Kamal Okunola Written by MKO · 3 min read >

Ezekiel Oseni took us through an amazing session on various ways of raising capital for our business. He listed 11 ways, which will be very useful for those seeking funds; please see the ways below.

  1. Start with what you have

For example, Sara Blakely, the founder of the famous women’s underwear brand Spanx, started the business with her entire savings of $5,000 in 1998 after failing to convince anyone to invest in her business.  The business is now worth over $1 billion

2. Convert your social capital into financial capital

Leverage on the social capital you have built with family and relatives, close friends, current and former work colleague, old classmates, neigbours etc.

Jack Ma in 1999 invited 18 of his friends to his apartment and pitched his idea of Alibaba to them. He raised  $60,000 from his friends that night to start the company and as of 2014 when the company went public, it was valued at $21.8 billion.  It is easier to get close friends and associates to  listen to your idea and trust  you with their funds than Strangers

3. Find a PARTNER

Some people have the cash but may not have the time, ideas, knowledge, or skills that are required to start or build a good business. Some have a full-time commitment (like a job) or may not have the entrepreneurial flair to actively start and build a business.  This creates an opportunity for a win-win partnership

Jason Njoku the founder of Iroko Tv(one of the largest creators and distributors of African Movies, Series, and TV shows) met his co-founder, Sebastian Gotter, at the University of  Manchester where they both studied.  In 2010, Sebastian, who is German, contributed $150,000 for a 50% stake in the business. While Jason, who is Nigerian and fully understands the local market, was responsible for executing the business plan.  Since then, Iroko TV has grown into an industry giant, raising over $40 million from international investors to date.

4. Angel Investors

Angel investors are individuals or groups who invest their personal funds in young businesses in the early stage of their journey.

In 2004, when Facebook was still a tiny business and Mark Zuckerberg was an unknown name, Peter Thiel, an angel investor, led a $500,000 investment in the company for a 10.2% equity stake.  By 2011 when Facebook became a public company, that angel investment was worth $1 billion.

5. Venture Capital Firms

Capitalist and Investment companies that invest majorly in start-ups. Examples are:

Future Africa

EchoVC Partners

Ventures Platform


Investment Company

Growth Capital Fund  


6. Pitch and win a business competition

In 2016, a small South African start-up business called “Giraffe” won $500,000 in investment at a pitching competition in Geneva, Switzerland after beating 54 other finalists including 13 from Africa. Student entrepreneurs are challenged to create sustainable travel wear that incorporates recycled materials, sustainable manufacturing, and antibacterial and/or odor control properties. This equity-free $50,000 grant competition is open to startups from

around the world. International competition for businesses pitching ideas that target social, environmental, health, and governmental challenges.

– CodeLaunch provides seed services to early-stage startups.

– TechCrunch Disrupt brings together investors, entrepreneurs, and developers from around the world.

– Y Combinator lets entrepreneurs sit down with investors and pitch their ideas.

Africa Business Club – Harvard is organizing “New Venture Competition – 2022” 

Pitch to win over $15K in funding!

– Entrepreneurs can get up to $5,000 dollars through TEF Entrepreneurship Programme

– AFDB AgriPitch Competition – Agric Entrepreneurs are  giving grants after winning the competition

Tips To Improve Your Chances Of Winning

Let your Startup idea be Unique

Be Concise

Know Your Audience

Make Contacts

Apply Early

Be Ready To Answer Questions

7. Use your spare assets

An asset is any property or thing of value that you own. Assets can be a good source of capital because you could convert them into cash to fund your business, or use them as collateral (security) for a bank loan.

8. Get advance funding from your customers

This is one of the few creative ways of starting or running a business with zero capital.

When you have customers who have an urgent or desperate need for your product or service, it’s very likely that they are often willing to pay for your product in advance.

This ‘upfront’ payment usually provides you with the capital you need to produce the product or service, get it delivered to the customer, and turn a nice profit. Amazon Prime, generates more than $11 billion in interest-free capital to support its business every single year. Between 2014 and 2018, Tesla received up to $985 million in upfront payments and deposits from thousands of customers, for vehicles that were not even in production yet.

9. Target government grants, subsidies, and low-interest loans

Several government schemes, initiatives, and organizations provide grants, subsidies, and low-interest loans for all kinds of businesses. There are funding schemes for agribusinesses like the $60 million Anchor Borrower’s Programme in Nigeria that provides low-interest loans to farmers who cultivate certain crops. There are also several Special Economic Zones (SEZs) across the world that provide incentives like waivers, tax holidays, grants, and subsidies that could ultimately save you capital as you start and grow your company. Entrepreneurs like Alyssa Furtado of Rate Hub have successfully used this strategy to raise over $1 million in government grants to support their businesses.

10. Try Crowdfunding

You want to raise $100,000. You either get 1 wealthy investor to write you the  $100,000 cheque or you get 100 people to write you $1,000 cheque. The concept of crowdfunding is built on the principle of democratizing the process of raising capital. Tomato Jos in  Kaduna was one of the early Africa-based businesses that successfully raised $55,000 on Kickstarter. By early 2021, the start-up, which works with local farmers in Nigeria to grow high-quality tomatoes that are processed into tomato paste, had commissioned a $5 million

processing facility in the country.

Crowdfunding Sites For Nigerian

– Kickstarter

– gofundme

– NaijaFund

– Microventures

– Indiegogo

– Fund an enterprise

– Quickraiz

– Circleup

11. Get a loan from your bank: Example include:

Guarantee Funds Option.

After the session, it was then a call to action to work and implement these various ways. LBS has resources, capability, and knowledge. Kudos to LBS for this amazing breakdown.

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