Closed: Call for Solutions – Nigeria

CFYE aims to co-invest in innovative, private sector-led partnerships that aim to address the youth unemployment challenge by creating, matching, and improving jobs for youth.  Please direct any queries to

For more information on our first Call for Solutions in Nigeria, please visit our Nigeria Portfolio page. 

Deadline – 4 September (EOD, local time) 2023

The Challenge

Nigeria is the seventh most populous country in the world, with over 200 million people. Approximately 60% of this population are young, energetic men and women of working age, most of whom reside in rural areas and have lower levels of education. As of 2020, youth unemployment stood at 35%. Additionally,  28% of young people in the labour force are underemployed, working between 20 and 39 hours per week. Consequently, a significant proportion of the population, comprising the largest segment,  is locked out of the productive economy because of the lack of employment opportunities. Women are disproportionally affected, with research indicating a more than 5% unemployment gap between men and women. This imbalance leads to the exclusion of women from opportunities that could empower them to become self-reliant and contribute to economic development. Urgent action is needed to stimulate economic growth, create employment opportunities for young people (particularly in rural areas and for women), and improve the decency of existing jobs.

Call for Solutions

CFYE’s second Call for Solutions in Nigeria will focus on expanding on the ongoing efforts of existing partners in the country by supporting scalable private sector-led initiatives that can create employment opportunities for youth, particularly those in rural areas with limited education and women. In particular, we are seeking:

  • Business models that have been piloted, demonstrated proven concepts, and are looking to scale.
  • Innovative models that aim to address systemic bottlenecks and bring about improvements to entire ecosystems.

Key Dates:

  1. Opening: The Nigeria Call for Solutions launched on 29 July 2023.
  2. Webinar: A webinar Q&A session will be held on 17 August 2023, 10:00-12:00 (WAT). It will provide information on CFYE’s selection priorities in Nigeria, key evaluation criteria, and further details on the submission process.
  3. Deadline: The Concept Notes submission deadline is 4 September 2023.

CFYE is calling for scalable private-sector-led solutions that create, improve, or match decent work for youth in Nigeria, particularly those in rural areas with lower levels of education and women.

In particular, we are seeking:

  • Business models that have been piloted, have proven concepts, and are looking to scale.
  • Innovative models that aim to address systemic bottlenecks and bring about improvement to whole ecosystems.

In Round 3, we will focus on green & digital jobs in partnership with the Dutch Consulate.


Green Jobs

Two of the most significant challenges faced by the African continent are the damaging impacts of climate change and the need to create enough jobs for a growing population. Both challenges can be addressed concurrently by transitioning to a green economy, where both adaptation and mitigation efforts are crucial. This funding window is designed to support and accelerate the growth of sustainable employment opportunities while tackling pressing environmental challenges. The fund aims to incentivize the creation of green jobs, fostering a transition towards a cleaner and more sustainable economy.

Digitally-Enabled Jobs

The Nigerian economy is undergoing a transformation from its traditional agriculture centred model to one that is more driven by technology-based production and service provision. This shift is primarily driven by the increasing pressure faced by Nigerian businesses to reduce operational costs, increase productivity, and improve customer experiences. Many activities that workers carry out today have the potential to be automated, and several businesses are adopting technology to achieve this. The demand for employees with suitable technology-based skills, reported in 2020, has continued to rise and, with it, has the potential to impact several jobs in various sectors. In addition, digitally enabled jobs strongly align with the aspirations of the youth, as they are attracted to innovative and/or digital ways of working and either already have significant digital skills or have the ability and aspiration to learn them easily.

Eligibility Criteria

The following eligibility criteria will apply: 

1. Principles: Should be able to adhere to CFYE’s guiding principles & priorities.  

2. Exclusion Criteria: The project and organizations involved in delivering the project must pass the FMO exclusion criteria.  

3. Private-Sector Driven: We are seeking applications from private-sector employers. NGOs and business associations are welcome to apply, provided they partner with at least one private-sector employer who will create, match, and/or improve jobs for youth. We especially welcome applications from consortia.

4. Local Presence: The lead organisation or at least one consortium partner must have a local operating presence in the country.

5. Sector Focus: Projects should have a focus on Green and Digital Technology. Priority will be given to green jobs, agri-business, and renewable energy. Organisations from other sectors are also eligible to apply.

6. Total Targets: The proposed project must create, match, or improve at least 500 jobs for young men and women.

7. Gender Targets: Of the total youth employment created, matched, or improved, at least 50% of jobs should be for women.

8. Employment Type: Jobs must be decent. Full-time, permanent jobs are preferred, although part-time jobs will also be considered.

9. Leverage & CFYE Contribution: The applicant’s co-investment must be at least equal to the contribution requested by CFYE. The minimum CFYE co-investment is €150,000. Sources of co-funding must be approved based on the provided guidance.

10. Youth: The jobs created, matched, or improved should be for youth aged 18-35.

11. Project Duration: The maximum duration of the project is two years.

12. Employment Conditions: Jobs resulting from the projects should be decent. For any job, the working week should be at least 20 hours and at most 40 hours, with occasional overtime. Safe physical working conditions should be ensured. Following government guidelines, the gross income for one full-time equivalent (FTE) should be at least NGN 30,000.


  • Private Sector Led: Only projects/solutions presented by registered private sector firms are eligible. We actively welcome partnerships or consortium responses. Local operating presence in the country is required.
  • Business Maturity Stage: The lead applicant needs to be in their scaleup or growth stage with at least 2 years of business operations and is already profitable. Activities presented in projects/solutions need to be tested concepts.
  • Leverage/financial capability: The minimum total project value should be €300,000. The minimum contribution from CFYE to any project should be a minimum of €150,000 and is typically between 10% to a maximum of 50% of the total project value. Any project should be matched by a co-investment from the applicant that is at least equal to the grant requested from CFYE. In-kind contributions are allowed but should not exceed 30% of the leveraged resources.
  • Additionality: Ensure funding is channelled to bring further investments in youth employment which would not otherwise occur (at all, in the same way, or to the same scale, quality or speed.


  • Minimum number of youth focused jobs: Jobs created or matched must at least be 500 decent jobs (age range 18-35 years) within the maximum project timeframe of 24 months.
  • Women Priority: 50% of the jobs should be for women.
  • Employment Type: Either employed, dependent self-employed or self-employed. The project must meet the minimum eligibility criteria for job targets through a combination of CFYE categories: create, match, or improve. There should be a clear Pathway to Employment in the project approach. Employment creation, matching or improvement (of jobs) must be a direct outcome of the project. CFYE will not support training only projects.
  • Clear pathway to decent jobs: Minimum employment age is 18 years old Average gross monthly income no less than NGN 30,000 with a maximum of 40 hours/week. Proof of employment for a minimum of 6 months. Project credibility based on past experience in job creation.
  • Clarity of job outcome: Measurable job definitions (contract, duration, income, working hours).

Want to apply?

Download the application brochure below. You can find the link to our application portal in Concept Note Template and Guidance.

Relevant Documentation

Want to know what to expect in our application process? Please have a look at the below documents.

Competitive Process

The Challenge Fund for Youth Employment will apply a competitive process to select the projects that will receive a grant. That means that only those projects that present a clear and convincing pathway to employment, lead to significant and sustainable results in terms of decent employment for youth, with a focus on young women, and can demonstrate high value for money will be selected.

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