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By Yinka Kolawole

THE N10 billion Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) programme is a scheme initiated by the Bank of Industry (BoI) to tackle the phenomenon of youth unemployment in Nigeria by developing the capacity of the youths and funding their business ideas.

The scheme which is aimed at developing the entrepreneurial capacity of youths and providing start up loans at concessionary interest rates to execute their business plans was launched by Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, in March 2016.

According to him, it is designed to equip young people with the skills and knowledge to be self-employed by starting and managing their own businesses. He noted that about 1.8 million young Nigerians enter the already saturated labour market annually, adding that the new scheme is expected to create a minimum of 6,000 direct jobs and 30,000 indirect jobs yearly.

Testimonials: Some of the beneficiaries of the programme share their experiences on the BoI platform below.

Florence Bankole, Lagos State: ‘The YES application process was transparent; all you needed to do was provide details about your business and how you intend to use the finance if gotten.

Managing time effectively

Upon enrolling for the online courses, one of the key learning points for me is managing my time effectively and efficiently by prioritising aright with the aid of several time management tools. I am glad I made it this far.’

Sani Mohammed, Kaduna State: ‘The online course has been a great opportunity for young entrepreneurs like me to gain more business knowledge. The lessons I have learnt from this program cannot be quantified. That missing link in my knowledge to become successful is what the program is gradually filling in and preparing me for what is yet to come.’

Abdul Bala Ishaq, Niger State: ‘I had just started my Agro-allied business when I heard about the YES programme on TV. I least believed that a programme such as this will be as transparent as it has been. The online training has been enriching and full of exploration of new ideas, skills and knowledge that prior to now, I wouldn’t have known. Lessons derived so far from the courses have been very helpful in the day-to-day running of my farm.’

Anthony Ehigiamusoe, Edo State: ‘I have learnt from the YES programme that running a business without sound education in entrepreneurial management is like groping in the dark. The modules administered have helped me to be more effective in managing my business and taking vital decisions when necessary.’

Idrees Hambali, Taraba State: ‘The YES Programme is transforming me from being a traditional entrepreneur to a modern entrepreneur through well-designed online courses which have enabled me not to only manage my enterprise, but manage myself and my resources. The online class has given me room to network with those in ICT across the country.’

Abubakar Jimriya, Adamawa State: ‘On the whole, I would say that the YES programme is simply the best exposure any aspiring entrepreneur can undergo. So far, I have learnt how to manage time, set goals for success, and above all, how to be productive as an individual, and also for my business.’

Christy Ishaya, Kano State: ‘I have learnt to set smart goals which will help me as soon as I start my business, to monitor my process and make necessary adjustment where possible.’

Eligibility: Those eligible to apply for YES programme are 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). Each of the eligible beneficiaries can access a maximum of N5 million loan for the procurement of machinery and equipment, including working capital, at a single digit interest rate of nine percent and one percent processing fee, with a tenor of three to five years. It includes a six-month moratorium from the date of loan disbursement.

Mr. Waheed Olagunju, Acting Managing Director of BoI, said unlike conventional loan requirements, the YES initiative has a liberal collateral requirements, including NYSC certificates, approved guarantors among others. According to him, collateral requirements for the loan include: Debenture over the assets of the company or specific charge over the equipment (present and future); Deposit of original NYSC certificate and higher educational certificate (Ordinary National Diploma, Higher National Diploma or University Degree) with BOI, subject to the certificate being certified by Background Check International (BCI).

Beneficiaries are also required to provide two external guarantors acceptable to BoI who must be a Senior Civil Servant (Level 12 and not  more than 53 years old or more than 28 years in service, whichever comes first) or a banker (not below the level of Assistant Manager).

 

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