Top Reliable Business Loan Providers in Nigeria: Funding Options for Entrepreneurs and Startups in Nigeria

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Starting a business can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t have access to the right funding. That’s why it’s important to find reliable business loan providers in Nigeria who can provide the capital you need to get your venture off the ground. 

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the top reliable business loan providers in Nigeria and explore the different funding options available for entrepreneurs and startups in Nigeria. We’ll also offer some tips on how to navigate the loan application process and secure the best deal for your business. So read on to learn more about the best business loan providers in Nigeria.

Bank of Industry (BOI)

The Bank of Industry (BOI) is a Nigerian government-owned financial institution that provides financial services and support to businesses across various sectors of the economy. As an organization, BOI offers business loans, equity financing, project financing, and various business development services to help startups and existing businesses grow.

One of the key features of BOI’s loan offerings is that they are targeted towards specific sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare, education, and creative industries, among others. Additionally, the interest rates for BOI loans are relatively low compared to other loan providers, and the repayment period is usually flexible to accommodate the needs of the borrower.

BOI’s business loan requirements typically include a detailed business plan, a valid means of identification, a statement of assets and liabilities, and other relevant documents that prove the financial capability and viability of the borrower’s business.

Overall, the Bank of Industry is a great option for Nigerian entrepreneurs and startups looking for a reliable business loan provider with tailored support services. Their focus on specific sectors, relatively low interest rates, and flexible repayment terms make BOI a top choice for many businesses seeking financial support.

Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN)

The Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) is a national development finance institution established in 2017. The bank was created to provide financing to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that are deemed to be viable but are currently considered high risk and have difficulty accessing credit from conventional banks. 

The bank is funded by the Federal Government, World Bank, KfW, and the African Development Bank.

DBN provides loans to MSMEs through participating financial institutions (PFIs) such as commercial banks, microfinance banks, and development finance institutions. 

These PFIs act as intermediaries and channel the funds to MSMEs that meet DBN’s eligibility criteria.

DBN offers loans ranging from ₦5 million to ₦10 million to MSMEs in sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and service delivery. The loan repayment period is up to 10 years with a moratorium period of up to 18 months, depending on the sector and the project.

One unique feature of DBN loans is that they come with a risk-sharing facility that reduces the risk to PFIs and makes them more willing to lend to MSMEs. This facility allows DBN to provide a partial risk guarantee to PFIs to cover their potential losses in case the MSMEs default on their loans.

To access DBN loans, MSMEs need to have a business plan, a valid registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and a clear collateral structure. The MSMEs must also be referred by one of the participating PFIs.

DBN loans are a good option for MSMEs that are currently underserved by conventional banks due to perceived risk factors. The bank provides access to financing with reduced risk for the participating PFIs and longer repayment periods, which reduces the burden of repayments on MSMEs.

Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF)

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) is one of the most reliable business loan providers in Nigeria. The foundation is committed to empowering entrepreneurs and startups across Africa, and has been doing so since 2015. The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme is a flagship initiative of the foundation that provides funding, training, and mentorship to selected entrepreneurs from all over Africa.

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To apply for funding from the Tony Elumelu Foundation, entrepreneurs must go through a rigorous selection process, which includes a business plan competition, followed by a rigorous training and mentorship program. The foundation also provides ongoing support to its entrepreneurs through access to market linkages, networking opportunities, and investor engagement.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation has invested over $100 million in African startups and entrepreneurs, and has created over 10,000 jobs across the continent. Its funding is targeted at startups in sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, energy, and technology, among others.

TEF’s Entrepreneurship Programme is open to entrepreneurs from all African countries, and the foundation aims to empower 10,000 entrepreneurs by 2024. If you are a startup or entrepreneur looking for funding and support in Nigeria, the Tony Elumelu Foundation is a great place to start.

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GroFin is a private development finance institution that provides funding solutions and support services to small and growing businesses across Africa and the Middle East. Established in 2004, GroFin has been instrumental in helping entrepreneurs and startups access finance and business support services to grow their businesses.

GroFin offers various financing options, including debt, equity, and mezzanine funding, to businesses across a range of sectors, such as manufacturing, healthcare, education, and agriculture. Their investment focus is on businesses with annual turnovers between $150,000 and $50 million, which have the potential to create significant social and economic impact in their communities.

Apart from funding, GroFin also provides business development support services, such as market research, financial management, and governance advisory services, to help businesses overcome common challenges and build sustainable growth strategies.

With over 17 years of experience in providing financial solutions to SMEs, GroFin has a track record of delivering successful outcomes for its clients. In Nigeria, they have financed and supported over 70 businesses, creating over 4,500 jobs in the process.

Overall, GroFin is a reliable business loan provider that offers more than just financing. Their tailored business support services are essential in helping startups and SMEs navigate the complexities of running a business and achieve their growth potential.

NIRSAL Microfinance Bank

Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) Microfinance Bank was established in 2019 and has since become one of the leading business loan providers in Nigeria. This microfinance bank is known for its commitment to providing affordable and accessible loans to entrepreneurs and small businesses.

NIRSAL Microfinance Bank offers a wide range of loan products, including agriculture loans, MSME loans, asset finance loans, and salary advance loans. They provide loans ranging from N100,000 to N50 million, with a repayment period of up to 48 months. The bank also provides training and advisory services to help entrepreneurs and small businesses develop their businesses.

