By Providence Obuh
The Bank of Industry (BoI) has accredited eleven Enterprise Development Centres and capacity building consultants to implement the bank’s Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) Programme.
The partners include Pan-Atlantic University Enterprise Development Centre, Leap Africa, After School Graduate Development Centre, Fate Foundation and African Community Bridge Foundation, among others.
Speaking during the Memorandum of Understating signing Ceremony in Lagos, the Acting Managing Director of the BoI, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, said that the scheme was an initiative to address youth unemployment in the country.
The partners would be supporting in technical skills and training in partnership with the various technical training and vocational institutions in the country.
Olagunju said that the scheme, apart from funding business plans, would build the capacity of youths by equipping them with required entrepreneurial knowledge and that the acquired skills would help them to be self-employed towards managing their businesses.
Some of the objective of the scheme is to act as an incubation centre where business ideas would be nurtured to full potential; deepen financial inclusion by de-risking aspiring entrepreneurs and making them eligible for small business loans.
He said that participants would be drawn from young aspiring entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 years, with innovative ideas who must have a minimum educational qualification of an ordinary National Diploma (OND) or its equivalent, explaining that about 10,000 online applications will be solicited nationwide, out of which 2,000 would be selected for the online training component of the programme.
According to him, “only the top 1,200 online participants will qualify for the in-class training programme annually.”
The in-class training will be delivered by BOI accredited partner training institutions and shall take place on a bio- annual basis at selected centre spread across the six geo-political zones of the country including lagos and Abuja. Consequently, 600 participants would be trained at the designated locations twice in a year.
The MD said that the programme was sequel to the Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund programme, organised for serving National Youth Service Corps members which was launched in Oct. 2015.
He said that financing of the businesses under the bank’s SME cluster initiative aligned with the UN Economic Commission for Africa’s Commodity-based Industrialisation Strategy.
Mrs Nike Adeyemi, representing Fate Foundation, commended the bank, saying that the programme would enhance the skills of aspiring entrepreneurs.
Adekunle Gold, a Nigerian musician said that there were lots of youths with innovative ideas but were caged due to finance.
He said: “When I was in school, I learned Printing and “Adire” making. I fell in love with it and decided to wear it always and use my music to promote clothes made with “Adire.”