Top sectors to consider for grant funding

October 16, 2023
min read

The landscape of grant funding is as dynamic as the world itself. As we navigate through seismic shifts in society and technology, funding organizations are also evolving. They're broadening their horizons to include groundbreaking areas beyond the conventional ones. If you're steering a startup or a non-profit, you have two powerful options: either tailor your project ideas to match these emerging funding avenues or dig deep to meet the ever-growing needs within established sectors. In this article, we're going to spotlight the crucial sectors you should focus on to land that all-important grant funding.

1. Technology and Innovation

Recent data from the World Bank unveils an undeniable trend: digital technology is no longer a luxury but a lifeline. From Africa to Asia, technology is disrupting traditional industries and delivering tangible benefits like job creation and poverty reduction. For example, Nigeria alone drew an eye-popping $1 billion in tech startup funding in 2022. This trend shows that the tech sector is a magnet for grant money. Institutions like OpenAI and the Elon Musk Foundation are enthusiastically investing in initiatives that propel technology to new heights and deliver genuine impact.

2. Youth Entrepreneurship 

Youth unemployment is not just a local or regional concern—it's a global epidemic. Take Africa, where nearly one-third of its colossal youth demographic of 420 million faces the bleak reality of joblessness. But the problem doesn't stop at Africa's borders; it's a worldwide issue. And here's the silver lining: funding organizations are eager to back initiatives that can move the needle in this pressing area. If you're helming a startup, now's your time to shine. Whether your venture already targets this problem or you're brainstorming a new initiative, the funding is out there, waiting for solutions that pack a punch.

3. Climate Change and Environmental Conservation

Climate change and environmental conservation aren't just buzzwords—they're urgent calls to action that the world can't afford to ignore. International summits are held annually, attended by world leaders deeply concerned about our planet's future. Imagine your project making waves in this critical arena; the stakes couldn't be higher. According to a UN report, the repercussions of climate change are "global and unprecedented," and failure to act now will only make future solutions more challenging and expensive. Financial giants like the International Monetary Fund have earmarked more than $35 billion for climate-centric projects in sub-Saharan Africa alone. Programs like the AfDB Africa Climate Change Fund represent monumental grant opportunities in this sector, ready for the taking.

4. Women and Minority Groups Empowerment

The push for gender equality is not just a lofty ideal on the United Nations' agenda; it's a vital cause gaining significant traction among grant funders. From economic barriers to social marginalization, women in Africa—and globally—face a range of challenges. These hurdles have catalyzed a surge in funding avenues specifically designed to uplift women, minorities, and marginalized communities. Several governments, philanthropists and institutions like the Bayer foundation are committing funds to remedy the situation, making this sector a prime opportunity for startups with an impactful vision.

5. Healthcare and Pandemic Response

The saying "Health is wealth" is more than a well-worn phrase—it's a universal truth that cuts across borders and demographics. According to the World Health Organization, Africa bears a disproportionate burden of global health issues, ranging from malaria and tuberculosis to HIV/AIDS. To make matters even graver, the continent is home to half of the world's children under five who succumb to preventable diseases. The recent pandemic has further underscored the dire need for robust healthcare solutions. Recognizing the urgency, funding organizations from the World Health Organization to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation offer substantial grants in this arena. If your startup or initiative aims to make headway in healthcare, now is the time to seize these opportunities and make a meaningful impact.

6. Education and Skill Development

Sub-Saharan Africa is facing an educational crisis of staggering proportions. According to the most recent State of Global Education Update, an alarming 7 out of 10 children in the region can't comprehend a basic text by the age of 10. This generation of students now risks losing $21 trillion in potential lifetime earnings in present value, or the equivalent of 17% of today’s global GDP, up from the $17 trillion estimated in 2021. The urgency to address this issue is palpable, and organizations like UNICEF are actively seeking projects that can offer real solutions. The focus on quality education, which ranks fourth on the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, has led to an influx of funding for educational initiatives. If you have an idea that can make inroads in this sector, the time to act is now.


Navigating the grant funding landscape can be daunting, but success hinges on more than just a groundbreaking idea or a compelling proposal. It's about tactical alignment with the funding categories that resonate most with your project's goals. By selecting the right sector for your grant application, you not only increase your odds of securing funding but also amplify the potential impact of your startup or non-profit. In a world desperate for solutions, making the right choice could put you leagues ahead in making a lasting difference.

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