Many young aspiring Nigerian entrepreneurs have an idea for their business but lack the capital to actually start it. Brand-new businesses are often turned down for bank loans, and even if your business is established, funds can still be tough to secure.
So what options are left for those aspiring to be the next Dangote?
Angel investors invest in early-stage or startup companies in exchange for a 30 to 40 percent return on their investment in Sub-Saharan Africa. They have helped to start up many prominent companies, including Google and Costco. They also provide strategic experience that benefits the company they are investing in.
Venture capital is money that is given to help build new startups that are considered to have both high-growth and high-risk potential. Fast-growth companies with an exit strategy already in place can gain up to tens of millions of dollars that can be used to invest, network and grow their company frequently.
Venture capitalists focus on specific industries and can generally offer advice to entrepreneurs on whether the product will be successful or what they need to do to bring it to market. However, venture capitalists have a short leash when it comes to company loyalty and often look to recover their investment within a three- to five-year time window.
Through this process, a service provider will front you the money on invoices that have been billed out, which you then pay back once the customer has settled the bill. This way, the business can grow by providing the funds necessary to keep it going while waiting for customers to pay for outstanding invoices.
Crowdfunding on sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo can give a boost to financing a small business. These sites allow businesses to pool small investments from a number of investors instead of having to look for a single investment.
Make sure to read the fine print of different crowdfunding sites before making your choice, as some sites have payment-processing fees, or require businesses to raise their full stated goal in order to keep any of the money raised.
Businesses focused on science or research may be able to get grants from the government. The SBA offers grants through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Recipients of these grants are required to meet federal research-and-development goals, and have a high potential for commercialization.