By CHIOMA OBINAGWAM
HERITAGE Bank’s partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the N3billion Youth Innovative Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YIEDP) to empower young graduates has kicked into its second phase with the invitation of over 1500 applicants for a training workshop this week.
Following the inauguration of the initiative by the CBN and the subsequent launch of a business application portal by Heritage Bank in March this year, not less than 4000 applications were received.
Out of this number, 1,547 candidates, representing the first batch of possible beneficiaries of soft loans for their business ideas, have been shortlisted to report for a 3-day business development training workshop, which will be conducted across CBN Enterprise Development Centres in the six geopolitical zones.
According to a statement from the Corporate Communications Department of Heritage Bank, the shortlisted candidates will be contacted via SMS and Email on the details and modalities of the CBN-EDC training.
After the training workshop, which is to herald the third phase of the programme, each participant will be required to write a comprehensive and viable business plan, submit on the application portal for the Business Review Committee to screen, review and select the eligible and viable business for YIEDP funding.
Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Ife Sekibo, restated that the aim of Heritage Bank being in the forefront of youth empowerment is to emancipate the latent entrepreneurial spirit in the teeming youths, by providing adequate and affordable loans to execute their business ideas and, hopefully, migrate them to successful Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), thereby, providing the mechanism of stimulating growth, reducing unemployment as well as addressing youth restiveness in the economy.
Sekibo added that “the bank’s passionate interest in the programme also arises from the fact that the initiative aligns very much with the vision of the bank, which is to help partners create, preserve and transfer wealth across generations.”
The statement from the bank also explained that applications are still being received for subsequent batches of the programme and advised interested youths to visit the portal, call 0700-HERITAGE or send a mail to [email protected]
To be eligible for the YIEDP funding, youths must be within the age bracket of 18 and 35 year old, serving National Youth Corps members or non-NYSC members with not more than five years post-service.
The apex bank had selected Heritage Bank as its pilot partner bank to unveil, administer and manage the laudable project, which will focus on dependable job-creating sectors, such as agricultural value chain (fish farming, poultry, snail farming), cottage industry, mining and solid minerals, creative industry (tourism, arts and crafts), and Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
Before this latest effort, the bank had launched a N500 million Young Entrepreneurs and Students (YES) Grant in Lagos. The initiative, which is in partnership with the Nigerian Youth Professional Forum (NYPF), will, according to the bank, support students and young entrepreneurs toward socio-economic freedom.