7 Things Entrepreneurs Can Do To Stay Motivated

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Making the decision to become an entrepreneur is a fearless step from being an employee of a business to the leader of your own business. One of the first challenges they are likely to face is that they no longer have line managers to set goals and deadlines for them. Therefore, the responsibility of inspiration and motivation becomes their personal task. This is where some entrepreneurs fall short. As such, these insights will help them stay motivated.

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1.Set goals and values

Entrepreneurs must have personal goals and core values. They must write them down, read them daily and even memorize them. These should serve as a regular reminder about their purpose for becoming entrepreneurs.

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2.Have a plan

Running a business without a plan can easily make them lose focus. They should evolve both short-term and long-term plans. This will help them have a clear understanding of what they want to accomplish and how they want to achieve it.

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3.Have a ‘me’ time

Entrepreneurs are very busy people. As such, it is possible that they will be consumed by work.  So, they should endeavour to set personal time during which they get out of the rut.

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4.Think of themselves as captains

Entrepreneurs are the captains of their ships and nobody will navigate that ship for them except they do. So, they should take solace in the fact that they own the business and they have to make painstaking efforts to run it.

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5.Connect with other entrepreneurs

This is not to say that you need to copy what others are doing. Instead, share ideas and get to know what keeps them motivated. This will definitely make them feel like they are on the right track with the support of other like minded entrepreneurs.

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6.Reward themselves

Being a business owner does not mean they should not reward themselves. As such, they should be prepared to reward themselves for accomplishing their set goals.

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7.Sleep

They should never underestimate the value of a good night sleep for personal motivation. A night of sound rest will re-energize them and significantly boost performance.

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Meet Malik Ado-Ibrahim – He is set to Introduce Electric cars into Nigerian market by 2018

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Malik Ado-Ibrahim is the chairman of Nigus Enfinity, an indigenous firm which is set to introduce electric vehicles into the Nigerian automobile market in 2018 and a local assembly plant for electric vehicles in 2020.

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Ado-Ibrahim said several countries across the world have set targets for the ban of petrol-fuelled vehicles with India targeting 2030, and the United Kingdom, 2040.

He said Nigeria and Africa need to look inward to be at the fore of the automotive revolution or risk becoming waste bin for banned vehicles from other countries.

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Ado-Ibrahim, who was the first African to lead the Formula 1 Team global race car competition in 1999, said his firm is already building a 100 megawatts (mw) solar power plant in Katsina and another in Adamawa state.

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According to him, the company has also partnered with Build Your Dreams, a Chinese firm, to import electric vehicles at affordable costs from 2018.

“We are also working with BYD to get a local brand and start an electric vehicle assembly plant for Nigeria from 2020. Gradually we will move to an EV with the African DNA starting in Nigeria,” he said.

In June, Elon Musk had unveiled the world’s cheapest electric car, which was priced at N11 million.

5 Key Things Investors Are Looking For In A Startup

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It is a known fact that entrepreneurs bootstrap when starting out because of limited finance. This is one of the main reasons why less than 50% of them survive the first five years in the market. To take your startup to the next level, entrepreneurs are regularly searching for venture capitalist and investors to invest in their businesses. Of course, startup investors desire innovative companies to invest their monies. However, they won’t drop a dime if they do not see the following things highlighted in your startup.

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1.Strong leadership teams

To secure startup investor funding, show that you have smart, strategic, and successful leaders. You must show the competency of both your company founders and leadership team. So, endeavour to leverage your leadership team’s professional experience for increased investor interest in your startup.

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2.Clear ROI

Return on investment (ROI) is the time needed to recoup the initial expenses invested in a business. Most startups aim to achieve this within the first one year of operations, but in certain sectors, it takes considerably longer due to high entry costs and low-profit margins. Would-be investors are aware that quite a number of startups that receive venture funding are unable to immediately make returns. As such, they want to see some real evidence that within a particular period, they will begin to get these returns.

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3.Consumer interest in your product

Investors want to know that your product has a future in the marketplace. So, the onus is on you to show them proof that it has a market niche of its own and consumers are interested in your product.

