One of the best ways to get finance for your business or ideas is getting a grant. While a loan is a good alternative but a grant is far better than a loan. It gives you the peace of mind to build and grow your business or idea. It is like getting “free money.” There are many organizations who offer grants that are available in Nigeria, Africa and worldwide. This article is focused on grants. To check other options go to Financing.
What is a grant?
Grants are funding given to individuals or businesses to support their growth without necessarily having to pay back. Grants are given by Large organizations, governments, Non governmental organizations and wealthy individuals for various purposes. Unlike loans, you do not have to pay back.
What is the difference between a grant and a loan?
There are some differences between a grant and a loan that you may want to consider before deciding which one is best for you. Each of them have their advantages. Below are the differences:
- Payment: A loan requires you to pay back the money with interest but a grant is non-repayable. A grant is like a gift.
- Collateral: A loan may require a collateral that will be be taken over if the loan is not paid back after a set time but a grant doe snot require a collateral
- Risk: With a grant, there is no risk since you are not required to pay back but with a loan there is a risk. If you don’t pay back in time, there maybe trouble. And your ability to get loan again will be in jeopardy.
- Opportunities: A loan gives you more opportunities as there are many banks, micro-finance, different organizations and individuals offering it. But a grant is limited as there are not many organization offering it. It is mostly given by government, philanthropists and international organizations.
- Availability: A loan is more available. You can get it anytime and any day. But a grant is not always available. Some are given once a year or twice.
How to apply for a grants
Because a grant is a gift and non refundable does not mean you just apply for every grant you see. Here are factors you should consider:
You have to be prepared when you want to apply for a grant. Why do you need the grant? Is it for a business, idea or what? What is the plan? How will the grant help your business or idea? You need to know all these. If it is for a business or idea, you must clearly have a business plan or a blueprint. Grants are only given to individuals or businesses whom the giver believes will make a big impact. So prepare. Your goal is to convinced the giver while you deserve the grant.
Before applying, you have to be sure that you are eligible or you maybe wasting your time. Some grants are limited to locations. So be sure it covers your location. Some are limited by scope. There are small business grants, agricultural grant, health grant, research grant and so on. be sure it fits into your business or idea.
Some grants may have certain requirement before you can access. Such as years in business, certain documents being needed or anything in particular. Be sure to check all requirements. And get those you don’t have.
Submit your application
Once you have done due diligence to the above listed steps, it is time to submit your application. Go to the website and submit or if it requires you mailing or visiting the office, do it.
Places you can get a grant for your business or ideas
Here are places that you can get a grant for your business or ideas:
1. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grants
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) founded in 2000 as William H. Gates Foundation is a philanthropic organization with a goal to improve the quality of life worldwide. It is available worldwide but with a very big presence in Africa. And as the name suggest, it is owned and funded by veteran Billionaire, Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda Gates.
As at 2017, the foundation was reportedly worth US$50.7 billion in assets, making it the largest privately owned philanthropic organization in the world.
The foundation regularly gives grants to organizations. Organizations in Africa and the United States who offers solutions to global problems can benefit from these grants.
The focus of the grants is mostly on humanity. Agriculture grants is also regularly offered.
To check on available grants which are regularly updated, You can visit the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grants page here
2. Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) Grant
The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) is a non-profit, private sector organization that provides financial support in the form of grants to non-government business organizations such as chambers of commerce, employers’ federations, trade associations, and private enterprise-oriented research groups throughout the world. Grants are made directly to non-U.S. business organizations on a private basis, without government intervention. In 1983, CIPE was designated by the U.S. Congress as the business representative in the bipartisan National Endowment for Democracy program.
The many goals of CIPE includes: Helping build independent business organizations, to increase the base of business talent in the developing world and many more.
To learn more or to apply for a CIPE grant click here
3. Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) grants
The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund is a development organization with the goal to stimulate growth in the private sector across Africa. The fund is open to Entrepreneurs and businesses across Africa.
As at 2018, the AECF fund is worth $356M. The fund is donated by several international partners including the Australian Government, Canadian government among others.
Businesses across Africa can access the fund. The AECF offers grants and non-interest loans to African businesses and entrepreneurs with best innovative ideas that is mainly focused on agriculture, agribusiness, renewable energy, adaptation to climate change and access to information and financial services.
The fund is made available through competitions. Businesses and entrepreneurs are invited to present their innovative ideas and solutions.
To apply and learn more about the AECF grants click here.
4. United States African Development Foundation (USADF)
The United States African Development Foundation (USADF) is an independent federal agency of the U.S established to provide financial and technical to African enterprises. The USADF offers grants of up to $250,000 for operational assistance, enterprise expansion and market linkage to early stage agriculture, energy, and youth-led enterprises that benefit under-served communities in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The main focus in on youths and women in agriculture.
To apply for a USADF grant or to learn more about USADF click here
5. Ford Foundation grants.
The Ford Foundation is one of the most famous philanthropic organization in the world. Established in 1936, the foundations offer grants to organizations in the United States, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
The foundation has given out over $16.3 billion in grants worldwide since it was founded.
Focus of the Ford foundation is on initiatives aimed at reducing poverty and injustice; promoting democratic values; and advancing human knowledge.
You can always write and share your ideas with the Ford Foundation anytime.
To apply for a Ford Foundation grant or to learn more about the Ford Foundation grants click here
6. The Rockefeller foundation grants
The Rocketfeller foundation is a private foundation with its Headquarter in New York. With interest in making the world a better place, the foundation offers grants aimed at solving different problems facing our world.
To learn more about Rockefeller foundation grant click here
7. AXA Research Fund’s grants
The mission of the AXA Research Fund is to support outstanding researchers committed to contributing to global societal challenges related to Life & Health, Data & Technology, Climate & Environment and Economics. AXA Research Fund’s grants is a formation of the AXA foundation.
As at 2018, the organization has offered grants up to €179 million for 563 research projects in 35 countries including Nigeria, South Africa and covering many African countries.
To learn more about the AXA Research Fund’s grants click here
8. African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) grants
The African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) is a grantmaking foundation that supports local, national and regional women’s organisations working towards the empowerment of African women and the promotion and realisation of their rights.
So if your organization or ideas are related to women empowerment and promotion you can apply.
To learn more about the AWDF grant click here
9. International Monetary Fund (IMF) grants
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) gives grants to non-profit organizations working to help the poorest and disadvantaged emerge from very low-income, socially dependent, and other detrimental and dysfunctional situations.
The average grant award is $10,000.
To apply or learn more about the IMF grant click here
10. World Bank grants
The world bank provides grants to businesses and entrepreneurs worldwide. But most worldwide grants are in partnership with governments. So to access the world bank grants, you should be up to date with news regarding the latest world bank grants available to your country.
However, Civil Society organizations can still apply for funding from world bank.
To lean more click here