6 ways Africa small businesses can access grant 2021

6 ways Africa small businesses can access grant 2021

by admin
May 24, 2021 0

Businesses, irrespective of their scales, need adequate funding to thrive. The sad part, however, is that accessing these funds can be challenging for business owners. This is mostly true concerning small businesses, as investors are often skeptical to invest in businesses with high risks.

Despite the difficulties African small business owners face when trying to raise funds for their businesses, there are still several options they can explore. One of them is grants that are specifically structured to help small businesses. Yes, you read right.

There are some small business grant options you can take advantage of in 2021.

In this post, we will be taking a quick look at six of them.

What is a Business Grant?

Business grants are funds awarded to business owners that need them. Business grants aim to help enhance business growth. Unlike loans, you are not saddled with the responsibility of looking for ways to pay back business grants because they usually have no strings attached.

6 ways Africa small businesses can access grant 2021
There are several ways for you to access a business grant

Business grants are typically provided by Trusts, Foundations, Corporations, and Governments. Since you are not required to pay back grants, you don’t have to worry about interest rates either. Also, small business owners are not required to give up equity in return for a grant.

Way cooler than loans, right?

Small Business Grants for Africa SMEs

As stated earlier, accessing funds, especially grants, can be challenging if you don’t know where to look. This is why we have put below a list of 6 small business grants you should look into in 2021.

Keep in mind that these grants are not arranged in any particular order:

1. SeedStars World

One of the best selling points of SeedStars Africa it is specifically structured to help small businesses owned by Africans and in Africa.

SeedStars World is an organization that actively helps raise funds in form of grants to businesses in over 53 countries under the continent of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and South America. SeedStars Africa is an arm of this organization that is aimed at helping Africa SMEs with the funds they need to thrive.

SeedStars grants are only accessible to the participants of their annual Business grant competition. This competition is aimed at rewarding the brightest and most compelling emerging markets and young business owners.

The Africa arm of this organization aims to help Africa businesses, support and build Africa online businesses, and fund Africa’s web and mobile tech startups.

2.    Shared Interest

If you are a young entrepreneur in Africa, Shared Interest is one of the best grant options you can look into. The organization was established in 1990. Shared Interest focuses on providing funds for food producers, farmers, and artisans in developing countries despite being situated in England.

The organization has huge investments and satellite offices in major Sub-Saharan Africa nations like Peru, Kenya, Ghana, and many more.

Shared Interest has over 9000 investors who help the organization finance businesses by investing $1000 or more per investor. This grant is specifically targeted towards small businesses in developing countries which includes Sub-Saharan Africa countries.

3.    Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneurship Program

The TEF grant is aimed to provide about 100,000 aspiring entrepreneurs in Africa an opportunity to benefit from a large financial pool. This $100 million financial pool aims to reduce the unemployment rates in Africa by providing over 1,000,000 jobs in the continent.

This, they look to achieve by raising funds for SMEs that will provide job opportunities for others.

Tony Elumelu Foundation is known to have contributed about $10 billion in 10 years, to Africa’s economy.

The organization was founded by Africa billionaire entrepreneur, Tony Elumelu. TEF does more than provide funds for SMEs in Africa. It also provides mentorship programs and annual training to help small businesses thrive.

4.    Lundin Foundation

The Lundin Foundation was established by a Swedish family in 2005. The Foundation aims to offer business grants to entrepreneurs in Africa.

With its Headquarters situated in Canada, Lundin Foundation has satellite offices in Kenya and Ghana. The organization is known to have provided business grants to a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners in Africa.

While Lundin Foundation is a great grant option for entrepreneurs that have a business already. It is not so great for people looking for capital to start one. Why? The Foundation aims only to help fund already established businesses around Africa.

Lundin Foundation provides mentorship, risk capital, and grants to Africa’s entrepreneurs.

5.    Root Capital

One of the aims of Root Capital is to empower Africa entrepreneurs through its business funding scheme. This they do by providing business grants to SMEs in Africa.

Established in 1991, the non-profit organization aims to positively impact Africa’s businesses by providing the funds they need to thrive. Root Capital also looks to bridge social interaction with entrepreneurs in Africa.

Today, more than 450 businesses in Africa have been awarded business grants from this organization. These grants cumulatively run into millions of dollars.

6.    Schwap Foundation

The Schwap Foundation aims to promote social entrepreneurs across Africa. This it does by consistently searching for Africa business owners that are social entrepreneurs in various fields. These fields range from education to health, agribusiness, and tech.

Established as a social entrepreneurship firm in 1998, Schwap Foundation ensures that they are only helping committed social entrepreneurs. This it does by ensuring that applicants go through a rigorous selection process before qualifying for a business grant.

The Schwap Foundation is situated in Geneva, Switzerland.


While it is true that accessing adequate funding is challenging to business owners, knowing where to look can help lift some of the burdens. Businesses of all scales need funding to thrive and going for business loans is not always advisable for small business owners.

This is because loans tend to put pressure on small businesses which in turn may affect their decision-making processes. So, if you are looking for grants to help fund your small business in 2021, check the list above.

Tosin Odubela
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.