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  Many Nigerian entrepreneurs struggle with finding the necessary capital to kickstart or expand their businesses. This is because raising funds for your business can be daunting. But with the right approach, it’s entirely achievable. Whether you’re a startup or an established SME, understanding how to secure funding is important to the continued growth of your business.
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This article will provide you with practical steps on how to secure funding for your business, making the process less intimidating and more manageable.

Understand Your Funding Needs

The first step to successfully securing funding for your business is a clear understanding of your business’s financial needs. This is necessary before even searching out various funding options. You need to determine how much money you need, what you need it for, and how you plan to use it. This will help you choose the right type of funding and prepare your applications or discussions with potential investors or lenders.

Create a Solid Business Plan

Depending on the requirements of your expected investor or lender, you need to have a well-crafted business plan when seeking funding. Your business plan should outline your business goals, target market, competitive analysis, marketing strategy, and financial projections. It’s your business’s blueprint and serves as a tool to convince potential investors that your business is worth their investment.

Explore Funding Options

There are several funding options available for Nigerian businesses. Below are some of the various channels you can consider:

1. Personal Savings and Bootstrapping

Bootstrapping refers to using your resources and revenues to fund your business. Personal savings are often the first source of funding for many entrepreneurs. While this method requires financial discipline, it allows you to retain significant control of your business, especially in the early stages.

2. Family and Friends

Another common source of initial funding is borrowing from family and friends. This option is often less formal and more flexible. However, if you are going to use this option, it’s important to approach it professionally. Prepare a mini business plan and be transparent about the risks, duration of investments, and potential returns.

3. Bank Loans

Banks are a traditional source of business funding. Nigerian banks offer various loan products tailored for SMEs and startups. Many businesses that have tried to secure loans from banks have often had their applications turned down due to their inability to meet certain requirements. To increase your chances of securing a loan from a bank, take note of the following:
  • Maintain a Good Credit Score: Your credit history with the bank is crucial. Ensure you have a good credit score by paying your bills on time and managing your debts effectively.
  • Prepare Necessary Documents: Banks require several documents, including your business plan, financial statements, and collateral (if applicable). The specific documents required may differ from bank to bank.
  • Understand the Loan Terms: Before settling for a particular loan, take your time to compare loan products from different banks to find the best terms. Pay attention to interest rates, repayment schedules, and any hidden fees. You may consider engaging the services of a financial advisor.

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4. Grants and Programs

The Nigerian government, through agencies like the Bank of Industry (BOI) and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), offers grants and funding programs to support SMEs. Other organizations such as NGOs and INGOs also have grant opportunities and programs that come up from time to time. Make it a habit to research available grants and their eligibility criteria. A notable program you may need to consider is the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme which offers seed funding of up to $5,000 and mentoring for African entrepreneurs, including Nigerians.

5. Angel Investors

Angel investors provide capital for startups in exchange for ownership equity or convertible debt. They are often successful entrepreneurs who can offer valuable advice and mentorship. To attract angel investors:
  • Attend business events, seminars, and networking sessions to connect with potential angel investors.
  • Look within your network or ask for recommendations from your network
  • Be ready to present a compelling pitch. A good pitch will ideally highlight your business’s potential, market opportunity, and how their investment will lead to substantial returns.

6. Venture Capital

Venture capital firms invest in high-growth startups in exchange for equity. They provide not only funding but also strategic support and industry connections. To secure venture capital:
  • Have a Scalable Business Model: Venture capitalists look for businesses with high growth potential.
  • Prepare a Compelling Pitch Deck: Your pitch deck should include your business model, market opportunity, financial projections, and team background.
  • Approach the Right Firms: Research venture capital firms that have invested in businesses similar to yours and that understand the Nigerian market.

7. Crowdfunding

Although not a popular option, crowdfunding is another important source of funding you can consider for your business. Crowdfunding involves raising small amounts of money from many people, typically through online platforms. Popular crowdfunding platforms include Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Nigerian-based NaijaFund. If you’re going to use this option, here are a few tips to keep in mind to succeed in crowdfunding:
  • Create an Engaging Campaign: Use videos, images, and compelling storytelling to attract backers.
  • Leverage Social Media:  Promote your campaign on social media platforms like X, Facebook, and Instagram to reach a wider audience.
  • Engage Social Media Influencers: There are several persons on social media with significant following and influence, you can engage them to help promote your campaigns.
  • You can also incentivize backers with rewards related to your product or service.

Prepare for Due Diligence

Once you’ve identified potential funding sources and made your applications, be prepared for due diligence. Investors and lenders will scrutinize your business to ensure it’s a viable investment. Ensure you have the necessary registration documents, licenses, and regulatory permits for business. Also, ensure your financial records are accurate, your business operations are transparent, and you’re ready to answer any questions about your business.
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 Concluding Thoughts

Securing funding for your Nigerian business requires preparation, persistence, and a clear understanding of the funding landscape. By following these steps, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the complexities of funding and secure the capital needed to grow your business. Remember, each funding option comes with its own set of requirements and expectations, so choose the one that best aligns with your business goals and values.
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This article was first published on 10th June 2024


Ifegwu-Mbonu Victor is a Personal Growth and Leadership Trainer who provides training and coaching to individuals and organizations.

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