The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued guidelines for the implementation of its Entrepreneurship Program in Higher Education Institutions (TIES) to harness the potential of graduate entrepreneurs.
The umbrella bank made this known on Wednesday in a document released and signed by Yusuf Yila Philip, CBN’s director of development finance.
The CBN said the goal of the CONNECTIONS is to improve access to finance for undergraduates and graduates of polytechnics and universities in Nigeria with innovative entrepreneurial and technological ideas.
The program aims to fund 25,000 graduates per year, which in turn will create an additional 75,000 sustainable jobs each year, according to the bank.
The CBN has declared that start-ups and existing businesses in areas such as agribusiness, information technology, creative industry, as well as science and technology are eligible for funding in the program framework.
He further noted that priority would be given to innovative entrepreneurial activities with high export potential, job creation and transformational impact.
The umbrella bank explained that the program will be implemented through three components, namely a term loan, equity investment and development components.
Under the term loan component, an individual project can access a maximum loan of N5 million with a term of five years and an interest rate of five percent per annum (nine percent from 1 March 2022, or as prescribed by the CBN)
For partnership / enterprise projects, the loan is limited to N25 million.
“Applicants under the program must be graduates of Nigerian Polytechnics and Universities with an undergraduate certificate (BSc / HND / or its equivalent); National Youth Service Certificate (NYSC) discharge or exemption certificate; Certificate of participation issued by polytechnics and universities attesting to entrepreneurship training; and no more than 7 years after NYSC, ”the document reads.
The CBN added that the equity investment component will take the form of a fresh capital injection for start-ups, expansion of established businesses or revival of struggling entrepreneurial businesses.
Another component of the intervention is the development component which will be paid in the form of grants to Nigerian polytechnics and universities as part of a biennial national entrepreneurship competition.
The umbrella bank said it will provide grants worth 500 million naira to five of the best Nigerian polytechnics and universities with the best business case / ideas.
Only undergraduates from Nigerian Polytechnics and Universities are eligible to participate in the Development Stream.
“Five Nigerian Polytechnics and Universities with the best arguments / entrepreneurial ideas will be awarded as follows: first place – N150m; second place – N120m; third place – N100m; fourth place – N80m; and fifth place – N50m ”, adds the document.
Interested applicants should apply on the dedicated online portal (https://cbnties.com.ng) and provide all required documents to support the application.