Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria most innovative banking services provider, has concluded arrangement for a pre-disbursement of loan to beneficiaries of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Youth Innovative Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YIEDP). The CBN-YIEDP fund is a N3 billion fund sets aside by the apex bank for serving NYSC members and ex-NYSC members who have concluded their service since 2010.
The scheme is opened to serving youth corps members and non-NYSC members (not more than five years post NYSC) within the age bracket of 18 to 35. An individual beneficiary can have access to N3 million. It has a tenor of three years at an interest rate of nine percent.
In recognition of Heritage Bank commitment to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Youth development, the bank has been adopted by the CBN as the sole pilot bank for the Youth Innovative Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YIEDP).
According to statement made available by the Divisional Head, Corporate Communications of the bank Olusola Longe Okenimkpe, said in a bid to get the scheme off ground, the bank has organised a pre-disbursement training programme for select members of its staff across the country that will implement the scheme, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja.
The programme is aimed at harnessing the latent entrepreneurial spirit among the teeming youths by providing timely and affordable loans to implement their business ideas. The major objective of the scheme is to provide a sustainable mechanism to stimulate employment, contribute to the non-oil Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as well as address the challenge of youth restiveness in the country.
Also as part of the strategies, Heritage Bank is partnering with Background Check International to cross check the documents of the applicants, partnering with food processors to act as anchor for the beneficiaries as well as with Small and Medium Size Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN).
She hinted that with the launching of the programme on March 15, 2016, about 4,000 applicants had applied for the scheme out of which the bank shortlisted 1,500 applicants for training. 1,200 attended the training session. The bank eventually forwarded 50 applicants to the CBN out of which the apex bank approved 26 applications for loan disbursement. Dummy cheques will be presented to 10 of the 26 beneficiaries across the six geographical zones in the premises of the bank next month.
The qualified business sectors of the scheme include agro-allied, food processing/preservation, arts and crafts, manufacturing/cottage industry, information and communication technology, construction support, power & energy, education and financial inclusion, film and photography and automobile among others.