The Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) Regional Leadership Center, West Africa, is pleased to provide the next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs in
West Africa with seed capital for competitively selected young African entrepreneurs.

YALI RLCs are empowering young people through academic coursework, leadership training, mentoring, and networking. Additionally, selected YALI Alumni in West Africa to have this opportunity to qualify for YALI Alumni Innovation Fund (YAIF) to start-up and expand their ventures.

The goal of the YAIF Fund is to provide essential seed capital and technical assistance to young
African leaders under the age of 40. This support will enable investments in promising enterprises, thereby fostering opportunity and development in Africa. Objectives include selecting and funding young African leaders to launch or expand their revenue-generating ventures; and linking young leaders with business development partners to facilitate mentoring, provide professional advice and technical know-how, and improve business outcomes.

YAIF anticipates competitively awarding entrepreneurship grants of up to  $10,000 each to promising young business or social entrepreneurs in Africa. This set of instructions describes the application requirements. Grant funds may be used to start up or expand ventures, covering costs such as executing market plans, conducting technical studies, testing new products and services, expanding facilities, and/or furthering related business expansion or start-up activities. However, YALI RLC West Africa may elect to award fewer grants, depending on the applications submitted.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicant must be under 40 years old by the date of submission.
  • The applicant must live and work in either Togo, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, The Gambia, Burkina Faso,  Liberia, Cameroon and Sierra Leone
  • Applicant  businesses and social ventures must be 100 per cent African-owned and
    managed, and based on an operating (in one of the countries listed above) where the applicant also lives and works.
  • Applicants must be the founder and/or one of the lead principals in the enterprise that he or she is proposing for grant funding.
  • Each applicant may only submit one proposal.

In addition, YAIF Grant competition will only consider individuals launching or expanding a business or social venture that is operating in good standing with the local and national governments and is adhering to other common international standards. YALI will not award Entrepreneurship Grant funding to:

  • Government entities
  • Companies or organisations where the YALI RLC participant is not a principal or owner;
  • Companies or organisations that are not 100% African-owned and managed;
  • Ventures sponsoring terrorism, and or the production and promotion of alcoholic beverages, gambling facilities, firearms, nor other commodities not making a positive contribution to development.


Interested YALI Alumni are requested to download, peruse and complete the relevant forms online for submission via email to [email protected]  Applications open from Friday, February 15th until Friday, April 5th 2019, 5:00 p.m. GMT.

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