AS part of efforts to prune unemployment in the country, the Bank of Industry (BoI) has unfolded a N10 billion Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) programme that is intended to create 36,000 jobs yearly.
The Acting Managing Director of BOI, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, who made this known, recently stated that Federal Government has launched N10 billion Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) programme through h the Bank of Industry (BOI).
According to him, the scheme is expected to produce at least 36,000 direct and indirect jobs annually, with each beneficiary getting between N5 million to N10 million loans at nine per cent interest rate with tenure of five to 10 years.
He said the programme is aimed at equipping youths to become self-employed by starting and managing their own businesses and eventually becoming employers of labour. While noting that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are the bedrock of any economy, he said there is need to develop the capacity of the youths with a view to ultimately fund their business plans.
Olagunju said while previous empowerment programmes for the youths concentrated more on training, the YES project will provide funds for the beneficiaries. According to him, it is a critical success factor in the establishment of small businesses. “The capacity building programmes also hardly take care of the entire training value chain. The YES scheme that is being launched today would therefore, provide an opportunity for BOI to address the worrisome phenomenon of lack of finance,” he said.
He highlighted some of the bold steps taken by the Bank in recent times to address some of the developmental challenges facing the country. The most recent, he said, was the merit-based N2 billion financial inclusion schemes for youths known as the Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund (GEF). The GEF, launched by the Bank in October 2015 in partnership with the National Youth Corps Directorate, is the precursor to YES.
In addition, he said the programme entailed an online business ideas competition in which 3,100 serving members of the NYSC made their submissions out of which 1,000 top scorers emerged. The successful candidates, he said, underwent entrepreneurship capacity building programmes in seven locations in the six geopolitical zones of the country, including the special centre in Lagos, to facilitate access to finance for their business plans.