By Opeyemi Babalola
As part of its policy measures to address rising youth unemployment and underemployment in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced new loans for university and polytechnic graduates who are willing to set up businesses.
The bank revealed that the credit will be implemented under its Tertiary Institutions Entrepreneurship Scheme (TIES).
The bank said the scheme aimed to provide an innovative financing model that will boost job creation, enhance entrepreneurship development, and support economic growth.
The loan, according to CBN ranges from N5 million for individual/sole proprietorship/small company projects, to N25 million for partnerships/company projects.
CBN in a circular titled ‘Guidelines for the implementation of tertiary institutions entrepreneurship scheme’, dated October 2021 and obtained by University Times International (UTI), said applicants for the first option of the award are expected to have graduated from any Nigerian university or polytechnic within the past seven years.
On the guidelines, it said their ideas/activities must be around agribusiness, information and technology, creative industry, science and technology.
It added that the loan has an interest rate of five per cent per annum from now to February 2022, and nine per cent from March 1, 2022.
Businesses are expected to start paying back after 12 months and repayment should be completed in five years.
Interested person can apply online via the designated online portal providing requisite information and documents, such as:
1. First degree and NYSC discharge (or exemption certificate); valid mobile phone number (linked to your NIN), BVN, NIN, TIN, and email address.
2. Evidence of business registration (certified true copies of relevant CAC documents); and Corporate bank account number of business.
Female entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply and are expected to take up to 50 per cent of the offers.
Existing businesses can also be qualified for funding through equity investment, the bank said.
For the undergraduates, the bank said that it will also distribute N500 million among the top five tertiary institutions under the national biennial entrepreneurship competition.
It said: “The competition is aimed at raising awareness and visibility of high-impact entrepreneurial/technological ideas among undergraduates, promote entrepreneurial talent hunts in Nigerian polytechnics and universities, as well as encourage innovations that are commercially viable and with transformational impact.”
“Applications for participation under the Development window shall be through submission of application on https://cbnties.com.ng Body of Experts (BoE) shall be constituted from the private and public sector to evaluate entrepreneurial and technological innovations submitted by Nigerian polytechnics and universities. Top five (5) polytechnics and universities at the national level shall be awarded the grant prize on the recommendation of the Body of Experts (BoE),” it said.
“Five (5) top Nigerian polytechnics and universities with the best entrepreneurial pitches/ideas shall be awarded as follows: First place – N150.0 million; Second place – N120.0 million; Third place – N100.0 million; Fourth place – N80.0 million; and Fifth place – N50.0 million,” it added.