UK-Nigeria Circular Fashion Innovation Lead Customer Programme

Innovate UK, through the Global Alliance Africa project is investing up to £120,000 for three UK-Nigeria collaborative pilot projects (x £40,000 per project) towards the adoption of circular fashion business models in Nigeria.

Opportunity Details


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The Circular Fashion Lead Customer Programme provides funding for up to three £40,000 projects to allow a combination of businesses from the UK and Nigeria to collaboratively develop and deploy technology – based solutions to address challenges within the sector.


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About the competition

The aim of this competition is to accelerate innovations needed to create new or improved circular fashion technologies for the sector through UK-Nigerian partnerships.

Your project must focus on one or more of the following:

  • Innovating Sustainable Materials for Sustainable Fabrics
  • Recycling & Upcycling of Textiles
  • Redefining Chemicals in Production/Manufacturing

Innovate UK and Global Alliance Africa

Innovate UK exists to connect innovators with new partners and new opportunities beyond their existing thinking – accelerating ambitious ideas into real world solutions. Innovate UK is delivering the 6-year (2019 – 2025) UK International Development funded, Global Alliance Africa project, which aims to build new and stronger UK-African partnerships to maximise the creation of inclusive market access, funding, and investment opportunities through innovation knowledge transfer between the UK, Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya.

The project aligns with the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) objectives by building stronger local innovation ecosystems and enhanced UK-Africa collaborations that lead to self-sustaining economic growth in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, by harnessing potential of innovation to meet current and future socio-economic-environmental challenges. The project is focused around three key pillars, one of which focuses on ‘Connected Innovation’ where Innovation Networks will be forged to facilitate UK, African and International networks to deliver collaborative research, innovation and funding solutions that address key global innovation challenges.

In Nigeria, one of the key sectors identified is Circular Fashion due to its potential to generate economic opportunities, reduce costs, expand markets, and mitigate environmental impact. The country boasts many contemporary designers and a population with a strong love for fashion items. However, the fashion supply chain in Nigeria faces challenges that inhibit the sector from fully embracing circular practices. These challenges include a lack of effective textile waste management, limited research and know-how, and non-uniform fashion standards. Recognising these issues, Global Alliance Africa, with its objective to align with the country’s innovation needs, has identified the opportunity to fund innovation aimed at enabling circular fashion.

UK-Nigeria Circular Fashion Innovation Lead Customer Programme Background

The global fashion industry is a significant sector in the economy considering the important role it plays in our day-to-day life. The industry is however facing complex challenges in transitioning to a circular economy. Issues such as poor resource quality, water pollution and textile waste highlight the unsustainability of the traditional linear model of “take, make, and dispose.” Despite these challenges, stakeholders are coming together to achieve a common goal; to adopt circular fashion practices, conserve resources, and mitigate environmental pollution.

Achieving these goals will require coordinated efforts from stakeholders across government, industry, and civil society. This includes building supportive infrastructure, facilitating knowledge transfer, and creating enabling policies that promote circular fashion initiatives.

The UK-Nigeria Circular Fashion Innovation Lead Customer Programme aims to address these challenges in both countries through a partnership model, thus accelerating innovations that promotes responsible consumption and production, minimize waste and enhance resource efficiency while contributing towards the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12.

A Lead Customer is a Nigerian and/or UK fashion company or a top-tier future customer that shows support or commitment to the proposed innovations by presenting demonstrable deployment routes. The Lead Customer must provide a Letter of Endorsement with your application.

Funding Type and Project Size

Innovate UK will fund 70% of a total project value up to £40,000 per project. An in-kind contribution of 30% is required from the project partners. Higher in-kind contributions by project partners are encouraged to boost the scale of the projects, and will be viewed favourably in the selection process.

A project must involve at least one partner from the UK and one partner from Nigeria.

Rewards & Benefits

  • Technology Testing & Validation, 6-month project: Grant funding of pp to £40,000 for the UK/Nigerian lead registered organisation per project (subject to T&C).
  • Technology Demonstration & Scale-up, 6-month project: Grant funding of pp to £40,000 for the UK/Nigerian lead registered organisation per project (subject to T&C).
  • Access to international collaboration and innovation through UK-Nigeria partnership.
  • Support in facilitating industry engagement to seize future commercialisation opportunities and enhance market access.
  • Sector expertise support from Innovate UK and Lead Country Partner.

Before you start:

Related Events and Recordings


Global Alliance Africa Lead Customer Programme Briefing Webinar

10.00 - 11.00 GMT+1 | Online

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Related programmes

Global Alliance Africa

Global Alliance Africa

This Innovate UK Global Alliance Africa 6-year (2019-2025) project funded by UK International Development aims to build new and stronger UK-African partnerships to maximise the creation of inclusive market access, funding and investment opportunities through innovation knowledge transfer between the UK, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

Collaborative R&D Funding

Collaborative R&D Funding

Collaborative R&D activities will leverage funding, networks and expertise in order to facilitate UK-Africa R&D partnerships in key thematic areas of mutual interest.


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