The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued the guidelines for the implementation of the Tertiary Institutions Entrepreneurship Scheme (TIES).

According to the document, the scheme was pursuant to the CBN Act, 2007 and “as part of its policy measures to address rising youth unemployment and underemployment.”

The TIES, the bank said was in partnership with Nigerian polytechnics and universities to harness the potential of graduate entrepreneurs (gradpreneurs) in Nigeria.

“The Scheme is designed to create a paradigm shift among undergraduates and graduates from the pursuit of white-collar jobs to a culture of entrepreneurship development for economic development and job creation.

“The Scheme thus aims to provide an innovative financing model that will create jobs, enhance the entrepreneurial ecosystem and support economic growth and development,” it said.

TIES has been designed to enhance access to finance by undergraduates and graduates of polytechnics and universities in Nigeria with innovative entrepreneurial and technological ideas.

Specific objectives of the Scheme include:  To provide an enabling environment for co-creation, mentorship and development of entrepreneurial and technological innovations; Fast track ideation, creation and acceleration of a culture of innovation-driven entrepreneurship skills among graduates of polytechnics and universities in Nigeria; Leapfrog entrepreneurial capacity of undergraduates and graduates for entrepreneurship and economic development in partnership with academia and industry practitioners; and  Boost contribution of non-oil sector to the nation’s GDP.

Activities to be covered under the Scheme shall include innovative start-ups and existing businesses owned by graduates of Nigerian polytechnics and universities in agribusiness – production, processing, storage and logistics; Information technology – application/software development, business process outsourcing, robotics, data management; entertainment, artwork, publishing, culinary/event management, fashion, photography, beauty/cosmetics; and Science and technology – medical innovation, robotics, ticketing systems, traffic systems, renewable energy, as well as, waste management.

There would be two classes of participant, with tier 1 receiving N5 million with a tenor of five years at 5 percent interests, (9 percent ) as from March 2022 and moratorium of 12 months.

Tier 2 candidates could receive as much as N25 million under similar terms.

According to the CBN, interest payment and principal repayment 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.

It said that under the scheme, “Five top Nigerian polytechnics and universities with the best entrepreneurial pitches/ideas shall be awarded grants, with the best receiving N150 million.

From second to fifth, the grants would be N120 million, N100 million, N 80 million and N 50 million, in that order.

The CBN urged interested Nigerian polytechnics and universities to apply to participate in the national biennial entrepreneurship competition, outlining brief details of the project, potential impact and evidence of originality.

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