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, especially women.  Please direct any queries to  

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

Deadline – 7 November (EOD, local time) 2022

The Challenge

Nigeria is the 7th most populous country in the world with over 200 million people. Approximately 60% of this number are young, energetic working-age men and women, majority of whom reside in the rural areas and have lower education levels.  As of 2020, youth unemployment stood at 35%. A further 28% of young people in the labour force are underemployed (working 20-39 hours a week). As a result, a large proportion of people in the largest segment of the population are locked out of the productive economy because of the lack of employment opportunities available to them. Women are also negatively impacted, and research also shows that there is an over 5% gap between the rate of unemployment between men and women.  This imbalance along gender lines may mean that more women are excluded from opportunities that make them self-reliant and able to contribute to economic development.  Action is needed to stimulate economic growth and create employment opportunities for young people (especially youth in rural areas and 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 work currently being done by 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 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.

Key Dates: 

  1. Opening: The Nigeria Call for Solutions launched on 30 September 2022.
  2. Webinar: We will host a webinar to formally launch the Call for Solutions in the 2nd week of October 2022. An announcement with registration details will be made available on this page & sent to those who fill in the stay informed form below. The webinar will be recorded, and the recording will be published on this page soon after the webinar.
  3. Deadline: We expect all Concept Notes to be submitted by 7 November 2022.

CFYE is calling for innovative and demand-driven projects from either private sector organizations or private sector-led consortia that will maximize employment opportunities for youth (especially women) under two thematic windows.


Tech-Enabled Jobs

The Nigerian economy’s ongoing shift from its traditional agriculture-centered model to more technology-driven production and service provision models is largely driven by the increasing pressure being faced by Nigerian businesses to reduce operating costs, increase productivity, and improve customer experiences. Many activities that workers carry out today have the potential to be automated and several businesses are turning to technology to enable them to do this.  The demand for staff with suitable technology-based skills that was reported in 2020 has continued to rise and with it the potential to impact several jobs in various sectors. In addition, tech-enabled jobs strongly align with youth aspirations 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.

Jobs for Women

Women in Nigeria represent one of the largest pools of untapped labor, with 61.3 million women. However, they are underrepresented in the labour force with a gap of 13.42% when compared to men. The underrepresentation of women in the labour force and their growing participation in the informal sector has largely been linked to a number of factors, including lower education levels that prevent women from developing the skills and confidence to be employable, domestic responsibility and restrictive working conditions to mention a few. This window focuses on creating economic opportunities for women and encourages private sector-led innovations that look at addressing the barriers/ constraints that prevent women from taking up employment opportunities.

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. Applicant Eligibility:

  • We strongly invite applications from private sector companies, including business accelerators and impact investors, as we believe that private sector involvement is the most effective way to develop and test market-based solutions that respond to the challenge of youth employment.
  • We actively welcome partnerships or consortium responses to this challenge.
  • Non-profit entities are also welcome to apply, but they must apply in consortium with a private-sector partner with confirmed labour demand as the lead applicant.
  • We strongly prefer to work with fast-growing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The applicant needs to be in their scale up or growth stage. Activities presented in the projects/solutions need to be tested concepts

4. Local Presence: The lead organization or at least one of the consortium partners, has a local operating presence in the country.

5. Job Type: Jobs may focus on waged employment, dependent self-employment or self-employment. The jobs created, matched or improved must be for youth aged 18-35 years. The proposal must demonstrate that the aspirations and requirements of youth have been taken into consideration in the design of the concept.

6. Decency of Jobs: For jobs to qualify as “decent”, basic requirements include an average monthly income of the minimum wage requirement of N30,000/ month. Jobs should be maintained for at least 6 months and should be in compliance with the labour laws of Nigeria.

7. Total Targets:

  • The minimum employment impact per project will be 1000 jobs within the project timeframe which is a maximum of 2 years.
  • 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. CFYE will not support training-only projects.
  • Employment creation, matching or improvement (of jobs) must be a direct outcome of the project
  • Projects need to be focused on either tech-enabled jobs or jobs for women.

8. Women Targets: Of the total youth employment created, matched, or improved;

    1. Window 1: at least a third (33.3%) should be for women. However, larger beneficiary targets will be regarded favorably.
    2. Window 2: 100% should be for women

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 € 200.000. Sources of co-funding have to be approved based on the guidance provided​​.

Want to apply?

Download the application brochure below.

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 leverage will be selected. 

Webinar Recording

Stay Informed

Privacy notice

By submitting any of the adjacent forms, you are consenting to receive emails from Palladium, on behalf of the Challenge Fund for Youth Employment. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by emailing us on

Read more here: Privacy Notice