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Insight & Analysis - January 21, 2022

Top 5 African Investors funding businesses in Africa

African businesses experienced an increase in investors in 2021 compared to 2020.

Lack of finance is one of the major challenges African entrepreneurs face, with a limited pool of investors compared to the western world. This can be attributed to the unconducive business environment that is prevalent across the continent.

According to a report, startups in Africa received an estimated $4 billion from investors in 2021 compared to the 1.3 billion in 2020. This indicates an increase in the number of investors in the African countries. Through this opportunity, African entrepreneurs can actualise their business ideas and contribute to the continent’s economy.

Although this funding is free, some of the processes to access them are tedious such as incomplete registration, highly competitive, the inability to furnish required paperwork among others.

Hence, here are the top African investors funding businesses in Africa.

Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program (TEEP)

The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program was founded by Mr Tony Elumelu, a prominent Nigerian entrepreneur and philanthropist. The program is sponsored through the $100 million funds from Tony Elumelu Foundation.

Annually, 10,000 entrepreneurs from around Africa are selected for training, mentorship, and investment. Each participant in the program receives a $5,000 startup investment in their firm.

The selected entrepreneurs are expected to use the grant to create one million employment opportunities in their countries and generate $10 billion in income for the African economy in ten years.

The TEEP fund targets all the citizens (consider if you mean indigene) of 54 African nations, legal residents, and any for-profit firm established in Africa that has been in operation for less than three years, including new businesses.

The foundation has funded 15,847 businesses, invested over $80 million as seed capital to assist businesses’ kick-off and grow, and created over 409,000 employment across Africa.

The registration for the program is currently ongoing. You can learn more from the website

Helios Investment Partners

Babatunde Soyoye and Tope Lawaniis founded Helios Investment Partners in 2004 as private equity and venture capital business focused on Africa, particularly Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya.

The company, which manages a $3 billion fund, routinely invests between $15 million and $200 million in a single business deal.

It focuses on telecommunications, media, financial services, power, utilities, travel, leisure, distribution, fast-moving consumer goods, logistics, and agriculture-related industries.

In 2010, Helios made a $92 million investment in Interswitch, a Nigerian payment services provider. Also, in 2016, the investment company made a $10 million investment in OffGrid Electric, a solar energy startup based in Tanzania that is expanding across East Africa.

Many companies such as MallforAfrica, Bayport, Equity Bank, GB Foods, among others are among its investment in Africa.

Tshikululu Social Investments

Tshikululu Social Investments offers a variety of social investment and business incentives to African entrepreneurs. The founder is a corporate social investment (CSI) manager in South Africa who distributes SME grants to businesses on the continent.

The investment has managed CSI funds for various organisations throughout the years, including Rand Merchant Bank Fund, De Beers Fund, and others.

Sawari Ventures

This is a Cairo-based investment management business with a passion for encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship. It is situated in Cairo, Egypt, and provides international investments to businesses in the Middle East and North Africa.

In 2001, Onsi Sawiris, the father of Egypt’s Sawiris family business dynasty, established the Sawiris Foundation For Social Development. This non-profit organisation offers microcredit to Egyptian businesses and awards scholarships to excellent Egyptian students in higher education.

Nassef Sawiris, the fifth richest man in Africa and his brother are part of the foundation’s board members. 

The Sawaris foundation has invested 1.3 billion EGP in 150 projects. The foundation has 41,558 beneficiaries and 27 divisions.

African Entrepreneurship Award

Another financing grant available to African entrepreneurs whose businesses have a social impact on the environment is the African Entrepreneurship Awards. BMCE Bank of Africa provides grants to businesses with the goal of providing a mentoring platform.

Individuals from African countries under innovation & sports entrepreneurship categories are eligible for the business award. This business award grants $1 million to the chosen African entrepreneurs.


READ ALSO: Meet the 19 African Startups that Received Support from DFS Labs in 2021

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