Let's me throw a personal story first. In 2013, I had a business idea; I put it down on paper and developed it with a 3-year financial plan and growth projection. I had no dime to startup the company, however, I submitted the business plan to funding agencies in Nigeria.
Rather than the N7.2million shown from my budget, I was given N10million grant to kick start the business. That was how I became an accidental entrepreneur because before then, I’ve never done any sort of business in my life.
I sought for business mentors and consulted experts in the implementation of the grant into the business. More so, I sought and attended entrepreneurship programs including the Lagos Business School to enable me manage and run the business. Within two years, we made a significant growth in the company.
Following my above experience, there are other ways to start or grow a business without having much capital. Some of my mentees have successfully benefitted too:
1. Actionable ideas rule the world - This is the first thing that will bring you into business. Develop that your idea into a well written business plan. Talk to experts, consult if possible, conduct more studies/researches and document everything.
2. Seek for opportunities that are in the sector of your business e.g. Tony Elumelu grant (there are several of them I can't start listing here). There are various opportunities and some WHAIafrica publishes. Go through them and see which one your business is eligible for. It mustn't be a grant or loan; it could be a training or other forms of capacity building.
In 2019, I applied, got shortlisted and participated in the British Council Creative Enterprise for those in the creative industry. No money was given but it strengthened our business idea and gave us a better vision of how to build our social enterprise.
When I got the N10million, I also applied and became a World Bank Women Scholar where I got the necessary training required to grow the Company. So don’t just focus on the money. The skills and capacity you have can also attract the money to you.
Recently, we mentored Agropreneurs to apply for an opportunity and 44 of them just got shortlisted. They will undergo training, after which some of them get a grant of not more than N3.5million to grow their business.
3. Don’t go begging verbally for financial assistance. Package everything into a document; the business plan, the budget, financial plan including how you will pay back. That is only when people will take you serious. Start with your inner circle, your close friends, family and persons that believe in you and your idea because they really want you progress in life.
4. CBN Intervention Fund and Other Government Support Funds – How many have accessed this billion naira fund available? Few entrepreneurs ran to me few weeks ago to access the Survival Funds only to discover that their business of over 5 years is not registered with CAC, hence they can't access the funds. You can explore government funding opportunities and also through your bank rather than asking for capital from wealthy individuals to put in your business. The truth is that most of the wealthy people are in need of money too.
5. Be honest, sincere, transparent and open – Don’t try to hide relevant info or play smart on your dealings with business partners, investors, bank etc.
Opportunities for the Week: Really can’t list all here. There are bounty opportunities out there. Be it scholarships, exchange programs, grants, fellowship programs, professional training etc. Kindly hit the like button and follow Ada Africa at www.facebook.com/WHAIafrica for more opportunities. Would be available to answer your questions and walk you through.
Trust me, you will go places. Recognize what God has called you to be, accept the gifts He has given you and start building on them!