Application Portal for THE PITCH NIGERIA powered by SMEToolkit Challenge

To apply:

1. You must be a business owner (both start-up and existing businesses)

2. 18 years to 65 years

3. Fill the online application form

The Sterling Bank "The Pitch Nigeria powered by SMEToolKit Challenge" is a challenge designed to develop and strengthen the entrepreneurial & managerial capabilities of entrepreneurs in Nigeria. 

The following sectors will be focused on:

a. Health                           

b. Education

c. Agribusinesses                     

d. Renewable Energy

e. Transportation                   

f. Fashion   

g. Hospitality

h. ICT 

The selection process would be in three (3) levels:

1. One thousand (1,000) successful applicants will go through 3 weeks online training

2. 200 of the participants will be invited for the second level

3. After a selection process, 50 SMEs will be invited to a three (3) day boot camp as part of the Sterling bank "SME Academy".

After a final pitching session, 3 finalists will win up to N10 Million in funding and business support.

The deadline for submission of application has being EXTENDED to 15th November 2018

Sorry, Application for THE PITCH NIGERIA powered by SMEToolkit Challenge is Closed!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why should I apply to The Pitch Nigeria?

Our program has been designed to help you build your business. 1,000 participants will go through a 3 weeks online training session, 200 participants who do well during this stage will be invited for the second level selection where they will be required to pitch.50 applicants will be selected from this stage.

The 50 SMEs will go through a 3-day capacity building boot camp. Finally, 3 finalists will win up to 10M in funding and Business Support. The Boot Camp period also gives you the opportunity to network with peers, gain validation and confidence, and help develop more ideas to grow your business

If you make it to the finals, the additional exposure and PR will showcase your business to a broad audience, including investors and leading entrepreneurs

It is important to note that all shortlisted applicants will have access to single digit interest loans.

Who should apply?

We want founders of exciting and growing businesses in Nigeria. 

What kind of businesses can apply?

We work with small businesses; this includes businesses across all sectors. The majority of Pitch Nigeria entrants should have started making sales. Pre-revenue businesses can enter The Pitch, however, they need to be able to demonstrate traction in what they are trying to achieve.

What is the process?

The first stage is an online application/form that helps our judges assess the potential for the business and what you’ve achieved so far. We then shortlist 1,000 online applications for the Pitch Nigeria 2018.

The shortlisted applicants will be notified via email and SMS prior to the date and will be asked to confirm participation. On confirmation, they will be assigned default login details to the web page (on the page participants will be able to navigate on the platform).

There will be an online training for the 1,000 applicants. The screening at the second stage (selection of 200) will be through grading. The scoring will be based on the following;

1.      Understanding the subject modules(Acquired knowledge)

2.      The relevance of the modules (Thought process /Flow of argument/Benefit to business)

3.      Completion of the modules (Timely submission)

There will be a cut off mark for the selection.

The feedback from the participants’ evaluation and pitching exercise will help in designing the curriculum for the boot camp. This will give strategic direction to choosing the right courses that will affect their businesses positively and address their business challenges. In similar programs conducted in the past, we had looked at courses like Talent management, internal control, Regulatory Issues & Managing loans.

At the Boot Camp, we run high-intensity workshops, seminars, roundtables, and coaching sessions to accelerate the development of the key skills we have identified to enable businesses to succeed.

From the Boot Camp, we select the top businesses to pitch at the grand final where our judges will select the 3 champions.

When do applications close? and what are the other important dates?

Applications start on 6th October. Successful candidates will get an email invite into The Pitch Nigeria powered by SMEToolkit Challenge. They will get information on other dates via email.

How do you decide who gets through to each stage?

The Pitch Nigeria powered by SMEToolkit Challenge celebrates startups with amazing stories. Founders with great strategy and vision who are solving problems consumers are excited about.

The Pitch Nigeria powered by SMEToolkit Challenge judges consider these main points:


  • Team: How strong is the founding team in terms of skills, experience, and vision?
  • Product or service: Does the business solve a problem consumers care about and what traction has it gained so far?
  • Market: How big is the addressable market, how will you beat the competition and what is the scope for growth?
  • Fund Management: Participants must show a level of investment readiness and Interest in Access to Finance
  • Expansion plan: Do you have a good strategy for expanding your business, what is your employment generation capacity?
  • Book-keeping: Must have evidence of proper financial record and tax payment
  • Payback plan: Participants must be able to demonstrate the ability to repay the interest-free funding

For more information contact:

Email: or

Telephone: (+234)0700STERLING (0700078375464), 01-4484481-5