4 Funds For SMEs & African Diaspora

In today’s society, starting a project or business idea is almost impossible without funds. The less risky way to start would be that you have your own cash saved up. Less challenging in the sense that you can sleep peacefully at night and not have to worry about debts. However, more is needed to guarantee success. Especially if it is your savings, you must plan and implement your idea correctly to make it successful. 

In this article, we will look at several funding opportunities African SMEs can access and African diasporas looking to partner with entrepreneurs on the ground. Let us explore these four funds, and later, I will share my personal experience with you. 

4 funds to look into to develop your idea 

  1. Getty Image Grant Program
  2. GTB Loans for Small Businesses
  3. YouWiN! Connect
  4. African Women’s Development fund

Getty Image Grant Program

These are funds available for those in the creative industry. If you have not heard about Getty images, here is who they are, and iStock is no different; Getty Images Holdings, Inc. is an American visual media company and is a supplier of stock images, editorial photography, video and music for business and consumers, with a library of over 477 million assets. 

It targets three markets—creative professionals, the media, and corporate. One thing to recognize here is that this is a grant, not a loan. Click to learn more about grants. These grants operate per call, meaning Getty image has a circle where they open the grant for submission and provide a deadline. After this deadline, the judging process begins. The call is then closed till the next circle. Check this link frequently to see when the next call is open and to apply – check for a grant call

The program has 2 types – Creative and Editorial grants. 

  • Creative Grant: Through Getty image creative grants, both Getty Images and iStock support and nurture emerging talent with the financial freedom to pursue projects of personal and commercial significance.
  • Editorial grants: Getty Images editorial grants have supported independent photojournalists worldwide, providing vital financial resources to ensure they can continue to capture visuals that inform and inspire. 

You can learn more about the grant here. The program offers different prices as grants starting from $5,000 US to $10,000 US. Here are the major requirements: 

  • Links to an existing portfolio of work online 
  • The submission must include a 200‑500 word project proposal summary.
  • A short biography detailing who you are and what you’ve done 
  • The applications must be in English 
  • All submissions must be digital. 

GTB Loans for Small Businesses

Now let us explore a few loans from a bank in Nigeria – Guaranty Trust Bank PLC, abbreviated as GTBank. GTB has a portfolio of loan services like an international bank. It also has SME-tailored products, which is the focus of this article.

GTB Soft/Quick Loan

Targeted at low-income customers, the GTB Soft Loans allow customers to enjoy a more extended payment deadline and low-interest rates compared to the norm in the country. The grace period is between 6 – 12 months and eligible applicants can pay in equal monthly instalments. 

GTB Overdraft Service For Small businesses

This line of credit allows a customer to write cheques for more than the actual balance on the account with a finance charge on the excess. It is an “open credit” which can be used repeatedly until the balance on the account reaches a certain pre-arranged limit with a specific repayment date, usually one year. The aim of this service for small businesses is to help provide working capital to run day-to-day operations. Businesses can access funds quickly, from as small as 250k to 10 million, depending on the eligibility. 

Remember that you have your business correctly set up. Outstanding debts with other banks do not affect eligibility; you get a low interest of around 1.3%. Of course, like any other loan institution, you must have your records right because banks would do due diligence. They want to be able to estimate if you can pay back that loan. Part of this due diligence would involve checking your account history and your earnings. Click to learn more about this overdraft service for SMEs. 

Other GTB small business loans that could serve as funds to develop your business include the tailored Fashion Industry Credit and the Food Industry Credit. You can get up to 5 million Naira for the Fashion Industry Credit. Find requirements, how to apply, FAQ and more information directly from the source/loan institution here – Click Fashion Industry Credit. You can get up to 2 million Naira for the Food Industry Credit. Find requirements, how to apply, FAQ and more information directly from the source/loan institution here – Click Food Industry Credit. 

You get a single-digit interest rate with both and enjoy a flexible repayment plan. Remember that this is not a private loan. It is a loan for your business entity which must be registered at the Corporate Affairs Commission. Some significant requirements include the following; 

  • Business should be at least 1 (one) year.
  • Your business must have a clean Credit Bureau Report with no unpaid obligations.
  • Also, your business must have a satisfactory CRMS report of owners, sponsors and directors.

