WIDU.africa closes Corona Business Grant

After three successful years WIDU closes the Corona Business Grant, due to changing circumstances for African entrepreneurs

Three years of Corona Business Grant : EUR 1.1 million disbursed to African entrepreneurs and 1,000 jobs sustained and created since 2020. Now, WIDU.africa has decided to close application for the Corona Business Grant, since entrepreneurs face other challenges than back in 2020 when it was first launched. Project proposals that have already been approved are not affected. Project proposals that have been submitted are being reviewed and may still get accepted.

A Togolese entrepreneur who produces soap and his employee emptying a tub full of soap
A Togolese entrepreneur who produces soap and his employee emptying a tub full of soap to further process their product. © WIDU Togo


20/01/2023 - Over 500 small African businesses have been supported and 1,000 jobs sustained or created: Thanks to the African diaspora in Europe and with the help of its Corona Business Grant funding instrument, WIDU.africa was able to support African entrepreneurs thrive during the Corona Pandemic. The idea behind this financial instrument was to take advantage of innovative business ideas to mitigate the impact of Corona.

In spring 2020 - within only six weeks, the WIDU team developed, tested and launched the Corona Business Grant. The idea behind it: to react quickly and support entrepreneurs to reorient their business to better respond to pandemic demands. Since the diaspora was also expected to have less money available due to the pandemic, the Corona Business Grant was developed in a way that no financial contribution of diaspora donors was required.

Achieved results of WIDU Corona Business Grant

During three years of the Corona Business Grant, WIDU was able to pay out grants amounting to EUR 1.1 millionto entrepreneurs. In addition, results of a recent data analysis prove that on average more jobs could be obtained with the help of the Corona Business Grant than compared to the Original WIDU Grant. In addition, 62 % of jobs created and sustained were for women.

"We are sending the Corona Business Grant into hibernation, so to speak",
Wolfram Zunzer, WIDU.africa Programme Manager

At a time when quick reactions were required because many entrepreneurs were facing financial uncertainty due to the pandemic, WIDU was able to establish the Corona Business Grant as an effective crisis response instrument and provide targeted support to entrepreneurs. While influence of the pandemic on the economy in the WIDU partner countries luckily fades, in 2023, however, African small businesses face new and different challenges than in 2020. "We therefore want to focus on our other funding instruments in the future: the Original WIDU Grant as well as conception of new Local Calls," explains project manager Wolfram Zunzer: "Should, however, a situation arise in which this instrument can be helpful, we can activate it at any time and support entrepreneurs in this way again. We are sending the Corona Business Grant into hibernation, so to speak.”

Application ends for new Corona Business Grant projects

Due to this decision, no new applications for the Corona Business Grant will be accepted from now on. Companies that were already accepted and are still in the process of implementation are not affected by this. Project proposals that have already been submitted may still get accepted: The WIDU team is continuing to review applications that have been sent.

Innovative business ideas against Covid-19 

While WIDU initially used the Corona Business Grant to support businesses from three economic sectors that were key to preventing transmission of the viral disease (transport, health and food), the project later changed its funding approach and began supporting businesses from all sectors, provided they presented particularly innovative ideas to mitigate the impact of the Corona pandemic on their local communities.

These two entrepreneurs successfully participated in the Corona Business funding programme: 

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