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4.Transparency

Transparency is important to increase investor trust in your business. No startup investor wants to enter a deal when they do not feel like they have all the facts. Be open and honest about the state of your business, the challenges you are facing and how you plan to surmount them.

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5.Growth potentials

Investors do not want a company that will be stagnant. They want to invest in startups that will thrive and eventually provide a return on their investment. Therefore, your business should be built with scalability and growth in mind.

Meet the 1,000 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs for 2017 whose ideas will transform Africa

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On Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017 the 3rd Annual Tony Elumelu Foundation selection announcement took place at Heirs Place, Ikoyi. This announcement, which was done to name the selected 1000 people, takes place every 22nd of March, the founder’s birthday.

“We believe that the road to economic development would come from entrepreneurship. We need to work together as Africans and support these entrepreneurs,” Tony Elumelu said.

According to the foundation, 93,246 African Entrepreneurs applied from 55 African countries, which more than doubled the number of applications received in 2016 and nearly quadruple of the 2015 application numbers. The selection process went through three stages. In the first stage the Tony Elumelu Foundation screened 93,246 applications, in the second stage Accenture Development Partners evaluated 10,135 applications, in the third stage, Tony Elumelu Foundation Selection Committee evaluated 1,100 applications and then finally 1,000 applications were selected.

The selections prove that African youth are indeed interested in Agriculture as the sector led the pack with nearly 1 in 3 successful applicants active in this sector. The next most popular sector was ICT, 11 percent, and then manufacturing, 9 percent. As usual, Nigeria, is home to 50 percent of the 2017 cohort, with regional powerhouses Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and Cameroon following respectively.

According to a statement from the foundation, successful entrepreneurs will benefit from the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme’s 7 Pillars – a toolkit of support including business training, active mentoring, access to networks and funding of up to $10,000 – as they develop their business concepts to support the transformation of the continent. As founder Tony Elumelu CON is often quoted as stating, “No one but us Africans will develop Africa.”

The 2017 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs will be trained and mentored in the next nine months. They will use the skills acquired to develop a business plan; after which they become eligible to receive up to $10,000 in seed capital to develop their business concepts.

Meet the new 1,000 entrepreneurs whose ideas will transform Africa

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CREDITS: http://venturesafrica.com/meet-the-1000-tony-elumelu-entrepreneurs-for-2017-whose-ideas-will-transform-africa/

 

Six Things Nigerian Startups Are Worried About

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Startups are the backbone of any economy. They are established by young Nigerians who make efforts to secure capital and start something on their own. This is not a simple task. Ask any young person who owns a business, you will be taken aback by their experiences and tales of running one in Nigeria. These startups which can be likened to small scale businesses have provided employment and contributed their own quota via creative ideas, to either offer solutions to societal problems or a service.

Despite this, there are quite a number of challenges they are encountering and are quite worried about. We discuss some of these worries.

1. Power

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The issue of electricity can’t be over flogged. If power can be stroked off the list of things startups are worried about, it will have an overall impact on the startup. First of all, you will not factor in money for buying a generator or fuel into your budget. Such a money will be invested in the business or employ more hands. But power is epileptic. You will be gobsmacked if you see the amount even big organizations budget for huge generators and diesel let alone startups.

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2. Business registration

Kudos to the Nigerian government for launching the 60-day national plan for ease of doing business in the country. It is good but it is more than just launching a plan. The time, money and stress of registering just a startup are discouraging. This is why many startups just register their business name while they leave the other paperwork for later. Business registration should be automated so that it won’t take more than a week to register a startup. In fact, priority should be given to startups.

3. Capital

Thanks to venture capitalists and seed investors who are supporting these startups to keep them afloat. Obviously, this is usually after you have invested a certain amount of your capital in the business. Where do you get the capital from? It is usually from friends and family. Banks are likely to deny you loans. And of course, the Naira to dollar fluctuations is also an issue.

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4. Little tangible corporate or government support

Corporate organizations rarely support startups. They prefer to sponsor or support entertainment programmes or ideas. If you pitch your idea to them and it is not entertainment related, you are probably wasting your precious time. Corporate organizations should sponsor competitions, where individuals with startups ideas can compete and get, will get financial support to implement the idea. As for the government, they are trying but there is more to be done.

