The Bank of Industry (BoI) has partnered First Bank of Nigeria and After school Graduate Development Centre (AGDC) to float a youth entrepreneurial challenge to provide single digit loans to qualified young entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
The initiative ‘Youth Ignite’ is designed to provide the needed capacity and necessary resources for young people across the country aged between 18 – 35years who are talented, creative and dedicated with existing businesses or ideas that they believe in and are committed to bringing to life.
Entrepreneurs upon meeting the required criteria and judges review would have access to a “loan” value as required by their businesses capped at N200,000.00 (Two Hundred Thousand Naira) to start or grow their businesses. Successful businesses that are able to prove their concept (through the amount of jobs created, revenue generated, etc.) are then able to access the “scale up loan” up to the tune of Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N500,000.00)
Speaking at the launch which took place on Wednesday at the Marina office of BoI, the acting Managing Director, BoI, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, explained that the collaboration would propel the selected youths to greater accomplishments and empower them to become employers of labour.
Olagunju pointed out that Nigerian youths are imaginative and highly talented, maintaining that the Development Finance Institution (DFI) would continue to support, build capacity and train youths while also making available single digit and highly concessional financing to support youths in Nigeria.
“We have two bottom lines mainly which include financial viability and developmental impact and among developmental impact are job creation, import substitution and export generation which means we finance projects that can earn foreign exchange for Nigeria.
“We are coming together to help the Nigerian youth leveraging our experience; we have been in this environment for more than 58 years, First Bank 123 years and AGDC almost a decade old,” Olagunju said.
In her remarks, the Founder of, AGDC and Chairman of the Board of FBN, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, noted that the initiative was providing the kind of environment young entrepreneurs needed to thrive, an advantage which the older generation did not have.
“We need to think of growing businesses in the future, so our commitment to this initiative is first to support nation building, support transforming lives that is so critical to our nation; help build new generation of businesses that will be our customers in the future.
“Until we have what is an all-inclusive development such that we are converting the mind and the strength of the large part of our population into value we cannot have real growth and this is what projects like this will do,” she said.
The Executive Director, AGDC, Mrs. Funmi Adeyemi, said Nigeria has a rich human capital resource that can used as an advantage to drive economic growth, but stressed that a lot of youths have great ideas but no resources to drive their dreams and aspirations.
“Our long term goal is to empower one million youths who will create five million jobs in five years, if we all do our part, we will find that the cumulative effect of our contribution will change our country and move forward us towards our desire,” she said.
She added that the Youth Ignite challenge was anchored on three pillars: Innovate, Transform and Lead.
She advised interested Nigerian youths to log on to www.youthignite.ng to apply.
Microenterprises will be provided training, single-digit interest loans and ongoing support during the course of five years.
Entrepreneurs are required to do the either of following: Consider ways people conduct businesses in their state or community and devise a more effective way to achieve better results; or Develop a solution to a problem(s) in their community or area of influence; or Seek to command [more] business value from a skill they already possess or trade they are involved in.
Entries must be submitted online within the specified timeframe and conform to specified guidelines and terms and conditions of participation clearly outlined on this website.
All entries will be reviewed by the Panel of Judges who consists of carefully selected accomplished professionals from all walks of life.