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BoI seals pact with 11 facilitators on youth business initiative


Waheed Olagunju

Waheed Olagunju

To further improve small businesses’ access to its facilities, the Bank of Industry (BoI) has sealed a pact with 11 Enterprise Development Centres and capacity building consultants to drive its Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) programme.

The initiative, which was designed to address youth unemployment in the country, would see the development partners and the bank, building capacity of the youths by equipping them with the requisite entrepreneurial knowledge and skills as well as funding their business plans, which would enable them to be self-employed and manage their own businesses.

According to the bank, financing of the successful businesses would be done under its SME cluster initiative in consonance with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s Commodity-based industrialisation strategy.

Speaking at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the two parties, the Acting Managing Director of BoI, Waheed Olagunju explained that the YES-Programme is designed to create an interactive learning platform to train young aspiring entrepreneurs in entrepreneurship, business management and technical skills that will ultimately translate into improved efficiency and productivity.

With participants expected to be drawn from young aspiring entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 years, Olagunju noted that the initiative will further kindle the entrepreneurial spirit of Nigerian youths.

Olagunju identified the 11 training facilitators for the implementation of the YES-Programme to include, African Community Bridge Foundation, After School Graduate Development Centre, Empretec Nigeria Foundation, Fate Foundation, Growing Business Foundation, Kaduna Business School, Leap Africa, Pan Atlantic University Enterprise Development Centre, Prinsult Global Consult Limited, Valucon Business Services and VSL Consulting Limited.

“The programme’s objective include, to act as an incubation centre where business ideas are nurtured to their full potential as well as entrenching global best practices by inculcating a culture of innovation-driven entrepreneurship and ethics in the programme participants; promotion of self-employment among graduates of institutions of higher learning, thereby changing their job-seeking mindset; and to deepen financial inclusion by de-risking the young aspiring entrepreneurs and making them eligible for small business loans to be provided by BoI”, he added.

On the operational framework for the project, Olagunju explained that 10,000 online applications will be solicited nationwide, out of which 2,000 would be selected for the online training component of the YES-Programme.

Director, Enterprise Development Centre, Pan Atlantic University (PAU), Dr. Peter Bamkole while speaking on the project said the process, which commenced last year, is designed in a sustainable manner to nurture innovation for value creation in the society.

“The idea is to build the capacity of these entrepreneurs before their projects are funded by BoI. The fund is not a grant but a facility to assist start-ups to commence business. It is a merit-based inclusion across the six geopolitical zones.

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