5. Taxation

There are different bodies that collect taxes in Nigeria. And they charge to pay all sorts of rates. Although some organisations fail to pay tax, it’s not their fault sometimes. The government needs to block these loopholes and harmonize the taxation process. Hence, startups will know that they are not double taxed.

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6. Lack of patronage from Nigerians

It is worrying that Nigerians don’t buy made in Nigeria goods. They prefer foreign to Nigeria made. Patronizing Nigerian startups doesn’t only means you are supporting them, it shows you recognize their efforts.

Six Things Successful Entrepreneurs Have In Common

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Being an entrepreneur is not a child’s play. It takes a lot of guts and conviction for you to take the bold step to become an entrepreneur. More so if you are a Nigerian. When these entrepreneurs are eventually successful, there are certain things that they do or have in common that result in these achievements. So what are these things?

We have identified six traits that will help budding and young entrepreneurs to take similar actions or steps.

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1.They believe in their ideas

Successful entrepreneurs don’t wait for anyone to validate their ideas. This is because they have invested a reasonable time in researching the workability and practicability of the ideas before sharing it with potential investors and friends. So, whether your friend or investor believes in your idea, they are not worried, they pursue it to a viable conclusion. Their positivity will always rub off on those around them.

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2.They find solutions to problems

Entrepreneurs easily find solutions to problems and provide answers via a product or service. This is why it is essential to conduct market research to test your solutions. When you have a market, be sure that your solution will solve the problem your target market has.

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3.They delegate

Successful entrepreneurs don’t do everything on their own. Except you want to experience entrepreneurial burnout, you will always delegate. What you should delegate are the things you have little or no knowledge about.

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4.They go the extra mile

Entrepreneurs are never satisfied with doing things haphazardly. They are exhaustive and if they need to go the extra mile, they will. In going the extra mile, they sacrifice a quite a number of things.

5.They schedule everything

As a business man, your schedule is always tight. You are always in one meeting or another. The only way you can manage yourself and time is by scheduling everything. Don’t postpone anything. Be at home when you are supposed to and go on vacation to Obudu Resort when you are meant to.

6.They invest in their own skills

Whether you are an entrepreneur or not you should always hone your skills. Successful entrepreneurs never hesitate to educate themselves.

Five Ways To Overcome Entrepreneurial Burnout

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Being an entrepreneur in the current Nigerian economic environment can be demanding, exhausting and frustrating. This can result in you abandoning everything you have done for years because of the exhaustion. When you think of the power shortage, the dollar to naira exchange rate and the economic uncertainties, anyone will just give up.

But you know from the moment you decided to become an entrepreneur, it was a risk. There is no way to can escape entrepreneurial burnout. It is how you manage or overcome the exhaustion of burnout that is important.

We share five tips on how to overcome entrepreneurial burnout or tiredness.

1.Establish realistic goals

Having goals is important to our lives whether you are an entrepreneur or not. As for an entrepreneur, it is essential you set realistic and achievable goals so that you remain rational if in any case, you don’t get the desired results. So, the rule of thumb to should be to always set realistic goals.

2.Try to delegate

Entrepreneurs have so many responsibilities that they are likely to be overwhelmed by these medley of responsibilities. So, you should also try to delegate duties so that you can free up your schedule and have more time to yourself. This will ensure that your business run smoothly whether you are available or not.

3.Find a balance between business and family

There is every tendency that you may not find a balance between your business and family. This is because you have to satisfy both business and family so that they won’t clash. So, try as much as possible to spend as much time with family as you spend managing your business. Simply find a balance.

4.Don’t forget why you started

There are moments that you feel like packing everything up. However, if you are on the verge of doing this, remember the reason why you started. This will motivate you to restart or reactivate your entrepreneurial spirit and encourage you to move on. You can also imagine the impact of giving up in your life.

5.Take time off  

Going on vacation to Obudu Ranch in Calabar will no doubt help you recover from any burnout you may be experiencing. Ensure that your getaway is devoid of any work distraction. However, ensure that you should provide an emergency number which you can be contacted.

