James Emejo in Abuja
The Bank of Industry (BoI) has approved a N48.44 million-credit to 15 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) under the Kaduna Startup Entrepreneurship Programme (KADSTED).
The beneficiaries represented applicants whose business proposals met the bank’s risk acceptance assessment.
KADSTED was initiated by the Kaduna State Government in conjunction with the Kaduna Business School (KBS) and the development finance institution to empower aspiring entrepreneurs to have access to various intervention funds which are available to SMEs in the state.
Speaking in Kaduna during the presentation of cheques to successful applicants, the acting Managing Director, BoI, Mr. Waheed Olagunju noted that the loans were approved for applicants who met the bank’s Risk Acceptance Criteria (RAC).
He added that the bank and KBS were currently working to help 10 other SMEs meet the RAC in order to benefit from the Reddit facility.
Olagunju said the bank was also introducing measures to increase the success rate of KADSTEP graduates with a view to reducing the mortality rate.
He said: “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.”
Under KADSTEP, successful small business operators would also have opportunities to leverage on existing N1 billion matching fund instituted between the bank and the state government.
Altogether, 25 startups had participated in a two-month intensive entrepreneurial training programme with one month practical session in business plans development-but only 15 graduates got credit facilities ranging from N2 million to N5 million.
The BoI acting MD further said that the bank would support the economic blueprint recently unveiled by the Kaduna State Government, noting that several of the initiatives contained in the document, if meticulously implemented, were capable of making the state the economic hub of northern Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, said the state government was targeting to empower 5,000 young entrepreneurs in the next four years under KADSTEP.
He further directed that the next batch of 500 trainees be immediately inducted so that they could also benefit in the programme.
The governor said: “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 percent of people in Kaduna is age 35 years and below.”