One of the unique features of NIRSAL Microfinance Bank is its collaboration with NIRSAL Plc, a government-sponsored organization that provides risk management services to agricultural businesses. This partnership ensures that farmers and other agricultural businesses have access to affordable loans and risk management services.

To access a loan from NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, entrepreneurs and small businesses must meet the bank’s eligibility criteria. The eligibility criteria include having a business account with the bank, a viable business plan, and collateral. The bank also considers the applicant’s creditworthiness and capacity to repay the loan.

Overall, NIRSAL Microfinance Bank is an excellent option for entrepreneurs and small businesses in need of funding. The bank’s commitment to providing affordable loans, its collaboration with NIRSAL Plc, and its range of loan products make it a reliable business loan provider in Nigeria.

LAPO Microfinance Bank

LAPO Microfinance Bank is a reliable financial institution in Nigeria that provides funding solutions to entrepreneurs and small businesses. Established in 2010, LAPO Microfinance Bank has a mission to provide sustainable access to finance, enhance the quality of life and empower low-income earners in Nigeria.

With a network of over 300 branches across the country, LAPO Microfinance Bank offers loans to individuals, groups, and businesses in need of funding. The loan products available include small business loans, group loans, agriculture loans, education loans, and salary-based loans.

LAPO Microfinance Bank is renowned for its customer-centric approach to lending, which makes the application process seamless and straightforward. They also offer flexible repayment plans that can be tailored to meet the needs of the borrower.

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In addition to its loan products, LAPO Microfinance Bank provides training and mentorship programs to equip entrepreneurs with the necessary skills to succeed in their businesses. The training covers topics such as business management, financial literacy, and marketing.

LAPO Microfinance Bank is a trusted and reliable source of funding for small businesses in Nigeria. Their commitment to customer satisfaction, flexibility in loan repayment, and training programs make them a preferred option for entrepreneurs and startups in need of funding.

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Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) is a government agency that provides financial assistance to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria. SMEDAN offers loan products specifically tailored to the needs of small businesses and entrepreneurs. 

One of their loan products, the Conditional Grant Scheme for Micro Enterprises, offers a grant of up to N50,000 and a loan of up to N900,000 to micro-enterprises. The loan is repayable over a period of three years, with an interest rate of 9% per annum. To qualify for this loan, your business must be registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and have a valid Tax Identification Number (TIN). 

Another loan product offered by SMEDAN is the National Enterprise Development Program (NEDEP) Loan. This loan is targeted at SMEs and can be used for business expansion, working capital, and the acquisition of new equipment. The loan amount ranges from N1,000,000 to N10,000,000 with an interest rate of 9% per annum and a tenor of five years. 

SMEDAN also offers business development services such as business plan development, market research, and entrepreneurial training. This is aimed at helping small business owners and entrepreneurs build the capacity to effectively manage their businesses and increase their chances of success.


Here are straight answers to the frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to startup business loans and funding options in Nigeria:

Which bank is best for startup business loans? 

Some of the banks known for providing startup business loans in Nigeria are:

  • Bank of Industry (BOI)
  • Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN)
  • Access Bank
  • First Bank of Nigeria
  • Stanbic IBTC Bank

How can I get funding for my startup in Nigeria? 

There are several avenues to secure funding for your startup in Nigeria, including:

  • Applying for business loans from banks and financial institutions
  • Seeking investment from angel investors or venture capitalists
  • Participating in startup incubators and accelerators
  • Crowdfunding through online platforms
  • Applying for grants and entrepreneurship programs

Which bank is best for MSME loan in Nigeria? 

Some banks in Nigeria that offer favorable MSME loans are:

  • Bank of Industry (BOI)
  • Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN)
  • Access Bank
  • First Bank of Nigeria
  • Stanbic IBTC Bank
  • Zenith Bank

What kind of loan is used to help an entrepreneur? 

Entrepreneurs can benefit from various types of loans depending on their specific needs, such as:

  • Startup loans for new businesses
  • Working capital loans to manage day-to-day operations
  • Equipment loans for purchasing machinery or equipment
  • Expansion loans for scaling up the business
  • Bridging loans for short-term funding gaps

What are the easiest loans to get approved for? 

The ease of loan approval can vary depending on the lender’s requirements and the borrower’s financial situation. However, some types of loans that are generally considered relatively easier to obtain include:

  • Personal loans
  • Payday loans
  • Peer-to-peer (P2P) loans
  • Microfinance loans
  • Secured loans (with collateral)

Remember, each lender has its own criteria and processes,


Starting a business or growing an existing one in Nigeria requires a lot of capital investment. However, with the top reliable business loan providers mentioned in this post, entrepreneurs and startups have access to a variety of funding options.

Whether you choose to go with the Bank of Industry, Development Bank of Nigeria, Tony Elumelu Foundation, GroFin, NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, LAPO Microfinance Bank, or SMEDAN, it is important to ensure that you are eligible for the loan and you have a well-detailed business plan that showcases how you intend to pay back the loan.

Furthermore, commercial banks such as Sterling Bank, Union Bank, and Fidelity Bank have also introduced loan products designed for small and medium scale enterprises. Therefore, it is recommended to compare different loan options and interest rates before making a final decision.

In summary, it is important to note that while obtaining a loan is crucial to business growth, entrepreneurs and startups should be diligent in ensuring that they have a solid business plan, maintain a good credit score, and only borrow what they can pay back to avoid incurring debt and financial instability.

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