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African Small Business Catalyst

Loans, grants, or technical assistance for your small business

The African Small Business Catalyst (ASBC) provides loans in amounts ranging from $100,000 to $1 million complemented by both technical assistance and grants up to $100,000. The grants, mentoring, training, and technical assistance will help companies develop their business models, build up management skills, expand market reach, and deepen their impact among underserved populations. The current application window is closed. Please check back periodically to see when the next application window is open.

Learn more
Tool Snapshot
  • Partner agency: USADF, DFC

  • Provides: Financing, technical assistance

  • Eligibility: For the first application window that closed in April 2022, businesses in Côte d'Ivoire, Senegal, Uganda, or Nigeria working in agriculture & food security, education, healthcare, or water, sanitation, hygiene

Frequently Asked Questions

What qualifies as a “social impact mission”?

Does your business seek to offer solutions to important developmental challenges in your country/region, such as access to clean water, food, healthcare, and education? Do you seek to grow your business and increase local job opportunities? Do you intend to increase the level of female staff, especially in management?

If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, then your business has a social impact mission.

Are you looking for SMEs with a technology focus?

ASBC likes tech-enabled business models, but the program’s focus is not on digital/IT or fintech sectors and ASBC does not require that applicants have a technology-based business.

We have been in business for several years. Can we still qualify as “early stage”?

If you have a great idea, a strong team, and strong potential impact, but have been struggling for some time to reach the next level, you may still be a good candidate for ASBC.

What makes a strong application?

  • Strong and motivated team
  • Compelling impact story, measurable impact
  • Clear understanding of market and market potential
  • Business model that is beyond proof-of-concept and enjoying growing uptake in the market
  • Strong founding shareholders and like-minded partners