Are you looking for capital to start a new business or grow an already established business in Africa?

Have you tried other alternatives and sources of funding but failed? Is capital your biggest headache and obstacle right now?

Smile, I’ve got good news for you.

The problem is, not many people know about these opportunities.

In this article, I want to introduce you to a few of these interesting organisations. Whether you’re looking for a grant, loan or investment in your business idea or company, you should be knocking on the doors of organisations like these.

However, attracting funding from these organisations is not automatic. There is a method to it. But it’s not impossible, and in this article, I’ve included real-life examples of African businesses who have successfully attracted funding from these organisations.

To successfully attract funding, there are several important strategies you need to know and apply.

Let’s meet these amazing organisations…

1.  Seedstars Africa

Seedstars Africa is a member of Seedstars Group, a Swiss-based venture builder that is active and invests in 35+ countries around the world especially in emerging markets in Asia, South America, The Middle East and Africa.

Through Seedstars World, its popular, highly competitive and exclusive startup competition for startups in emerging markets, the company is able to identify promising companies to support with capital and technical help.

In 2014, Seedstars invested $330,000 in SimplePay, a young Nigerian third-party payment processing company that created a solution to disrupt payment services in Nigeria and Africa.

2.    African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF)

The AWDF is the first pan-African women’s grant maker in Africa. Since the start of its operations in 2001, AWDF has provided $17 million in grants to 800 women’s organizations in 42 African countries.

The AWDF is an institutional capacity-building and programme development fund, which aims to help build a culture of learning and partnerships within the African women’s movement. In addition to raising money and awarding grants, the AWDF will attempt to strengthen the organisational capacities of its grantees.

The AWDF only awards grants to organisations, not individuals. It awards grants ranging from $8,000 up to $50,000.

3.  Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Program

Now in its second year, the $100 million Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP) is an annual programme of training, funding and mentoring, designed to empower the next generation of African entrepreneurs.

Founded by Mr. Tony Elumelu, the successful Nigerian entrepreneur and philanthropist, the fund seeks to identify and support 1,000 entrepreneurs from across the continent each year over the next decade.

Each successful participant in the program gets an initial seed investment of $5,000 after a 12 –week mentoring program. Another $5,000, structured as equity or an affordable loan, is also given to participants who meet certain milestones.

Over the next 10 years, the fund expects to support 10,000 start-ups and young businesses selected from across Africa who will ultimately create one million new jobs and add $10 billion in annual revenues to Africa’s economy.

The TEEP Fund focuses on citizens and legal residents of all 54 African countries. Applications can be made by any for-profit business based in Africa in existence for less than three years, including new business ideas.

4.  CDC

Founded in 1948, CDC is the UK’s Development Finance Institution (DFI) wholly owned by the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID). It is the world’s oldest DFI with a history of making successful investments in businesses which have become industry leaders.

CDC actively supports businesses throughout Africa and South Asia, and its portfolio of investments is valued at over £2.5bn (year end 2013).

In November 2013, CDC announced a US$18.1m investment into Feronia, an agricultural production and processing business focused on palm oil plantations and arable farming in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

5    African Development Foundation (ADF)

The African Development Foundation (ADF) is an independent Federal agency of the United States government that was established to support African-led development that grows community enterprises by providing seed capital and technical support.

USADF connects community enterprises with capital and technical support. It helps organizations and businesses in Africa to create and sustain jobs, improve income levels, achieve greater food security, and address human development needs.

In 2014 alone, the USADF gave out 336 grants worth over $50 million and impacted over 1.3 million people in Africa.

6.    Acumen Fund

Acumen is a charity organisation incorporated in 2001 with seed capital from the Rockefeller Foundation, Cisco Systems Foundation and three individual philanthropists. The Acumen Fund invests in entrepreneurs who have the capability to bring sustainable solutions to big problems.

In May 2014, The Acumen Fund co-invested $1.5 million in Esoko Networks Limited (“Esoko”), a Ghanaian-built technology platform that connects African farmers to markets via mobile phones.

In October 2014, Acumen announced a $1.4 million investment in SolarNow, a company that sells and finances solar home systems in Uganda.

7.    88mph

88mph is a Seed Fund and Accelerator that started in 2011 and currently operates out of hubs in Nairobi (Kenya), Cape Town (South Africa), and Lagos (Nigeria).

88mph funds only tech companies, with a particular emphasis on web and mobile products and services. It currently has more than $1.5 million in funds for investment in African tech startups.

Some of its successful investments include:

  • Baby Group – South Africa’s first online shop for new parents and their babies.
  • Byte Money – A mobile payment platform for the insurance industry
  • Ekaya – A service that matches good landlords with good tenants

Its main focus is to attract the best entrepreneurs, invest seed cash, and bring them to a point where their businesses can grow independently, or be adequately evaluated by angels and Venture Capital firms.

8.    Investment AB Kinnevik

Based in Sweden, Investment AB Kinnevik was founded in 1936 and is one of the largest listed investment companies in Europe with total assets of $7 billion.

Over the past few years, the firm has invested significantly in businesses in Africa. Some of its most notable investments on the continent include: Millicom, Tele2, Jumia, MTG, Rocket Internet, Iroko Partners and several others.

AB Kinnevik is a major investor in emerging markets. As a result, about 8 percent of its portfolio consists of African businesses. It invests and focuses on entrepreneurs and businesses in the following business segments: Communications, Ecommerce & Marketplaces, Entertainment and Financial Services & Others.