Heritage Bank Limited has upped the ante of its support for entrepreneurship and education in the country by launching a N500 million Young Entrepreneurs and Students (YES) Grant on Tuesday in Lagos.
The initiative, which is in partnership with the Nigerian Youth Professional Forum (NYPF), will, according to the bank, support students and young entrepreneurs toward socio-economic freedom.
The Heritage Bank Managing Director, Ifie Sekibo, in his remarks at the occasion explained that the bank’s support for the programme arises from the fact that the initiative aligns with the vision of the bank which is to help create, preserve and transfer wealth across generations.
The Managing Director, who was represented by Obioma Emenike, Group Head, Market Strategy, added that the bank will also support the project in terms of training the beneficiaries, disbursement of the grant as well as in the monitoring and evaluation of the project’s milestones as agreed with the beneficiaries. “We have been playing strongly in the education and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SME) sectors of the economy. This project syncs with our mission and vision as a bank. The age bracket of 18 to 40years for the beneficiaries also aligns with our corporate goal, just like the key sectors which include agriculture, ICT and creative industry, identified for the project are pivotal for economic growth” he said.
The NYPF, according to its Chairman, Moses Siasia, is a non-governmental organization conceived by a group of young professionals with the mission to promote innovative ideas for socio-economic development.
Siasia disclosed that the programme is geared toward assisting both aspiring and existing young entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses, and ultimately create jobs and distribute wealth in the economy.
For the students, the grant can be accessed for tuition fees to help low income students and technological research and innovation. Students in Nigeria can access up to N500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) only; students in the United Kingdom can access up to GBP 3000 (Three Thousand Pounds while Students in the United States can access up to $5,000 (Five Thousand Dollars).
For young entrepreneurs, the grant will be available for the following target sectors: Agriculture, Creative Industry, Information and Communication Technology. In each category, an entrepreneur with an existing business can access up to N2 million.
Before the latest initiative, Heritage Bank had packaged a N200m loan facility for young graduates willing to advance their dreams in small-scale businesses. It is also collaborating with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in the CBN initiative, Youth Innovation Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YIEDP).
Sekibo also recently re-affirmed the bank’s resolve to empower more Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria, stating that part of the bank’s commitment to empower SMEs is the establishment of an SME Clinic that is geared towards helping small businesses in addressing challenges associated with setting up businesses as well as mitigating the effects of certain business decisions by such entrepreneurs