Seed funding for Startups in Africa is now easier than ever, but with all things business, getting your startup funded requires research, planning and building relationships. This guide will show the top sources for seed funding for startups in Africa and some tips for getting funded quickly.
A startup with an arguable excellent business idea wants to set up its operations. Due to the generosity of friends, family, and the founders’ own financial resources, the startup has grown slowly from its modest beginnings while demonstrating the value of its concept and goods.
With time, the company’s customer base expands, and its operations and goals evolve as well. The startup has achieved some traction and is now in need of funds to scale its business to reach more customers or users and unlock the long-term growth potential of the startup.
One of the best ways to get access to funds is via VC Funding (Venture Capital) which has different levels with the first being a seed fund.
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Venture capital (VC) is a form of private equity and a type of financing that investors provide to startups, companies and small businesses that show the potential to have long-term growth.
What is Seed Funding?
The first step of VC fundraising is called seed funding. It usually denotes the first formal funding that a startup raises. Some startups never get Series A or higher rounds of investment after receiving seed money, while a couple go on to IPO.
The “seed” financing might be compared to planting a tree in your mind. This first financial assistance is ideally the “seed” that will aid in the company’s expansion. The startup should ultimately develop into a “tree” if there is enough income, a viable business plan, and persistent and committed investors.
A startup may use seed money to support some of its first initiatives, such as product development and R &D. Seed funding can help startups figure out or deepen their market.
How Seed Funding Works
In a seed fundraising scenario, there are several prospective investors: entrepreneurs, friends, family, incubators, venture capital firms, and more. A so-called “angel investor” is one of the most popular investors participating in seed funding for startups.
Angel investors often choose riskier endeavours (such as startups with a scant prior track record) and anticipate receiving an ownership share in the firm in return for their investment.
Although the amount of cash raised in seed fundraising rounds varies greatly depending on the business, it’s not unusual for these rounds to raise anywhere from $10,000 to $2 million for the startup in question.
Some startups may never conduct a Series A round of investment because the owners believe that a seed funding round is all that is required to launch their business properly. The majority of startups seeking seed capital have a valuation of between $3 million and $6 million.
A company could be prepared to seek further funding if it has established a track record (an established user base, regular sales statistics, or some other critical performance metric).
Top Sources for Seed Funding for Startups in Africa
1. Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP)
The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program (TEEP) is an annual initiative started by Mr Tony Elumelu, a business mogul in Nigeria, via the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF).
The initiative, which was introduced in 2015, aims to provide African businesses with 10,000 USD in initial money. From a pool of more than 50,000 candidates, the programme chooses 1,000 entrepreneurs from all around Africa each year.
From a pool of more than 50,000 candidates, the programme chooses 1,000 entrepreneurs from all around Africa each year. Each application is carefully examined by business experts in the sector, and winners are chosen based on the viability of the market, the accuracy of the financial projections, and the strength of the management team.
An application period is available from January 1 to March 1 of each programme cycle.
To be qualified
- An African base of operations is required.
- The company must be profitable.
- The company must also be between 0 and 3 years old.
- Those who apply must be at least 18 years old and lawful residents of or citizens of African nations.
2. Bank of Industry (BOI)
Young and skilled entrepreneurs wishing to enter different sectors of Nigeria’s economy may now take advantage of a programme for youth empowerment that was just introduced by the Bank of Industry (BOI).
By enhancing young ability and supporting their company ideas, BOI’s Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) Programme seeks to solve the alarming situation of youth unemployment in Nigeria.
The YES programme aims to provide young people with the necessary knowledge and skills to become self-employed by launching and running their own enterprises. The YES Program includes
1. An intense eight-week online course on entrepreneurship and business management that includes assessments of participants’ learning and development.
2. Five (5) days of classroom-based instruction in entrepreneurship and business management.
3. Technical skill development in collaboration with the many technical and vocational colleges around the nation.
4. The financing of the companies by BOI under its SME Cluster programme in accordance with the commodity-based Industrialization Strategy of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
To be qualified
- The candidate must be a Nigerian citizen.
- Must have a workable business plan in one of the 40 clusters that have been selected and that operate or will operate in Nigeria.
- Should fall between the ages of 18 and 35. (Identity documentation needed; international passport, driver’s licence, national ID, or voter card).
- must have an Ordinary National Diploma as their minimal educational requirement (OND).
- The application procedure must be completed online by applicants.
- Visit: https://www.boi.ng/
3. GroFin Fund
An innovative development lender, GroFin focuses on funding and assisting small and developing companies (SGBs) in Africa and the Middle East.
