The Acting Managing Director, Bank of Industry (BoI), Mr Waheed Olagunju, said that the bank disbursed N48.44million loan to beneficiaries of the Kaduna Start up Entrepreneurship Programme(KADSTEP) for empowerment.
This is contained in a statement by Mr Waheed Olagunju on Wednesday in Abuja.
Olagunju said that loan beneficiaries were those whose business proposals met the bank’s Risk Acceptance Criteria (RAC) .
Olagunju disclosed this while presenting cheques to the beneficiaries of the programme.
He said that KADSTEP was designed by the Kaduna State Government in conjunction with the Kaduna Business School (kBS) and the Development Finance Institution.
He said the loan was aimed at empowering aspiring entrepreneurs to be able to access various intervention funds available to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the state.
“Apart from benefiting from other loan windows of the bank, under the KADSTEP, successful small business operators will also have opportunities to leverage on existing N1billion matching fund.
“Twenty-five budding entrepreneurs enlisted in the programme, which comprised two months intensive entrepreneurial training and one month practical session in business plans development,” Olagunju said.
“Only 15 graduates got loan cheques ranging from N2 million to N5 million.
He said that the bank and Kaduna Business School were working with the other 10 in a hand- holding manner and guiding them towards meeting the laid down Risk Acceptance Criteria.
According to him, “the bank is putting up the measures to increase the success rate of KADSTEP graduates to reduce the mortality rate.
“We are optimistic that most of them will eventually scale through and encourage others to complete their applications in good time so that they could also become beneficiaries,” he said.
Olagunju recommended the KADSTEP model to other states of the federation.
He said that the bank was committed to continue providing financial support to existing and start-up businesses across the nation.
Olagunju said that the bank would support the economic blueprint recently unveiled by the Kaduna State Government, saying if implemented, it was capable of making the state the economic hub of northern Nigeria.
Gov. Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State said that the state government was targeting creation of 5,000 young entrepreneurs in the next four years under the KADSTEP.
El-Rufai said that the next batch of 500 trainees would soon be inducted so that they could benefit from the programme.
“As business creators, they will strengthen the SMEs sector as a driver for job creation.
“Empowering our youths with the skills and the funding to establish businesses is not a trivial matter.
“The challenge of unemployment is largely a youth issue and people under 35 years constitute the significant majority of 8-10milion people that live in Kaduna state.
“Indeed 88 per cent of people in Kaduna is age 35 years and below,” el-Rufai said.
He said that the government would come up with initiative policies and programmes aimed at reducing poverty and empowering the people of the state.
He charged the beneficiaries to make integrity their abiding principle, adding that one of the best ways to make it in business was to be truthful and honest in all dealings.