05 April 2016, Lagos — The Bank of Industry, BoI, has received over 13,272 online applications in two weeks for its N10 billion facilities earmarked for on-lending to small businesses under its Youth Entrepreneurship Support, YES, programme.
In a statement, BoI’s Acting Managing Director and Chief Executive, Waheed Olagunju, said that the geopolitical analysis of the applicants showed that Out of this figure, the North East is leading with 1,300 applicants followed by South West with 1,150 and North Central with 663.
“The fact that the bank received more than 13,272 online applications as at 1st April 2016 – two weeks after the scheme was launched which is in excess of the 10,000 applications that were projected to be filed in six weeks, is an indication of the wide acceptance of the YES Programme amongst Nigerian Youths across the country ,” he said.
According to him, North West accounted for 634 of the applications while 526 applications were received from South-South and South East recorded the lowest with 204 applications.
Olagunju explained that considering the enthusiastic response to the YES Scheme at this early stage, the bank and its 11 partnering enterprise development institutions were taking proactive steps to increase the number of the applicants that would attend the five-day capacity building sessions at eight centres in the six geo-political zones of the country.
He added that the fund size would also be increased to meet the escalating number of applicants that could potentially be transformed into becoming successful entrepreneurs, in the required critical mass and ultimately employers of labour.
The YES initiative was designed by the bank to address youth unemployment in the country. The bank is partnering 11 development partners in building the capacity of the youths by equipping them with the requisite entrepreneurial knowledge and skills while BoI funds their business plans, to enable them to be self-employed and manage their businesses.
*Franklin Alli – Vanguard