Additionally, to help developing market businesses flourish, GroFin combines patient finance with specialist business assistance.
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Small and Growing Businesses (SGBs) that are blatantly neglected by other funds or lenders are the focus of GroFin. provides start-up and expanding enterprises at the SME base with an innovative integrated solution for patient risk financing and comprehensive business assistance.
GroFin has a fund size of more than $100 million dollars to support MSMEs (micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises) in Nigeria.
To be qualified
- One of the following nations is where your company is located: South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Zambia, Egypt, Rwanda, Uganda, and Uganda.
- Your company exists to make money.
- Additionally, the assets and turnover of your company total less than US$6 million.
- You need finance ranging from $100,000 to $1.5 million.
- The company is wholly owned by its owner or the owner is heavily engaged in managing the company.
- Visit: https://www.grofin.com/
4. YouWIN Connect Nigeria
A multimedia initiative of the Federal Ministry of Finance is called YouWiN! Connect. Through entrepreneurial education for young Nigerians, the initiative seeks to encourage entrepreneurship, the development of jobs, and wealth.
The use of appropriate SME development tools would increase the productivity of Nigerian businesspeople.
Young Nigerians are pushing these businesses into niche markets that support the government’s goals of diversifying the economy and fostering competition and transparency.
The goal of the inaugural round, dubbed YouWin!1, was to educate ambitious young entrepreneurs about how their company proposals may help create jobs.
The target audience for the second edition (YouWin!2), a mono-gender version, was women under the age of 45.
More than 1200 adolescents were honoured. The third edition (YouWin!3) included a record number of prize recipients and was poly-gender (over 2500 Youth).
To be qualified
- Candidates need to be university graduates.
- The age range for applicants is 18 to 40.
- Applicants must also be Nigerian citizens who live in Nigeria.
- The applicant’s companies must be based in Nigeria.
- Applicants must be able to successfully communicate in English, both orally and in writing.
- Additionally, candidates must be prepared to participate in all training and mentorship sessions planned by the programme.
- Applicants must not be Nigerian Civil Service employees.
- Previous recipients of YouWiN awards are unable to apply.
5. Financial Grants from AYEEN
Africa’s Young Entrepreneurs (A.Y.E.) is dedicated to developing young businesspeople across the continent by building platforms that promote intra-trade.
The next generation of outstanding African business leaders, who will transform the political and economic systems of their own countries, is something they are devoted to promoting.
AYEEN seeks to provide small-business financing throughout the economy. With no risk to the organisers, winners would get their specific awards.
However, the firm owners and their operations will be properly followed for a year. The sole requirements for the programme are that the applicant is a Nigerian and that the company be located in one of the nation’s 36 states.
6. African Women Development Fund
This empowerment programme aims to increase the participation of African women in business. It is a female-only award that supports women’s empowerment throughout the continent.
The African Women Development Fund gives funds to organisations working on problems relating to women’s equality, leadership, financial security, and body and health rights.
7. SeedStars World
SeedStars is a private group of companies based in Switzerland, that impacts lives in emerging markets by investing in technology and entrepreneurship.
From June to November of every year the seed stars team seeks out promising early-stage startups and high-growth companies active across Africa.
SeedStars actively offers SME grants in over 53 countries in the world, from Africa to Asia, the Middle East and South America.
Seedstars has invested over $5 Milion in Africa to date.
To access seed funding from SeedStars, you will need to apply. For more information click here.
8. Rising Tide Africa
Rising Tide Africa is an all-female angel investing network co-founded by Yemi Keri and Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien in Lagos, Nigeria.
The platform engages in educating and training women to become sophisticated angel investors through its Program while offering them the opportunity to build a diversified portfolio of investments and receive mentoring from other women who are experienced angel investors.
RTA is a unique, trans-border women-oriented investment network funded by private investors who believe that they will bring about positive change by investing in the continent’s exciting start-ups and next generation to create a New Africa.
The network was an early investor in Migo (formerly Mines.io) which raised a $20M series B round in December to expand from Nigeria to Brazil. The network has seen the value of their investment grow by 9x in a short time frame.
Now with a track record, Rising Tide Africa members are required to invest a minimum of 5M Naira (around $14,000) annually into the fund and that money will be distributed across all deals that the network makes.
9. Angel Investment Network
Angel Investment Network is currently the largest group of angel investors in the world with more than 300,000 members. With such a high number of angel investors to select from, any type of business can seek funding through this investment group. The main sectors that they focus on include technology, software, and property. The blog that they run on their site offers up the latest news about angel investors, startups, and entrepreneurs.
