No fewer than nine hundred and sixty seven (967) Corps members are participating in the second edition of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC)- Bank of Industry (BOI) Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund (GEF) training.
The training, which is taking place simultaneously in seven centres across the country, is aimed at tackling the high incident of youth unemployment in Nigeria. The GEF is designed to deepen financial inclusion by de-risking the NYSC members and making them eligible for small business loans.
Performing the flag-off ceremony at the FCT centre, the Director General of NYSC, Brig-Gen. S. Z. Kazaure, noted that the Bank of Industry had been providing Corps entrepreneurs with soft loans to establish their businesses since the commencement of partnership between the two organisations.
He hoped that the Bank of Industry will rapidly scale up the number of corps beneficiaries in the nearest future.
The NYSC Boss then enjoined all corps participants to take advantage of the opportunity by paying adequate attention to the training.
He called on other organisations to take a cue from the Bank of Industry and partner with the scheme in the provision of training and start up capital that will turn corps members into job creators.
Earlier in his remarks, the Managing Director of BOI, Mr Waheed Olagunju explained that the GEF programme is structured as an integration of capacity building and funding in three stages which are; careful screening /selection of corps members through an online business ideas competition, three-day intensive entrepreneurship training and soft loans for those with viable business ideas.
Represented by the Divisional head SME- SOUTH, Mr Abdul-Ganiyu Mohammed, Olagunju said that the training programme was a demonstration of how the energy and resourcefulness of young Nigerians could be harnessed and deployed into productive ventures and for the benefit of the Nigerian economy at large.
Olagunju added that the robustness of the programme and resources channelled into the review process of the business plans submitted by the participants led to the selection of viable and bankable projects that are being implemented by the young Nigerians.