For everything about personal loans from GTB – https://www.gtbank.com/personal-banking/loans

YouWiN! Connect

YouWiN! Connect is a Nigerian Federal Ministry of Finance media enterprise education programme designed to assist entrepreneurs in starting, planning and growing their businesses. YouWin! is an acronym for Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria. This initiative is aimed at tackling the country’s unemployment rate and was launched in 2011. The fund granted by YouWin! is an equity contribution to the business of selected awardees. The initial idea to provide equity funds for MSME is redesigned to a multi-media enterprise education initiative to provide the tools and skills. Unfortunately, it seems to need a functional digital presence. Visit this page to see for yourself – YouWiN! Connect website.

Our research team could not find substantial information about this program but included it in this article because there are sporadic opportunities for application. Major eligibility criteria include that applicant must;

  • Be a Nigerian entrepreneur residing in the country.
  • Be a Nigerian citizen no older than 45 years (proof of identity: International passport/Drivers License/National ID/Voters card required)
  • have graduated from a higher institution (post-secondary school qualification)
  • Not be a civil servant.
  • Be able to attend all the training.
  • Have proficiency in English language for communication
  • Run your business in Nigeria
  • Be between the ages of 18-40
  • Have the intention of employing Nigerian citizens
  • Prepare an innovative business concept and summary. This is where a business plan comes in handy, and make sure to include these 10 things in your concept.

It is also essential to state that any proposed venture must not entail the production or distribution of weapons, alcoholic beverages, tobacco or/and gambling, or any activities contradicting the Nigerian constitution. 

African Women’s Development fund

It is impossible to leave you without a section dedicated to our female entrepreneurs out there. So here is one! A pan-African female-only grant-making organization that strives to support women’s rights and women-led organizations on the continent. The fund provides grants to organizations tackling the issues of body and health rights, women’s economic security and justice, leadership, participation, and peace. Prize money is unspecified. However, since inception, the fund has given out $41.8 million US dollars.


  • It must be led by a woman and have the majority of its staff and board being women
  • Must be duly registered in an African country
  • Must have been in existence for at least 3 years
  • Must have the needed organizational structures for effective implementation of the project
  • Must have an appreciable financial management system to properly account for funds received
  • Must be capable of reporting back on the outcomes of the project
  • Must complete the necessary application forms

Find out more and know to apply for this grant – AWDF.

Here is an idea of how diasporas can explore this opportunity. 

When I started my first venture in Nigeria, I needed to have all the funds I needed. I had a partner in Lagos. Funny enough, my partner needed to figure out where to get grants, loans or investments in Nigeria. She kept saying there was no money and nobody to help. The mere word “help” reflected ignorance about raising funds for ideas. 

You intend to run a business, not a charity, so you must prepare your stuff. You need to set up your idea correctly. Set up as a business entity, pay your tax, do all registrations, plan, and prepare a proposal. These are the basics. Find out details on how to set up your idea in future blogs and on our JoadreTRIBE app. Make sure to register for our newsletter or join the app now. 

As a diaspora who has spent several years raising funds in Europe, I know the minimum it would require. So, we spent the first 6 months developing her setup. It could have taken us 5 weeks, but let us leave that topic for another article! As soon as her idea was set up, I was ready to partner with her. So we raised funds both locally and internationally needed for the project. 

As a diaspora abroad, you can support ventures in Africa to set up and guide them towards raising funds from within. Guidance is a mentoring process where you can show them how to develop management and accountability structures. This does not only benefit them but also you in the long term.   

Connect with us, and get our app.

Our Joadre organization runs a film production branch which aims to connect African filmmakers with their European counterparts to develop projects that cut through the shared historical experiences of both continents. Alongside our film production, we created our one-stop digital incubator app to bridge knowledge and service discrepancies for African students looking to start a business. Get the app (Android version) here. For IOS users, a web app is available here at https://tribe.joadre.com. Sign up for our newsletter here to get consistent resources via email. If you want to contact us, use our contact form or consult us through the app. 

Thank you for reading to the end. 



I am Joana, a Nigerian-born Austrian-based entrepreneur and activist. Founded Joadre in 2012 and continue to develop content to engage and empower African SMEs.

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