Meet David Galadima, CEO of GRAEMOH FOODS

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Nigeria is one of the most highly blessed nations in Africa. That she has not been able to solve, even her own problems of Food and Agriculture is a matter of very great concern.

In recent history, processing, packaging and storage of farm produce after harvest have been identified as the major challenges facing Nigerian farmers. As a way to bridge this gap, boost agricultural productivity and ensure food security in Nigeria, David Galadima established GRAEMOH FOODS.

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Tasty smoked fish

David, owner and founder of Graemoh Foods, is not only a driven entrepreneur, but an innovator on a mission to reduce both hunger and the price of food in Nigeria.

His eyes are also set on simplifying the way consumers approach their packaged food decisions by providing healthy-yet-delicious offerings.

According to him, “We switched from open-air drying of our fish over firewood to the use of a stainless steel oven. This oven has a damper to filter the harmful dust and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) that are released during the drying/smoking process especially when using charcoal. This reduces the risk of cancer from the consumption of our fish.”

Read the rest of the interview below:

Tell us about yourself and your brand – GRAEMOH FOODS
 

I am David Galadima, an engineer by training. My work experience cuts across engineering, banking and finance, business development and most recently agriculture.

Dried Pepper packs popularly known as Yaji.. produced by Graemoh Foods
Graemoh Foods is an agricultural organization that is focused on food processing and storage. We seek to leverage on technology in order to optimize food production, processing and storage. From research, we found out that a lot of food is produced in Nigeria. However, due to poor processing and storage techniques, when those foods are out of season, you can hardly have access to them. This is also one of the major causes of hunger in Nigeria. We found that we can extend the shelf life of most of these foods if they are processed properly.
 
 
What motivated you to start this initiative
 
My strong desire to see the reduction of hunger in Nigeria and indeed Africa. Nigeria is blessed with enough arable land to feed every Nigerian. But due to poor farming, processing and storage techniques, we have not been able to fully harness our agricultural potential and have had to rely on imported food items to the detriment of our local economy. If all the foods that are wasted due to poor processing and storage are properly processed and stored, the prices of food in Nigeria as well as hunger will reduce significantly.
 
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Brand logo of Graemoh Foods
 
When, where and how did you start Graemoh Foods?
 
Right from my childhood, I have always been involved in one form of agriculture or the other. However, Graemoh Foods officially started in May 2016 in Kaduna State.
 
What are the Major milestones/success recorded so far?
 
One of our biggest successes so far has been the recognition of our efforts by the Bank of Industry in collaboration with the Kaduna State Government and the United States Government, who through the Kaduna Startup Entrepreneurship Program (KADSTEP) and Young Africans Leaders Initiative (YALI) programmes respectively have provided support to our organization.

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Graemoh’s Fish Farm
Another milestone we have recorded is the switch from open-air drying of the fish over firewood to the use of a stainless steel oven. This oven has a damper to filter the harmful dust and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) that are released during the drying/smoking process especially when using charcoal. This reduces the risk of cancer from the consumption of our fish. We also now package our smoked fish in nylon bags that preserve the fish for more than 3 months.
Image may contain: foodThis means that more fish is available to consumers all year round as opposed to only around harvest time.
 
We have also been able to expand our production from the drying of fish to the processing and packaging of grounded dried pepper.
 
What have been your major obstacles?
One major obstacle has been access to quality feeds and equipment at favorable prices. Most of the quality feeds are imported and with the current exchange rate, it is not very favorable.
Another major obstacle has been the mindset of some consumers. Some consumers feel that packaged fish is not as tasty and healthy as fish that is sold in the open market. On the contrary, our packaged fish is tastier, healthier (due to the low amounts of PAH) and has a longer shelf life.
 
How has social media helped your career?
Social Media has really helped my business especially in terms of publicity. With platforms and tools like Facebook and Twitter, I can reach out to a wider audience. Also, the cost of doing this is not as high as other conventional methods of publicity.
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Word of inspiration to others who intend to start a change initiative?
Find your passion, pursue it and never ever give up!
 
