By Franklin Alli
The Bank of Industry (BoI) has shortlisted 311 business proposals for funding under its Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund (GEF) Programme.
The financial intermediation exercise, which will see the bank provide an aggregate sum of N600.5 million for small businesses under the GEF scheme, hopes to provide intervention to 28 SME clusters out of the identified clusters in the country.
According to the bank, a breakdown of the applications received showed that applications received were spread across the six geo-political zones with the South West ranking top with 130 applicants requesting for N252.5 million, followed by the North Central with 57 applicants requesting N110.2 million in loans and the North West ranking third with 42 applicants requesting N83.4 million.
Others are South -South, with 42 applications for N82.8 million, South East had 23 applicants requesting N38.47 million and 17 North East applicants requesting N33 million.
“After screening of the applications, 1,000 candidates were selected for the three-day capacity building programme which was held at seven designated training centres in Lagos and across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
“The three-day training programme was facilitated by top nine BOI partner Training Institutions in Nigeria and the Institutions have continued to provide advisory/mentorship support to the candidates in the processing of packaging their loan applications. This gesture from the respective trainers and the intensiveness as well as quality of the 3-day training has made it possible for many of the participants to submit bankable loan applications.
Online loan application
“An online loan application portal was subsequently commissioned to enable the 800 candidates that successfully participated in the 3-day training submit their applications for a maximum loan amount of N2 million. At the expiration of the deadline of February 15, 2016 set for the submission of loan applications, a total of 311 candidates submitted financing requests for an aggregate sum of N600.5 million.
“The nine partner training institutions will continue to hand-hold the young entrepreneurs through the early stages of running their businesses to ensure proper utilization of the loans, viability and sustainability of their respective ventures,” said the bank.