By Uche Amunike
As part of its policy to address the rising rate of youth unemployment and underemployment in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Wednesday, has issued the guidelines for the implementation of the Tertiary Institutions Entrepreneurship Scheme, (TIES).
According to the CBN, the TIES is in partnership with Nigerian polytechnics and universities to harness the potentials of graduate entrepreneurs in the country.
It is designed to create a paradigm shift among undergraduates and graduates from chasing white-collar jobs to having a culture of entrepreneurship development for economic development and job creation.
The guideline which was articulated in a document, titled Guidelines for the Implementation of Tertiary Institutions Entrepreneurship Scheme and dated October 2021, stipulated that the scheme was pursuant to the CBN Act, 2007.
It also aims to provide an innovative financing model that will enhance the entrepreneurial ecosystem, support economic growth and development and also create jobs.
It is a scheme that is expected to enhance access to finance by both undergraduates and graduates of polytechnics and universities in Nigeria with innovative, entrepreneurial and technological ideas.
Some of the objectives of the scheme include providing an enabling environment for co-creation, creating and accelerating a culture of innovation driven entrepreneurship skills among graduates of polytechnics and universities in Nigeria, boosting contribution of non-oil sector to the nation’s GDP, fast-tracking ideation, mentoring and developing entrepreneurial and technological innovations, leapfrogging entrepreneurial capacity of undergraduates and graduates for entrepreneurship and economic development in partnership with academia and industry practitioners.
Activities expected to be carried out under the scheme include innovative startups and existing businesses owned by graduates of Nigerian polytechnics and universities in agribusiness- production; storage and logistics; processing; information technology – application/software development; business process outsourcing; robotics; data management; entertainment; artwork; publishing; culinary/events management; fashion; photography; beauty/ cosmetics; ticketing systems; renewable energy; data management; artwork and waste management.
Participants will be classified into two groups. Tier 1 candidates will receive N5m (five million naira) with a tenure of 5 years at 5% interest, 9% as from March 2022 and moratorium of 12 months while the two candidates will receive as much as N25m (twenty five million naira) under similar terms.
The CBN interest payment and principal repayments shall be made on monthly or quarterly basis by the obligor, depending on the established cash flow cycle and in line with the approved repayment schedule.
They stated that under the scheme, five top Nigerian polytechnics and universities with the best entrepreneurial ideas shall be awarded grants with the best receiving N150m (One hundred and fifty million naira).
From 2nd to 5th, the grants will be N120m (one hundred and twenty million naira), N100m (one hundred million naira), N80m (eighty million naira) and N50m (fifty million naira) in that order.
The Apex bank urged interested Nigerian polytechnics and universities to apply, so as to participate in the national biennial entrepreneurship competition, showcasing brief details of the project’s potential impact and evidence of originality.
The eligibility criteria for participation according to the CBN shall be:
i. First-degree certificate (B.Sc/HND/ or its equivalent);
ii. National Youth Service Certificate (NYSC) discharge or Exemption Certificate;
iii. Certificate of Participation issued by polytechnics and universities evidencing entrepreneurship training; and
iv. Not more than 7 years post-NYSC.