The Bank of Industry has opened applications for a new round of Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund (GEF), in which it is staking N2 billion for serving National Youth Corps members will have access to funding to expand their businesses.

The bank says “50 per cent advance payment to equipment suppliers and payment of the balance only after satisfactory delivery and installation of the equipment,” adding: “However, full cash payment can be made in advance where items of equipment are to be bought from the likes of Cash n Carry, Shoprite, Jumia etc.”The funding, a zero per cent interest rate loan, will be disbursed to selected applicants who met the requirements of the bank, disbursing 50 per cent of loan amount (as working capital) “to be disbursed after successful installation and testing of the equipment.”

To be eligible for funding, applicants must be serving NYSC members that have successfully passed through the following stages: Screening process; attended the capacity building programme developed specifically for the prospects under GEF; and must have submitted a bankable business plans in respect of any of the bank’s identified 40 SME clusters.

It will recalled the GEF was bank’s first youth programme, launched in October, 2015 and is implemented by the Bank in partnership with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Directorate.

The GEF, according to the bank’s website, is designed to “encourage graduates of tertiary institutions currently undergoing the compulsory one-year NYSC programme, to venture into business and become employers of labour rather than job-seekers; “address the entrepreneurship capacity gap of the young NYSC members; deepen financial inclusion by de-risking the NYSC members and making them eligible for small business loans to be provided by BOI and ensure sustainability of the business of the young graduates through effective monitoring of the corps members by the NYSC Directorate and BOI.”

The fund, the bank said, will be “deployed to support the establishment and/or expansion of an estimated 1,000 enterprises promoted by NYSC members across the country. The scheme is expected to create a minimum of 5,000 direct jobs and 25,000 indirect jobs annually, totaling 30,000 jobs.”

Culled from Tribune Online