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Top 10 Business Loans for SMEs in Nigeria

Business loans are financial arrangements where a lender provides funds to a business entity, typically in the form of a lump sum, to meet various business-related needs.

These loans are specifically designed to help businesses cover expenses, expand operations, manage cash flow, invest in equipment or inventory, hire employees, or finance other business activities.

Business loans are usually repaid over a predetermined period, typically with interest, and may require collateral or a personal guarantee, depending on the lender’s requirements and the borrower’s creditworthiness.

The terms and conditions of a business loan can vary depending on factors such as the lender, loan amount, repayment period, interest rate, and the purpose of the loan.

Lenders offering business loans can include banks, credit unions, online lenders, or alternative financing institutions.

Why are business loans important?

Business loans are important for several reasons:

Startup and Expansion

Business loans provide the necessary capital for startups to launch their operations or for existing businesses to expand their operations.

Startup founders can use this funding to invest in infrastructure, purchase equipment, lease or buy property, hire employees, and cover other expenses related to business growth.

Working Capital

Businesses often require additional funds to manage their day-to-day operations, especially during periods of slow cash flow or seasonal fluctuations.

A business loan can bridge the gap and provide the working capital needed to pay suppliers, cover payroll, maintain inventory, and meet other immediate financial obligations.

Opportunity and Investment

Sometimes, businesses come across new opportunities or investment prospects that require quick access to funds.

A business loan can help seize these opportunities by providing the necessary capital to pursue strategic initiatives. Additionally, it enables businesses to expand into new markets, develop new products or services, or acquire another business.

Cash Flow Management

Cash flow is crucial for the smooth functioning of any business. However, there can be times when cash inflow is delayed while expenses continue to pile up. In such cases, a business loan can help maintain positive cash flow by providing funds to cover expenses until payments are received from customers or clients.

Building Credit

Taking out a business loan and repaying it responsibly can help establish and build a business’s credit history.

A strong credit profile is essential for securing future financing options and favourable terms from lenders, allowing firms to access larger loan amounts or lower interest rates in the future.

Flexibility and Control

By obtaining a business loan, business owners retain control over their operations and decision-making processes. Unlike other forms of financing, such as venture capital or angel investments, where investors may demand a stake in the company or have a say in strategic decisions, a business loan allows the borrower to maintain autonomy and ownership.

It’s worth noting that while business loans provide financial assistance, they also come with the responsibility of repayment.

Who should take a business loan?

Business loans are suitable for a variety of individuals and entities.

Some examples of who might consider taking a business loan include.

  1. Startups
  2. Small Business Owners
  3. Established Businesses
  4. Seasonal Businesses
  5. Businesses Facing Cash Flow Challenges
  6. Businesses with Expansion Opportunities

Business loans for SMEs in Nigeria

Here are ten business loan options for SMEs in Nigeria:

1. Union Bank Cash-backed Loan

Union Bank Cash-backed Loan grants funding for personal or business needs fully backed by investments.

The loan comes at a monthly interest rate of 15%.

2. Money in Minutes Business Loan

The goal of Money in Minutes’ Business Loan is to make quick and affordable finance accessible to viable small businesses across Africa.

The loan requires collateral in the form of moveable assets such as vehicles.

It is offered at a minimum loan amount of ₦100,000 and a monthly interest rate of 15%.

3. Baobab Crédit SME+

Crédit Sme+, a product of Baobab Microfinance Bank is an easily accessible loan facility that helps you grow and expand your business.

Boabab only grants this loan to businesses within the bank’s lending area; Lagos, Oyo and Ogun States at a 4.6% monthly interest rate.

4. Zitra Confam

A product of Zitra Investment, Zitra Confam gives small businesses quick, easy and flexible access to business loans tailored to their business requirements.

As a borrower, you also get access to experienced financial advisors who can help you make informed investment decisions.

5. Lendigo Business

Lendigo business loans are available to SMEs registered in Nigeria as LLP, PLC or Ltd and are incorporated for at least two years.

