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

Starting a business in Nigeria can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it can also be daunting. With the right planning and financing, your business can succeed and grow. Securing the right kind of business loan is critical for entrepreneurs and startups to access the capital they need to finance their operations. In this blog post, we will explore the top reliable business loan providers in Nigeria and guide how to find the right funding option for your business.

Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF)

The Tony Elumelu Foundation is a Nigerian-based organization that offers various entrepreneurial programs, including business loans. TEF’s goal is to empower entrepreneurs and startups in Africa, providing them with the resources and support needed to grow and succeed in the business world.

One of the programs offered by TEF is the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP). This program provides business training, mentoring, and funding of up to $5,000 for startups in Africa. The TEEP program has funded over 9,000 startups since its inception in 2015, and many of these startups have gone on to become successful businesses in their respective industries.

TEF also offers the TEFConnect platform, which is an online community for entrepreneurs to connect, learn, and grow their businesses. The platform provides access to various business resources, including funding opportunities, business tools, and mentorship.

Overall, TEF is a reliable business loan provider in Nigeria, with a focus on empowering African entrepreneurs and startups. If you’re looking for funding options for your business, the TEF programs and resources are worth considering.

LAPO Microfinance Bank

LAPO Microfinance Bank is a reliable and trusted provider of business loans in Nigeria. Established in 1987, the bank has a long-standing reputation for providing microfinance services to low-income households and small business owners.

One of the key features that make LAPO Microfinance Bank stand out from other loan providers in Nigeria is its commitment to social responsibility. The bank provides financial services to vulnerable and marginalized individuals and communities, including women and youths.

LAPO Microfinance Bank offers a range of loan products to suit different business needs, including working capital loans, asset finance loans, and agricultural loans. The bank’s loans come with flexible repayment terms, competitive interest rates, and minimal collateral requirements, making it easier for small business owners to access the financing they need to grow and expand their businesses.

In addition to their loan products, LAPO Microfinance Bank also provides business advisory services, mentorship, and training to help entrepreneurs and startups succeed. The bank’s experienced staff are knowledgeable in various industries and are always available to offer expert advice and guidance to their clients.

Overall, LAPO Microfinance Bank is a reliable and socially responsible lender that offers flexible financing options for Nigerian entrepreneurs and startups. If you’re looking for a loan provider that prioritizes social responsibility and is committed to helping small businesses grow and succeed, LAPO Microfinance Bank is an excellent choice.

Bank of Industry (BOI)

The Bank of Industry (BOI) is a Nigerian financial institution that was established in 2001 to provide funding and financial support for Nigerian businesses. As one of the leading development finance institutions in the country, the BOI provides financing for various sectors of the economy, including manufacturing, agriculture, solid minerals, services, and infrastructure.

One of the key features of the BOI is its mandate to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria. This makes it an ideal funding option for startups and entrepreneurs who may not have access to traditional banking services. 

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The BOI offers several loan products designed specifically for SMEs, including the SME Cluster Financing Program, which provides funding for clusters of SMEs in various sectors.

To qualify for a BOI loan, applicants must meet certain criteria, including having a viable business plan, a sound management structure, and a track record of successful business operations. 

The loan application process typically involves submitting a detailed business plan and financial projections, as well as providing collateral and meeting other requirements.

One of the advantages of obtaining a loan from the BOI is that the interest rates are relatively low compared to other commercial banks in Nigeria. 

Additionally, the BOI offers technical support and advisory services to help SMEs improve their operations and become more competitive.

Overall, the Bank of Industry is a reliable and trusted source of financing for Nigerian entrepreneurs and startups. With its focus on supporting SMEs and providing low-interest loans, the BOI is a great option for those looking to start or expand their businesses in Nigeria.

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Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN)

Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) is one of the top reliable business loan providers in Nigeria. It was established in 2017 to provide financing solutions to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria. The bank is a public-private partnership between the Federal Government of Nigeria, the KfW Development Bank, and the African Development Bank.

DBN offers a wide range of financing options to MSMEs, including term loans, working capital loans, and trade financing. The bank provides loans of up to N10 million to micro-enterprises and up to N1 billion to small and medium enterprises.

One of the advantages of getting a business loan from DBN is the flexible repayment terms. The bank offers up to 10 years repayment period for term loans and up to 18 months for working capital loans. DBN also provides collateral-free loans for MSMEs that meet certain criteria.

To access a loan from DBN, MSMEs must be registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), have a business plan, and provide evidence of tax payments. 

They must also demonstrate the capacity to repay the loan and have a good credit history.

DBN also provides capacity-building and business advisory services to MSMEs to help them improve their business operations and become more profitable.

Also, DBN is a top reliable business loan provider in Nigeria that offers financing solutions to MSMEs. The bank provides flexible repayment terms, collateral-free loans, and capacity-building services to help MSMEs grow their businesses. To access a loan from DBN, MSMEs must meet certain criteria and demonstrate the capacity to repay the loan.

Criteria for Choosing a Business Loan Provider in Nigeria

When looking for a business loan provider in Nigeria, there are several key criteria that entrepreneurs and startups should consider. Here are some of the most important factors to keep in mind:

  1. Interest rates: The interest rate on your loan can have a significant impact on your ability to repay it, so be sure to shop around for a provider that offers a reasonable rate.
  2. Loan amount and terms: Different providers may have different minimum and maximum loan amounts, as well as different repayment terms. Consider your needs carefully and choose a provider that can meet them.
  3. Reputation and reliability: It’s important to work with a provider that has a solid reputation for reliability and fairness. Do your research and read reviews to ensure that the provider you choose is trustworthy.
  4. Application process and approval time: The loan application process can vary widely from provider to provider, and some may take longer to approve your loan than others. Consider your timeline and choose a provider that can accommodate it.
  5. Customer support: Finally, make sure to choose a provider that offers strong customer support, so that you can get help and advice if you need it throughout the life of your loan.
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By keeping these criteria in mind, you can find a business loan provider in Nigeria that is right for your needs and can help you achieve your entrepreneurial goals.

