The Nigerian Young Professionals Forum (NYPF) has announced its partnership with Heritage Bank for the provision of N500 million in seed capital for over 1000 young Nigerian entrepreneurs and students this year. Christened the YESGrant, this scheme is part of efforts by both organisations to grow more indigenous entrepreneurs among young Nigerians and deliberately create over 50,000 jobs in the next 5 years. In addition, it will encourage expansion, specialization and spin-offs of existing businesses, which will enable young entrepreneurs to access a wide professional network and improve their visibility.
The grants enable Nigerian students with extreme financial need pursue their academic dreams and aspirations in the areas of research and technological/scientific innovation. It will also help over 500 low-income and disadvantaged students with their tuition this year. Students in Nigeria will receive up to N500,000 annually, while those studying in the United Kingdom and the United States will receive up to £3,000 and $5,000, respectively. The programme will provide business training for up to 600 aspiring young entrepreneurs across the nation.
Speaking during the launch, which took place in Lagos last week, NYPF Chairman Moses Siloko Siasia said he was inspired by the big impact small businesses can have on the economy, adding that the grant was created to provide incubator support for young entrepreneurs with innovative ideas in agriculture, information communication technology (ICT) and the creative economy to start or expand their business concepts.
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“I have built businesses from the scratch and I understand the challenges people face and that is why I am optimistic that if given the necessary support, young Nigerians will not only grow the Nigerian economy, they will completely revolutionize it”, he said.
The event which was very well attended by dignitaries, including representatives from the Nigerian University Commission (NUC), National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), as well as captains of industries and top Government Functionaries.
While representing the managing director of Heritage Bank, head of Marketing Strategy Mr Obioma Emenike shared his optimism that the initiative would lead to more start ups and give a boost to economic growth. He issued a call for entrepreneurs to encourage friends and colleagues in their network to apply for it.
To apply for the YESGrant, prospective recipients must be between the ages of 18-40, be registered members of the NYPF and have an account with Heritage Bank prior to the disbursement of the funds in August 2016. Student award recipients must in addition provide their matriculation number and academic progression report.
Applications must be received by June 15, 2016.