An innovative solution to high youth unemployment involves training and low-interest loans for young entreprenuers, writes Musa Temidayo, 24, a Graduate Intern at FATE Foundation and a Commonwealth Correspondent from Nigeria.
In my final year at the university, I can remember sitting at our so called ‘basement’ and the topic on everyone’s lips was how to get something doing and start living the ‘good life’.
The majority of my fellow students are keenly interested in working for those big corporations that will pay them in six digits or more. The minority that want to start their own businesses are afraid that they would not be able to do that, because they lack funds to set up, and access to credit and loans in Nigeria is not easy as advertised in the dailies. The terms and conditions are drafted in a way that it would not be possible for you to repay the loans within the time frame given, and at the end you lose your collateral or your guarantor is held responsible to pay up.
According to National Bureau of Statistics, more than 200,000 students graduate yearly from university. These are not just numbers. With an economy that cannot employ all these with jobs, there is need to create a more viable entrepreneurial drive that will make youth create jobs for themselves, and that’s what the Bank of Industry is doing!
Imagine supporting business plans of young graduates with the right credit finance without any stringent policy attached? Do you know how many more jobs will be created if over one thousand youths get finances to start their businesses? I am sure these are the questions that the Bank of Industry had to answer to roll out a scheme that allows graduates to access loans for setting up their individual businesses.
I was privileged to be on a team with superb facilitators like Mrs. Adenike Adeyemi (Executive Director), Mrs. Oge Nnaife, Mr. Fatai Olayemi and Mr. Amobi Okeke from FATE Foundation, whose task was to train corps members from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) on being a successful entrepreneur. The training is an initiative of the Bank of Industry in conjunction with NYSC and supported by FATE Foundation alongside other enterprise development organisations. Corps members were trained on how to set up their business, getting their facts right, how to go about marketing, building a convincing business plan to attract more investors, and the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur.
The training, which lasted for three days, had over three thousand applications. Out of that number only one thousand applications were accepted and enrolled for the compulsory training in selected NYSC camps across the nation. FATE Foundation trained 155 corp members in Lagos and Osun state. At the end of the training, participants will be required to submit their refined business plans, and afterwards loans will be released to them to kick start their business.
While a good number of the participants are full of hope that they will finally get a low interest loan to start their business, some are of the opinion that they would not believe the whole scheme until they have the loans that the federal government promised them. The good thing about the whole training is that over 1000 participants will leave the training boot camp to go and build their business plans and not just build a resume to start joining the millions of other unemployed youth in search of jobs.
This blog post was originally published on the 30th of December, 2015 on The Commonwealth Youth Programme blog http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/economic-development/entrepreneurship-employment/business-plan-and-loans-open-doors-for-youth/
About Temidayo Musa
About me: I am an education and research enthusiast and essayist who studied International Relations at Obafemi Awolowo University. Once upon a time, I was the Editor-in-Chief for DIPLOMAG. I am an Ambassador for A world At School (UK), Director of Advocacy for Organization of African Youth for Development & Peace and also belongs to several bodies with a great passion for education advocacy, human rights and youth development. I am also the fictional leader of #Taylor-swift’s fan in Nigeria.