Tips for Securing a Business Loan in Nigeria

Securing a business loan in Nigeria can be a daunting task, but with proper planning and preparation, it is possible to obtain funding for your business. Here are some tips to help you secure a business loan in Nigeria:

  1. Research the Loan Options: Do your research and find out which loan options are available to you. You can compare the interest rates, repayment terms, and other loan features to choose the right one for your business needs.
  2. Prepare a Comprehensive Business Plan: A comprehensive business plan that clearly outlines your business objectives, financial projections, and strategies is crucial for securing a business loan. The lender needs to understand how you plan to use the loan to grow your business.
  3. Build a Good Credit Score: A good credit score is a critical factor in obtaining a business loan. You can improve your credit score by paying your bills on time, reducing your debt, and managing your finances responsibly.
  4. Provide Collateral: Some lenders require collateral to secure the loan, such as property, equipment, or inventory. Be prepared to provide collateral if necessary.
  5. Build Relationships with Lenders: Building a good relationship with potential lenders is essential for securing a business loan. Attend networking events and connect with lenders on social media platforms. You can also reach out to mentors, advisors, and industry experts for recommendations.
  6. Be Honest and Transparent: Be honest and transparent with the lender about your business and financial situation. Lenders appreciate transparency, and it can help you build trust with them.


Which bank is best for startup business loans? 

Some Nigerian banks known for their support of startup businesses include Access Bank, GTBank, and Zenith Bank. These banks offer specialized loan products, competitive interest rates, and tailored solutions for startups. It is advisable to research and compare the loan terms, eligibility criteria, and support services offered by different banks to determine the best fit for your startup.

Where can I get funding for my business in Nigeria? 

There are several options for obtaining funding for your business in Nigeria. These include:

  • Bank Loans: Nigerian commercial banks provide various loan products for businesses, including startups. Some prominent banks with business loan offerings include First Bank of Nigeria, United Bank for Africa (UBA), and Diamond Bank (now part of Access Bank).
  • Government Grants and Loans: The Nigerian government, through agencies like the Bank of Industry (BOI) and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), offers grants and loans to support business development and growth. Check their websites for available programs.
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Which bank is best for MSME loans in Nigeria? 

Several banks in Nigeria have tailored loan products specifically for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Some notable banks known for providing MSME loans include Access Bank, First Bank of Nigeria, and Stanbic IBTC Bank. 

These banks offer specific loan programs, support services, and competitive interest rates to cater to the unique needs of MSMEs. It is advisable to review the terms and conditions, eligibility criteria, and customer support services of each bank to determine which one best suits your MSME loan requirements.

Which is the most available funding source for new businesses? 

The most available funding source for new businesses can vary depending on various factors, including the nature of the business, its industry, and the entrepreneur’s profile. In Nigeria, common funding sources for new businesses include:

  • Personal Savings: Many entrepreneurs start their businesses by utilizing their savings or assets.
  • Family and Friends: Seeking financial support from family members and close friends is a common way to fund new businesses.
  • Bank Loans: Commercial banks offer business loans, including startup loans, to entrepreneurs based on their business plans, creditworthiness, and collateral.
  • Government Programs: The Nigerian government provides grants, loans, and other support programs for new businesses through agencies like the Bank of Industry (BOI), the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN), and state-specific programs.
  • Angel Investors and Venture Capital: Angel investors and venture capital firms provide funding to high-potential startups in exchange for equity.
  • Crowdfunding: Online platforms allow entrepreneurs to raise funds from the public through crowdfunding campaigns.

The most suitable funding source for a new business depends on its unique circumstances and requirements. Entrepreneurs are encouraged to explore multiple options and assess the pros and cons of each funding source to make an informed decision.

How do I get startup funding for my business? 

To secure startup funding for your business, consider the following steps:

  • Develop a comprehensive business plan: Outline your business idea, target market, competitive advantage, financial projections, and growth strategy. A well-prepared business plan helps convince potential investors or lenders.
  • Determine the funding amount: Assess your financial needs by considering startup costs, working capital, equipment, marketing, and other essential expenses.
  • Research funding options: Explore available funding sources such as bank loans, government grants and programs, venture capital, angel investors, and crowdfunding platforms. Research their eligibility criteria, application processes, and terms and conditions.


In conclusion, securing a business loan in Nigeria can be a daunting task, but with the right information, it can be achieved. The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), LAPO Microfinance Bank, Bank of Industry (BOI), and Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) are some of the reliable business loan providers in Nigeria that entrepreneurs and startups can turn to. 

When choosing a business loan provider in Nigeria, it is important to consider factors such as interest rates, repayment terms, and eligibility criteria. In addition, understanding the pros and cons of different types of business loans and following tips for securing a business loan can help increase your chances of getting approved. 

Finally, case studies of successful Nigerian startups that obtained business loans serve as inspiration for other entrepreneurs and startups to pursue their funding options. With determination and perseverance, entrepreneurs and startups in Nigeria can secure the necessary funding to grow their businesses and contribute to the growth of the Nigerian economy.

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