By Gilbert Ekugbe
“This year, we have been able to generate about 11, 332 business ideas and we would be multiplying those we trained this year by three fold which is from 1000 to 3000. From Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund (GEF) 1 and 2, more than 33 per cent of those who applied, about 669 that applied for N1.27 billion that the bank gave approval, about 465 totaling about 786 million were approved and so far we have disbursed about N500 million to 300 enterprises that that have been fully established where they have created about 2700 jobs.”
These were words from Olukayode Pitan, Managing Director BOI at the 3rd edition of its GEF programme for corps members. The BOI boss who was represented by the Executive Director SMEs, BOI, Waheed Olagunju, stated that the bank is working relentlessly to build an ecosystem for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), noting that there is no way Nigeria would meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 without recording successes in entrepreneurship development.
Earlier, the Director General, NYSC, Brigadier-General, Suleiman Kazaure, said from inception in 2015 till date, close to 3000 corps members have been trained under the GEF programme, but stressed that the number though encouraging is like a tip of the iceberg in the ocean of unemployment.
He appealed to the Management of the bank to scale up the number of would-be beneficiaries, saying that this would no doubt give the youths the opportunity to start their own businesses thereby reducing the national unemployment index.