Statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show that unemployment rate increased to 18.8% in the third quarter of 2017 from 16.2% in the second quarter of 2017.
Unemployment rate in Nigeria averaged 10.63% from 2006 until 2017 - it reached an all-time high of 19.7% in the fourth quarter of 2009 and a record low of 5.1% in the fourth quarter of 2010.
This alarming statistics further reinforces the need to promote entrepreneurial skills among young graduates. Instead of searching for white collar jobs which are not available, they can be job creators and entrepreneurs.
Why the loan facility is important
The Bank of Industry (BOI) in fulfilling its mandate of providing financial assistance for the establishment of large, medium and small projects, as well as their expansion, came up with a loan scheme for young graduates and serving corps member with profitable business ideas.
The Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund (GEF) scheme was launched in October, 2015 and implemented by the bank in partnership with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) directorate. The initiative is specifically targeted at youths undergoing the mandatory 1 year national service program.
The Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund Program was birthed to address the worrisome phenomenon of unemployment and youth restiveness in the country and also change the mindsets of Nigerian youths to self-reliance by encouraging them to develop skills for self-employment and contribute to the growth of the economy.
Key things to note:
- The loan facility is targeted at fresh graduates/serving corps members.
- One can access a loan of up to N2million with 0% interest rate for any bankable business plan.
- Tenor of the loan is between 3-5 years.
How applicants are selected
The loan facility is available to serving NYSC members that have successfully passed through the following stages:
- Screening process to ascertain their suitability for the loan.
- Attend the capacity building program developed specifically for the prospects under GEF.
- Submit a bankable business plan in respect of any of the bank's identified 40 SME clusters. The clusters are listed on the bank's website; applicants must have a detailed business plan showing details of cash-flow and expected returns.
How to start the process
Applicants must participate in the online business plan competition (which is available on the bank's website) where the most promising business ideas are selected from the list.
A 3-day intensive entrepreneurship capacity building program is organized by the bank to equip successful applicants with skills and increase their capacities. Location for the training is spread across the 6 geo-political zones of the country.
At the end of the program, successful applicants with lucrative business ideas will be provided with a loan facility of N2million with tenors ranging from 3-5 years inclusive of 6-12 months moratorium period.
Documents applicants must present
- Undertaking by the NYSC directorate not to release the discharge certificate until the loan is liquidated.
- 1 external guarantor acceptable to BOI who must belong to any of the following categories:
I. Senior Civil Servants (level 7 and above).
II. Bankers (not below the level of banking officer) who must have been confirmed by current employers
III. Professionals: medical doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers, etc.
IV. Senior staff of reputable quoted companies or international oil companies.
The guarantees must be supported with a notarized statement of net worth acceptable to BOI.
Are you a young graduate who is currently participating in the NYSC Scheme, with business ideas and a strong passion to become an entrepreneur?
You should give this loan facility a shot this year.