To contact Graemoh Foods…
Mobile number: 08103418605
Instagram: @graemoh_foods
 Twitter: @GraemohFoods

SIX BUSINESS LESSONS FROM BUHARI-LED APC GOVERNMENT

 

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Imagine Nigerians as investors and the Buhari led APC Government as an entrepreneur seeking funding, here are six business lessons every entrepreneur or fund seeker must learn from our ongoing experiences as a nation.

  1. UNDER PROMISE AND OVER DELIVER– Many times in a bid to get funding and impress investors, we over promise and then have challenges delivering the promises when we eventually get the funding.

Failing on a promise goes to the root of trust. From the failed graduate job seekers allowance to paying 23million graduates 5,000 Naira monthly, reducing pump price to 45 Naira per litre and stabilising the Naira which currently stands at 500naira to one dollar, entrepreneurs should learn from Buhari led APC Government’s promises.

  1. MAKE REALISTIC PROMISES: When you eventually identify the promises you want to make, ensure it is based on realistic need and risk assessments because integrity is key to promise making.

Two years into the APC led Government, there is an obvious difficulty keeping to promises made. As entrepreneurs, always check your fact and be sure you can deliver. Learn from Buhari.

  1. QUIT WHINING ABOUT THE PROBLEM, PRESENT YOUR SOLUTION: So imagine me constantly reporting to my investors that I’m unable to do anything because the government isn’t building infrastructure and providing for pregnant women? Imagine me repeating this excuse consistently for two years even after receiving funding?
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President Buhari must return to the drawing table and rejig his plans for the development of Nigeria

Investors already know what the problem is. You’ve told them several times in your application for funding and countless times thereafter. It’s also the reason you got the funding. So why are you still whining about the problem? Why not get moving and deliver on the solutions you promised investors? We all know PDP government looted us blind but this isn’t about the PDP, this is about the APC Government and delivering on its promises. Learn from Buhari.

  1. IN YOUR TEAM, COMPETENCE SHOULD TRUMP LOYALTY- One thing investors are interested in is the constitution of your team and you should work to ensure you put together a competent team.

If you keep focusing on loyalty based on tribe, past relationships and other inconsequential factors, you will find yourself moving around with dead weights and defending the indefensible.

  1. THE COURAGE TO CHANGE OR AMEND A FAILED IDEA OR POLICY- Changing a failed idea or policy midway isn’t weakness, it is strength and the investors will admire you for the courage to do that.

It’s okay if economic policies or other policies aren’t working. The Government shouldn’t be ashamed to admit that the policies aren’t working and put forward a better thought out policy.

Learn from Buhari.

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Apparently, the Buhari-led APC government is experiencing difficulties in keeping to their promises.
  1. CRITICISM IS A TYPE OF FEEDBACK, EMBRACE IT- Sometimes, just like some Nigerians wanted to protest against president Buhari, investors will disagree with some steps, ideas or action we intend taking or have taken. We must respect differing views and opinions, understanding clearly that criticism is also a type of feedback and we must embrace it.

We’ve got two more years left of this government and I’m hoping entrepreneurs will have some positive lessons to learn as we go along.

CREDITS: This article is written by Adepeju Opeyemi Jaiyeoba, founder of Brown Button Foundation and Mother Delivery Kits.

Seven funds available for Nigerian entrepreneurs

7 funds available for Nigerian entrepreneurs in 2017

Even though experts generally agree that finance is not the biggest problem facing Nigerian entrepreneurs, many of them still believe that it still ranks among the first five.

Understanding the critical importance of funding to Nigerian business owners and entrepreneurs, Start-Up Digest, in its characteristic manner, has dug up some of the easy-to-get funds available in the country this year.

Criteria

The general criterion for accessing these funds is the capacity to present a bankable and viable business plan. The entrepreneur should be clear on where he wants to be in the near future, and must also be able to describe the market for his or her products.

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1.BoI Funds

If there is anywhere entrepreneurs can get cheap or single-digit funds (often at nine percent lending rate), it’s from the Bank of Industry (BoI).

This development finance institution (DFI) has been rated by many local and international agencies as one of the best managed banks in the world.