The loans serve as easy and fast access to working capital for Nigerian SMEs according to their individual requirements and suited to their business and finance needs.

With a minimum amount of ₦100,000, the loan is offered at a 7% monthly interest rate.

6. Letshego SME Loan

The Letshego SME Loan is for clients in any kind of business whether registered or not such as traders, manufacturers, transporters, or service industry.

Convenient and easy to access, the Letshego SME Loan does not require collateral and is offered at a monthly interest rate of 5%.

7. Bank of Industry (BOI):

The Nigerian Bank of Industry offers various loan programs designed to support SMEs in Nigeria, including the SME Cluster Development Fund, the Cottage Agro Processing Fund, and the Bottom of the Pyramid Fund.

BOI’s Working Capital Loan is designed for micro-entrepreneurs and small business owners who desire to borrow for business purposes to enhance their businesses.


The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) offers loans to SMEs through its Business Loan Program, aimed at promoting and supporting entrepreneurship in Nigeria.

9. LAPO SME Loan

LAPO Microfinance Bank provides microloans and SME loans to support entrepreneurs and small business owners across Nigeria.

The bank’s SME Loan is a credit product designed specifically to support Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (SMEs) operators in Nigeria.

LAPO supports SMEs with a credit facility of up to N5,000,000 to expand their enterprise at a 5% monthly interest rate.

10. NISL Credit SME Loan

The Nigerian International Securities Limited (NISL) SME Loan grants businesses money for various purposes; from replacing important equipment to meeting a short-term payment deadline.

NISL Credit helps businesses secure funding as quickly as 48 hours.

Tips for getting the best business loans in Nigeria

Getting the best business loan requires careful planning, research, and preparation. By presenting a strong business case, maintaining good credit, and exploring various lenders and loan options, you can increase your chances of securing a loan that suits your business’s needs.

To get the best business loans in Nigeria, here are some steps you can follow:

Determine your loan requirements

Before applying for a business loan, assess your financial needs and establish a clear understanding of how much capital you require.

Review your credit profile

Lenders often consider your creditworthiness when evaluating loan applications. Obtain a copy of your credit report and review it for any inaccuracies or areas that need improvement.

Research lenders and loan options

Explore different types of lenders and loan products to find the best fit for your business.

This can include traditional banks, credit unions, online lenders, or government-backed loan programs.

nairaCompare has a wide pool of lenders offering competitive interest rates for you to choose from.

Prepare a comprehensive business plan

A well-structured business plan helps demonstrate your business’s viability and potential to lenders. Include details about your industry, target market, competition, financial projections, and repayment plans.

The business plan should outline how the loan will be utilised and how it will contribute to the growth and profitability of your business.

Gather necessary documentation

Lenders will require certain documentation to assess your loan application. This typically includes financial statements (balance sheets, income statements), tax returns, bank statements, business licenses, and legal documents.

Prepare these documents in advance to expedite the loan application process.

Build a strong relationship with your lender

Establishing a rapport with your lender can be beneficial in securing favourable loan terms. Schedule meetings or consultations to discuss your business’s financial needs and understand the lender’s requirements.

Consider collateral and guarantees

Depending on the loan type and amount, lenders may require collateral or personal guarantees to secure the loan.

Evaluate your assets or explore alternative options like SBA loan programs that offer government guarantees to lenders, which may help you secure better loan terms.

Compare loan offers and negotiate terms

Once you receive loan offers from multiple lenders, carefully review and compare them.

Look beyond the interest rate and consider factors such as repayment terms, fees, prepayment penalties, and flexibility.

Read the fine print

Thoroughly review the loan agreement and terms before signing. Understand the repayment schedule, interest calculations, fees, and any additional clauses.

Seek legal or financial advice if needed to ensure you fully comprehend the terms and conditions of the loan.

Maintain good financial practices

Once you secure a business loan, managing your finances responsibly is important.

Make timely loan repayments, maintain accurate financial records, and communicate with your lender if any issues arise. Building a positive repayment history can improve your chances of accessing future financing at favourable terms.

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