With the commencement of the second phase of the N10 billion Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) scheme, beneficiaries have praised the Bank of Industry (BoI) for assisting them in realising their entrepreneurial dream.
YES was initiated by the Bank of Industry (BoI) to tackle youth unemployment by developing their capacity and funding their business ideas.
The scheme, aimed at developing the entrepreneurial capacity of youths and providing start-up loans at concessionary interest rates, was launched by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, last March.
According to the Minister, the programme was designed to equip young people with the skills and knowledge to be self-employed. He noted that about 1.8 million young Nigerians enter the saturated labour market yearly, adding that the new scheme was expected to create a minimum of 6,000 direct and 30,000 indirect jobs yearly.
Some of the beneficiaries noted that the initiative has helped in addressing the rising unemployment concerns among youths.
One of them, from Lagos, Florence Bankole, said: ‘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 accessed.
“Upon enrolling for the online courses, one of the key learning points for me was 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.”
For Sani Mohammed, an indigene of Kaduna State: ‘The online course has been a great opportunity for young entrepreneurs like me to gain more business knowledge. The lessons I learnt from this programme cannot be quantified. That missing link in my knowledge to become successful is what the programme is gradually filling in and preparing me for what is yet to come.’
Similarly, Abdul Bala Ishaq from Niger State said: “I had just started my agro-allied business when I heard about the YES programme on television. 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.”
BoI’s Acting Managing Director Waheed Olagunju said unlike conventional loan requirements, the YES initiative has liberal collateral requirements, including NYSC certificates, approved guarantors and 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.