The BoI has a number of funds that entrepreneurs of all levels can access. First is the Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund (GEF), which is meant for serving members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). Candidates are allowed to submit their business ideas, which are then reviewed by a team of experts. The NYSC members whose ideas are marketable and bankable are then selected, trained for four weeks and then given between N500,000 and N2 million.

There are also the Cottage Agro Processing (CAP) Fund for small and medium agro processors; Nolly Fund for players in the Nollywood industry, as well as Fashion Fund for designers and other players in the value chain.

In fact, the bank has other matching and managed funds, including a fund for the automotive industry. Through 122 business development experts, entrepreneurs can access funds easily. It is also easy to access some of the bank’s products through its website.

The bank has a N5 billion fund from Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote to finance SMEs at a single digit rate.

“We want to continue to create opportunities for Nigerian entrepreneurs and support the industrialisation efforts of the government,” said Waheed Olagunju, acting CEO and MD of BoI, at a forum in Lagos in 2016.

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2.Tony Elumelu Fund

Tony Elumelu Foundation has $100 million for 10,000 African entrepreneurs. This will continue to be available for another seven to eight years. If you are in agriculture, fashion and design, light manufacturing, ICT, and solid minerals, among others, then apply for the on-going Tony Elumelu fund.  You can be lucky to be one of 1,000 entrepreneurs to be shortlisted.

Through the Elumelu fund, Momarr Mass Taal, the CEO of Tropingo Foods in The Gambia, who got $5,000 seed capital in 2015, turned his enterprise into a $1.2 million revenue business.

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3.GroFin Fund

GroFin, a development financier, has committed over $500 million to funding Nigerian micro, small and medium business (MSMEs) across the country.

The firm has five different types of fund: the Aspire Nigeria Fund, the Growth Africa Fund, the Small Growing Business Fund, the Aspire Small Business Fund and the Aspire Growth Fund.

The Aspire Nigeria Fund, the Growth Africa Fund and the Small Growing Business Fund cater for all parts of Nigeria except the Niger Delta.

The Aspire Small Business Fund provides a minimum of $100,000 and a maximum of $1.5 million to SMEs in Nigeria.

The Aspire Small Business Fund and the Aspire Growth Fund cater for the Niger Delta.

The Aspire Small Business Fund provides between $10,000 and $100,000 to small business owners in the oil-rich region, while the Aspire Growth Fund frees between $100,000 and $3 million to businesses to stimulate growth in the area. GroFin provides its funds mostly for a maximum of six years.

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4.Shell LiveWire

 The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited has a number of funds for young entrepreneurs, including women.

Through the programme , Shell provides support, access to training, guidance, and business mentorship to young entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35.

The programme operates mainly in the Niger Delta region and aims to inspire, encourage and support young people to start up their own businesses through the provision of finance and training for young entrepreneurs, according to Shell.

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5.Lagos State Employment Trust Fund

Lagos State has N25 billion to support SMEs. The fund is divided into two categories; micro and small businesses. Under the micro, businesses can access up to N500, 000 loans with an interest rate of five percent and a tenor of one year. For the small business category, businesses can get up to N5 million for a tenor of three years. The criteria for accessing the funds include: membership of a business organisation, which will recommend the business for the loan; Lagos State tax receipt for at least six months, and Lagos state residency card. This takes three weeks for processing.

“There are various funding available to owners of small businesses. In our business organisation we have access to the government Social Intervention Fund, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund and the Bank of Industry micro lending fund,” Femi Egbesola, national president, Association of Small Business Owners (ASBON), told Start-Up Digest.

6.Social Intervention Fund of FG

 A total of N6 billion was allocated under the Social Intervention Fund of the 2017 budget. The criteria for accessing the fund include membership of a business organisation. The fund is for artisans and owners of micro businesses. The artisans of business owners can only access a maximum of N100, 000 at three percent interest rate on a year tenor.

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7.Oxfam

Oxfam has a number of funds for Nigerian entrepreneurs.Oxfam, an international confederation of charitable organisations focused on the alleviation of global poverty, recently disbursed €100 million to high-impact SMEs in Nigeria through Nextzon.