Access N2bn Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund (GEF) by BoI and NYSC

Ajuwaya! The Bank of Industry, has partnered with NYSC to provide a N2bn entrepreneurial fund for corps members.

Although NYSC, through Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) initiative, has been promoting entrepreneurship but the program has not been as effective as the management would want it to. Part of this is attributed to the fact that corps members are usually engaged in other activities during the service year.

This was pointed out by The Managing Director, BoI, Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa, on Monday at the launch of the Graduate Entrepreneurial Fund which took place in Lagos.

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According to him, this also inhibits their ability to generate bankable business plans that can attract funding by financial institutions.

Olaoluwa said that the NYSC Directorate has put in efforts in promoting an entrepreneurial mindset among NYSC members through its SAED programme.

He noted that in tackling unemployment among youth, an innovative approach is required, saying, “The strategy is to identify the innate talents of the young graduates as soon as they leave school, build their capacities for self-reliance, and also empower them to establish their own businesses, thereby creating jobs not just for themselves, but also for other youths that they may employ.” He compared this strategy to musical talent hunt shows such as Project Fame, Nigeria Idols, X-Factor.

Some success stories have started emerging. Ocheni Simon, a Computer Science graduate of the Universty of Abuja now supplies “Cassoflakes“, his agro-product, to the Nigerian Army as supplement through his NYSC and BOI networks.

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“When I finished school, my mum mocked me, “you graduated and now you are selling Garri?” – Mr. Simon.

Ocheni’s startup currently employs 7 staff.

Meet Ex-Corp member, CEO of “ZoboCola” Emeka Stanley. The Law Graduate of Madonna University began his startup with N40,000 in his mother’s kitchen. Today his business is NAFDAC registered.

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Before I went to BOI, I didn’t believe they would help. I didn’t know anyone. My experience tells me there’s hope for Nigeria. When I started, my mum told me a curse from my father’s people was affecting – Emeka


The components of the GEF Programme are as follows:

Selection/screening of 1,000 NYSC members that will participate in the 3-day capacity building programme which will cover such topics as generating the right business idea (Value Proposition) how to run a profitable business (Business Model), basic selling skills and financial record keeping. At the end of the training, the corpers will be able to develop their own bankable business plans.

The capacity building programme shall be facilitated by the NYSC SAED Department and nine (9) other BOI-partner EDCs/Training Consultants. The training facilitators include  , African Community Bridge Foundation and . The programme will be undertaken in the six geopolitical zones of the country and Lagos State.

Features of the GEF:

The total amount available for lending under GEF is N2.0 billion. Each beneficiary of GEF can access a minimum loan of N500,000 and a maximum of N2.0 million for the procurement of machinery and equipment as well as for working capital, at a single digit interest rate of 9% with a loan tenor of 3 to 5 years inclusive of six (6) months moratorium.

One unique feature of GEF is that it does not require the conventional collateral usually demanded by banks. The collateral requirements for the loan are as follows: Specific charge over the equipment procured with the loan and one guarantor of the borrower.

So You Want to Apply? GEF is available to serving NYSC members that have successfully passed through the following stages.

  • Register a business as an Enterprise or Limited Liability Company.
  • Apply online for the GEF Entrepreneurship Capacity Building Programme on the BOI GEF portal:  using your NYSC State Code as your unique identification number. The online application entails the provision of personal details of the NYSC member.

The 1,000 successful applicants will subsequently be invited to the 3-day GEF Capacity Building Programme at the end of which they will qualify to apply for loans in respect of their various business ideas.

This is the time to turn that idea in your head into gold. Apply now with your State Code before you pass out!


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