‘Disbursements to over 600 entrepreneurs under YES scheme close to N1b’
The Federal Government, through the Bank of Industry (BOI) has stated that over 600 entrepreneurs have accessed funds under its Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) scheme aimed at addressing the worrisome phenomenon of unemployment in Nigeria by building the capacity of such youths and funding their business ideas.
The Head of SME Fund, BOI, Michael Oye, said close to N1 billion has been disbursed so far with plans to scale up the fund to equip young people with the requisite skills and knowledge to be self-employed by starting and managing their own businesses.Oye stated this on the side-lines of a business pitch competition it jointly organised with MTN Foundation.
According to him, loans up to N2 million repayable over a period of 36 months and a six-month moratorium is available for young entrepreneurs that are into value addition.
In his words, “We have gone beyond doing it ourselves and this is why we are partnering with MTN to make our platform available for other people who will want to emulate this to reach out to these aspiring entrepreneurs. We are scaling up and creating more opportunities and funds for the youths to start their businesses. This is the next phase of what BOI is doing and having done it, we are working with others to scale it up.
“For our YES programme, over 600 participants have accessed the funds and close to N1 billion has been disbursed and we have lots of success stories from the YES programme. One of the successful entrepreneurs is part of the judges here present. The same success story we are looking to replicate with this scheme”.
Also speaking at the event, the Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation, Corporate Services, Odunayo Sanya, said 10 per cent of the N2 million loan is a grant while they repay the loan at a single digit interest rate of 5 percent.
In her words, “We are here because of the youth entrepreneurship programme and as you know, MTN is committed to the growth of Nigerians. We have this scholarship scheme at the foundation every year where we have sponsored over 10,000 people, but we have decided that it is enough to sponsor them through school, but also enable them to become who they want to be. That is the idea behind the youth entrepreneurship development programme and we are taking our alumni, people who have benefitted from the scholarship backing their ideas up with something tangible in partnership with the Bank of Industry (BoI). We are partnering with the best to also give our own scholars the very best.”
“I think the idea behind the pay back is to institutionalize accountability so that people can take responsibility and actually grow themselves. This year we have decided to turn it up for the whole of Nigeria, we are targeting agriculture, ICT, energy, education, fashion and beauty,” she added.One of the participants, Olutunbi Israel, a Fashion Designer, said his experience with the scheme has been awesome, saying that it has been an eye-opener for him.
“There are things that prior to this programme I would not have known. The training was top-notch and I am not sure if I would have been able to pay for a training like this. I am also grateful to MTN and BOI for this initiative. We were taught how to manage our finances and in my years in business, I never understood the importance of finance to business such as book keeping, human resource management, and a good business structure,” he said.
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