The Bank of Industry and Bayelsa State Government have unveiled a Micro Small and Medium Enterprise evelopment fund worth N2bn to support entrepreneurs in the state,
The fund, they said, was part of the efforts of the state government to encourage value-addition to the nation’s natural resource endowments.
The bank highlighted the need to drive the MSMEs, especially in agriculture, considering the sector’s potential to achieve industrialisation and support the Federal Government’s efforts to diversify the economy.
A statement from the bank quoted the Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, as saying that entrepreneurship agreement such as the one initiated with the bank was vital for rapid economic growth in the state.
He said the partnership was coming at a time the state government was making efforts to create a N10bn entrepreneurship development fund to be managed by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
According to him, the fund will be geared towards supporting businesses and lots of initiatives in the state’s fashion industry.
He said, “This is why the government, among other programmes, created a micro finance bank for the first time to address challenges of funding. We believe that at the end, it is the small-scale businesses that will drive industrialisation in Nigeria.”
The governor commended the BoI for its support towards entrepreneurship development in Nigeria, saying that the war against poverty and Nigeria’s quest for industrialisation would require collective efforts by all relevant government agencies and the private sector.
ýHe said there would be similar initiatives with other lenders and players in the industry to make up the N10bn entrepreneurship fund.
The Acting Managing Director, BoI, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, said the fund ýwould only be given to beneficiaries after undergoing a capacity building programme organised by development centres of the Pan African University and the Entrepreneurship Institute in Bayelsa.
Olagunju assured the people of Bayelsa that the fund would be disbursed at single-digit interest rate, stating that the capacity building programme would ýhelp ýconvert aspiring entrepreneurs’ visions into business models in order to give their businesses a high chance of succeeding.
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