Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria
Mabel Fatokun

Exploring Grant Opportunities for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria


  • 227,511,279
  • 923,768 km2 (356,669 sq mi)

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are crucial in Nigeria’s economic growth, innovation, and job creation. Recognizing their significance, various governmental and non-governmental organizations have established grant programs tailored to support their development and expansion. In this guide, we’ll delve into the diverse grant opportunities available for SMEs in Nigeria, empowering entrepreneurs to access the funding they need to thrive.

Government Grants

The Nigerian government has implemented several grant schemes to bolster SMEs across different sectors. These grants aim to provide SMEs with financial support, capacity building, and technical assistance, enabling them to overcome challenges and seize growth opportunities. Examples of government grant programs for SMEs include:

1. Bank of Industry (BOI) Grants

The Bank of Industry (BOI) offers various grant schemes tailored to support SMEs in Nigeria. These grants cover areas such as youth entrepreneurship, women’s empowerment, and industry-specific interventions. Through BOI grant programs, SMEs can access funding for business expansion, equipment acquisition, and working capital.

2. Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Intervention Funds

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) administers several intervention funds targeted at SMEs to stimulate economic activities and promote financial inclusion. These funds, such as the Agri-Business/Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS) and the Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI), provide low-interest loans, grants, and technical assistance to eligible SMEs.

3. National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDP)

The National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDP) is an initiative of the Nigerian government aimed at providing financial and technical support to SMEs across the country. Through NEDP, SMEs can access grants, training, mentorship, and market linkages to enhance their competitiveness and sustainability.

Non-Governmental Grants

In addition to government grant programs, several non-governmental organizations (NGOs), foundations, and corporate entities offer grant opportunities to support SME development in Nigeria. These grants often focus on specific thematic areas, such as entrepreneurship, innovation, and social impact. Some notable non-governmental grant providers include:

1. Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneurship Programme

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneurship Programme is a flagship initiative that provides seed capital, mentorship, and training to African entrepreneurs, including those in Nigeria. Through its annual grant competition, TEF supports promising SMEs with funding and resources to scale their businesses and create sustainable impact.

2. Ford Foundation Grants

The Ford Foundation offers grants to organizations advancing social justice, economic empowerment, and inclusive development in Nigeria. While not exclusively focused on SMEs, the Ford Foundation grants support initiatives that address systemic challenges and promote equitable opportunities for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

3. Shell LiveWIRE Programme

Shell LiveWIRE is a youth enterprise development program that provides training, mentoring, and funding to young entrepreneurs in Nigeria. Through its grant scheme, Shell LiveWIRE supports innovative business ideas and helps young SMEs navigate the challenges of starting and growing their ventures.

Industry-Specific Grants

Specific industries in Nigeria offer specialized grant opportunities tailored to address sector-specific challenges and opportunities. These industry-specific grants provide targeted support to SMEs operating in agriculture, technology, renewable energy, and creative industries. Examples of industry-specific grant programs include:

1. Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GESS)

The Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GESS) is a government grant program that supports smallholder farmers and agribusinesses in Nigeria. Through GESS, SMEs involved in agriculture can access subsidies, inputs, and technical assistance to enhance productivity and competitiveness.

2. Technology Incubation Centre (TIC) Grants

The Nigerian government established Technology Incubator Centres (TICs) to provide infrastructure, mentoring, and funding support to technology startups and SMEs. TIC grant programs aim to nurture innovation, promote technology transfer, and facilitate the growth of technology-driven enterprises in Nigeria.

3. Creative Industry Grants

The creative industry in Nigeria, encompassing sectors such as music, film, fashion, and design, offers grant opportunities to support the growth and sustainability of innovative enterprises. These grants, often initiated by government agencies, NGOs, and industry stakeholders, provide funding, capacity building, and market access to SMEs operating in the creative sector.

SMEs in Nigeria can access many grant opportunities provided by government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and industry stakeholders. By tapping into these grant programs, entrepreneurs can access the funding, support, and resources they need to scale their businesses, drive innovation, and contribute to the country’s economic development.


Chat us