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CBN unveils empowerment scheme for graduates

By Collins Olayinka, Abuja
22 October 2021   |   2:44 am
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has designed an entrepreneurial scheme for graduates of higher institutions in the country.

Central Bank of Nigeria

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has designed an entrepreneurial scheme for graduates of higher institutions in the country.

The apex bank, which released the guidelines of the initiative in Abuja, said the scheme tagged, ‘Tertiary Institutions Entrepreneurship Scheme (TIES)’ was designed to create a paradigm shift among undergraduates and graduates from the pursuit of white-collar jobs to a culture of entrepreneurship development for economic development and job creation.

The CBN added that the scheme is also aimed at providing an innovative financing model that will create jobs, enhance the entrepreneurial ecosystem and support economic growth and development.

The guidelines outline the operational modalities for the scheme.

The bank explained that the broad objective of the scheme is to enhance access to finance by undergraduates and graduates of polytechnics and universities in Nigeria with innovative entrepreneurial and technological ideas.

Other specific objectives of the scheme include the provision of an enabling environment for co-creation, mentorship and development of entrepreneurial and technological innovations.

Also, it is expected to fast track ideation, creation and acceleration of a culture of innovation-driven entrepreneurship skills among graduates of polytechnics and universities in Nigeria.

It is also targeted at promoting gender balance in entrepreneurship development through capacity development and improved access to finance and leapfrog entrepreneurial capacity of undergraduates and graduates for entrepreneurship and economic development in partnership with academia and industry practitioners and boost contribution of the non-oil sector to the nation’s GDP.

It added that applicants under the scheme shall be graduates of Nigerian polytechnics and universities with first-degree certificate (BSc/HND/ or it’s equivalent); National Youth Service Certificate (NYSC) discharge or exemption certificate; Certificate of Participation issued by polytechnics and universities evidencing entrepreneurship training; and not more than seven years post-NYSC.

On repayment plans, it said interest payment and principal repayment shall be made on a monthly or quarterly basis by the obligor depending on the established cash flow cycle and in line with the approved repayment schedule

The grants shall be in agribusiness, information technology, Creative Industry and Science and technology.

The apex bank noted that the take-off capital will be sourced from both the Agribusiness/Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AgSMEIS).

It added that the scheme will be implemented through three components namely: term loan component; equity Investment component and developmental component.

However, the lender’s bank hinted the focus shall be on both greenfield (new) and brownfield (existing) projects in ratio 40:60, respectively.

The CBN insisted that to promote gender equality, 50 per cent of the term loan component of the scheme shall be earmarked for female-led or -owned projects, saying, “facilities accessed under the Term Loan Component shall be revolving, as, upon full repayment, beneficiaries shall be eligible to apply for additional and or increased funding to ensure the sustainability of financing support to projects.

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