With the number of angel investors, this is among the most popular angel investment groups around. You can interact with them on Facebook and Twitter where they have 20,000 and 23,000 followers respectively.
10. ABAN Network
Founded by Tomi Davis, African Business Angel Network is a pan African non-profit association founded to support the development of early-stage investor networks.
ABAN began as a consortium of independent investor networks including the Lagos Angels Network (LAN), Cameroon Angel Network (CAN), Ghana Angel Network (GAIN), Venture Capital for Africa (VC4Africa), Silicon Cape and supported by the European Business Angel Network (EBAN).
ABAN’s mission is to help quantum leap early-stage investing in Africa by providing the support, networking opportunities, and essential resources to Africa’s Angel Investing Networks needed to maximize their impact.
In 2021, ABAN Network partnered with AfriLabs and created Catalytic, a co-investment fund that will match investments made by registered angel investors with institutional funds.
The initiative is supported by Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) and the Digital Africa fund, who have been critical partners in Catalytic Africa’s first round of startups.
AngelList is a website dedicated specifically to helping tech startups raise funds, recruit team members, and launch their business with the assistance of angel investors.
It’s easy for people to find jobs at a startup on this website and invest in companies that they’re interested in once they join AngelList, which is why it’s very popular among startups that are looking to grow.
The blog that’s maintained on this website centers around investing and angel investors. Some of the topics that are written about on this blog include how to set up a remote team, how to incorporate diversity into your hiring process, and the importance of agile methodology is.
AngelList, is also quite active on Facebook and Twitter accounts with quite an impressive following with regular updates, the latter of which has more than 380,000 followers
12. The Cairo Angels
The Cairo Angels is Egypt’s first formal angel investment network; investing in and supporting early-stage startups in Egypt and across the MENA region. Established in 2012, Cairo Angels convenes regular investment meetings to review pre-selected potential investees that meet the Cairo Angels investment criteria. Members may join virtually or physically in either Cairo or London.
While angels make their own investment decisions, Cairo Angels facilitates due diligence for opportunities that receive interest from investors, negotiates terms and finalizes deal closing. Post-investment, the Cairo Angels can also provide portfolio management services for its investors. Angels invest their personal money in return for a minority equity stake in the business, and collectively make investments that range between 250K to 2M Egyptian Pounds per Company.
To date, Cairo Angels have invested over USD2.8 million in 28 startups across 6 cities.
13. Viktoria Ventures
ViKtoria Ventures is a Kenyan company that is helping early-stage companies obtain seed funding from angel investors and forge networks necessary for growth.
Viktoria does this through angel events held every two/ three months where they invite angels and potential angels to listen to promising startups we have worked with.
The aim is to have the angels finance, mentor and/ or make key business introductions for the startups.
The angels also get the opportunity to learn through various technical training sessions geared towards early stage investment which are part of the events. The events are led by experienced angels and practitioners in early-stage investing.
14. Carthage Business Angels
Carthage Business Angels is the first angel investors network in Tunisia, and it presents as a 3E Agency: Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Enabler.
It deals with the whole Start-up creation and development value chain. Since its inception in 2010, Carthage Business Angels is supporting and co-implementing several ideation, incubation and acceleration programs and initiatives.
The association is backed by the leading private business Incubator Wiki Startup. They were involved together in the publication of several studies and policy papers covering various themes in relation to Access to Finance and capital market Development, Innovation and technology transfer, business incubation, Research Base spin-off generation (the knowledge material is available on www.wikistartup.tn ).
Carthage Business Angels is also well recognized as an Executive Partner for Business Support Organisations and Service providers to entrepreneurs since it co-implemented several programs in partnership with international institutions like GIZ, USAID (Univenture) or AFD (star’Act).
15. She Leads Africa Accelerator Grants
She Leads Africa (SLA) accelerator program; a 3-month program is designed to identify, support and fund the next generation of Nigeria’s brightest female entrepreneurs. The prize is as high as N2, 000,000 (Two million Naira). This business grants is offered annually to female entrepreneurs between the age of 18-35 and have business already that need funding in Nigeria.
The She Leads Africa Accelerator prize will raise your profile; have access to funding, access to best business minds in the country, media attention and opportunity to pitch business to investors. The grant is meant to promote already existing business and not idea.
How do African Startups get Seed Funding?
African startups get seed funding by applying to VC funds (Angel funds), Grants and even debt.
Some VC funds to apply for seed funding in Africa are; Seedstars, YC, ABAN,
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