Struggling to make a start of that surefire venture of yours? If you’re desperate to launch your own business but just don’t have the available funds, help is at hand. There are numerous programmes, competitions and organisations geared to meeting the funding needs of innovative young African entrepreneurs. Whether you’re a student, graduate or young professional, take a look at these 10 funding programmes you can apply to now.
The Anzisha Prize
African Leadership Academy’s Anzisha Prize is open to Africans aged between 15 and 22.
CONDITIONS You must be a founder of an existing venture. This can be a business enterprise, invention, or a social project in any field or industry. Businesses are judged on impact, scalability, and job creation.
BENEFITS World-renowned Entrepreneurial Leadership curriculum training, consultation and mentorship services as well as a share in $100 000 funding. Learn more
The Agribusiness Africa Window
The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund is geared towards establishing agribusinesses.
CONDITIONS Open to private companies worldwide who can show innovative business ideas in the fields of agribusiness, financial services and value chains that have benefit rural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa.
BENEFITS Businesses can request between USD 250 000 and USD 1 500 000 for an innovative business idea in this industry. Learn more
Enhancing Growth in New Enterprises (Engine)
Implemented by Technoserve and funded by the UK Government, this multi-year business plan competition seeks to equip Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) with the necessary skills and resources.
CONDITIONS Applicants must be Ghanaian citizens 20 years or older with a proposition for an expansion on an existing business or new business based in Ghana.
BENEFITS Winners will receive seed capital, business development services, opportunities to present to private investors and links to financial institutions. Learn more
Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme
The Tony Elumelu Foundation offers USD 100 million for young African entrepreneurs
CONDITIONS You need to be older than 18, and your businesses should be under three years old.
BENEFITS The prize includes 12 weeks of intensive training, mentoring and seed capital. Learn more
Euromena Award for Innovative African Startups
The first edition of Euromena Consulting’s awards is aimed at African start-ups promoting ICT and social development in Africa.
CONDITIONS Projects have to be related to Africa and/or established in the region; operational, or on the verge of launching.
BENEFITS Three finalists share €10,000. Learn more
Innovation Prize for Africa
The IPA supports African entrepreneurs, inventors or academics who could potentially provide homegrown solutions to some of the continent’s everyday challenges
CONDITIONS Applications will be accepted from all Africans including those living in the diaspora, who can show pioneering achievements that contribute towards developing new products, increasing efficiency and/or saving cost in Africa.
BENEFITS In addition to the lucrative US$150 000 cash prize shared among three winners, all nominees receive a US$5 000 voucher and a network of resources to help you implement, fund, and scale your solution. Learn more
Miss Africa Seed Funding for African Women in Tech Businesses 2018
An initiative led by DCA Academy that offers grants to support women and girls in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.
CONDITIONS Applicants must be a current resident of an African country, either as an individual aged 18 or older, or a representative of an NGO or social enterprise based in Africa with demonstrated leadership potential. Proposals or projects must have a tangible impact for women and girls in computer science and/or STEM-related fields.
BENEFITS A US$5 000 grand prize to the winner, and $1 000 to two finalists. Learn more
Ashden International Awards for Entrepreneurs in Developing Countries 2018
One of the world’s biggest green energy awards, which rewards innovative enterprises and programmes that deliver, or play a key part in enabling the delivery of sustainable energy systems and help build a low-carbon future.
CONDITIONS Open to NGOs, government organisations and social enterprises delivering work in at least one of the UN’s developing regions – see their list of eligible countries.
BENEFITS $20 000 to the winner in each of the six categories. Learn more
Entrepreneurs’ Organisation Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) for Innovative Student Entrepreneurs 2018
This global competition is aimed at student entrepreneurs who actively run a business.
CONDITIONS Open to undergraduate students pursuing a bachelor’s degree, who are either owners, founders or controlling shareholders of a company that is at least six months old with generated revenue of US$500 or US$1,000 in investment/backing.
BENEFITS A combination of cash and business services, which vary by location, is awarded to 3 finalists. Learn more
She Leads Africa Accelerator
This annual prize goes to a female entrepreneur in Nigeria.
CONDITIONS Applicants must be between 18 and 35 with an existing business based in Nigeria, less than three years old and with less than $50000 in external funding. This scholarship includes media coverage to raise your profile, access to Nigeria’s best business minds, and an opportunity for investment.
BENEFITS A six-month program and 2 million Nigerian Naira in investment capital. Learn more