
African Development Bank Grant
African development bank is headed by a Nigerian, Mr Akinwumi Adesina. This grant focuses on the development of Africa and its citizens. It targets smart entrepreneurs and innovators and awards grants of thousands of dollars. Take a look at the grant here.
Every small business or young entrepreneur needs start-up capital or boosting funds to scale up. A grant application is a difficult process. It needs a resilient spirit to achieve it.
Know that nothing good comes easy, and while you face rejections, accept it in good faith knowing that not every grant winner got theirs at the first application, but by thorough and consistent planning and implementations.
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