Kwara Earmarks N900m as Interest-free Loans for Young Entrepreneurs

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By Emmanuel Addeh

The Kwara State Government said yesterday that it had rolled out plans to support young entrepreneurs in the state with interest-free loans, valued at about N900 million in the first phase of the programme.

The scheme, the government said, is being coordinated by the State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP) office and is part of the plan by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to invest in and raise a new generation of successful entrepreneurs.

A statement by the KWASSIP Acting General Manager, Mr. Mohammed Brimah, stated that the first tranche of the programme was targeting at least 300 youngsters with viable business proposals, who could get up to N3 million each.

The statement said that at least 1,200 young people would benefit from the initiative over the next four years, describing it as one of Nigeria’s biggest investment in businesses owned by young people.

According to Brimah, “Kwapreneur” is open to Kwara youths with viable and scalable business ideas and not more than 35 years old, adding that registration is open through http://www.Kwapreneurs.com and runs from May 10 to May 18, 2021.

“Successful applicants will be trained and supported with interest-free loans ranging from N350,000 to N3,000,000 each, depending on the scale of their proposed businesses,” the statement noted.

Brimah noted that the scheme has been designed to harness the potential of enterprising youths and raise a new generation of leaders through sustainable empowerment, thereby spurring socio-economic growth and job creation in the state.

He added: “ Kwara under this administration believes in the talent and industry of her youths. To hasten economic development, we need them to become employers of labour.

“This is why we are set to support young people with visionary ideas with interest- free loans for their businesses.”

According to the government, the application process will be in stages, including idea pitching and presentations as well as training on business development before the release of funds.

“The youth-oriented programmes under KWASSIP are numerous. We have previously organised training for about 15,000 youths in basic digital skills, while we are looking to hit the 30, 000 mark in the next two years.

“Kwapreneur is also a sub-programme under K-power — a component for youths engagement and development,” Brimah said, adding that young people involved in high-potential business areas like agro-processing, logistics, transportation, among others, should apply.

According to the state government, no one covered in the age bracket is excluded, noting that all entries will be judged by experts and professionals on their economic value. “The most viable ideas will find their way through. We have put in place a free, fair and credible process to make it work. It is a non-interest loan. The icing on the cake is that beneficiaries have three months moratorium on the loans before they start refunding in tranches,” Brimah stated.