By Victor Ogunyinka
Thousands of Nigerians will be beneficiaries of a N500million grant seed capital set aside for young Nigerian entrepreneurs and students.
This was disclosed at the launch of the YESGrant Scheme by the Nigerian Young Professionals Forum in partnership with Heritage Bank, which took place at the Four Point Hotel, Lagos.
The event, which was well attended by representatives from the Nigerian University Commission (NUC), National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), as well as captains of industries and top government functionaries, as part of efforts to grow more indigenous entrepreneurs among young Nigerians and deliberately create over 50,000 jobs in the next five years of the program circle.
Speaking during the launch, Chairman, NYPF, Moses Siasia, said that the grant was created to provide incubator support to enable young entrepreneurial postulants with creative ideas in Agriculture, ICT and creative economy start or expand their business concepts in those areas.
Siasia added that he was inspired by the big impact small businesses could have on the economy, stating that “I have built businesses from the scratch and I understand the challenges people face that is why I am optimistic that if given the necessary support, young Nigerians will not only grow the Nigerian economy, they will completely revolutionise it.”
Speaking also, the Managing Director of Heritage Bank, who was represented by the Head of Marketing Strategy, Mr Obioma Emenike, said he was optimistic that the initiative would lead to start-ups and give a boost to economic growth. He called out to entrepreneurs to use their network to encourage their friends and colleagues apply for it.
The YESGrant is expected to provide business training for up to 600 aspiring young entrepreneurs spread across all geo-political zones in Nigeria and would encourage expansion, specialisation and spin-offs of existing businesses, which is to enable young entrepreneurs access a wide business professional network and improve their visibility, while entrepreneurs will receive up to N2million annually as grant.
Furthermore, students studying in Nigeria will receive up to N500,000, while those studying in the United Kingdom will receive up to £3,000 and those studying in the United States are expected to receive about $5,000 annually as grant.
To apply for the YESGrant available at www.yesgrant.com prospective recipients must be between the ages of 18 to 40, be registered members of the Nigerian Young Professionals Forum (NYPF) and have an account with Heritage Bank prior to the disbursement of the funds in August 2016. Student’s award recipients must in addition provide their matriculation number and academic progression report.