First City Monument Bank (FCMB) has gone into partnership with Abia State government to provide financial and other technical support to existing and potential owners of SMEs in the state under the Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YEDP).
Under the partnership, FCMB is offering loans and technical support to eligible existing and aspiring young entrepreneurs who have viable business ideas.
An individual can access up to N3 million, while group projects jointly owned by three to five qualified beneficiaries can access up to N10 million, payable in three years at an interest rate of nine per cent.
According to a statement, target beneficiaries are members of NYSC (or those who not more than five years post-NYSC), those who possess a verifiable tertiary institution certificate and artisans with First School Leaving Certificate or a technical certificate or accredited proficiency certificate from the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE).
To ensure ease and convenience in accessing the facility as well as overall success of the partnership, the statement disclosed that FCMB had developed a product under the YEDP and a dedicated website where applicants can log in, fill a form and provide all requirements to benefit from the funding and other benefits associated with the programme.
Speaking at the Abia Mega Youth Summit held in the state recently, where the partnership between FCMB and the state was launched, the Executive Director, Business Development of the Bank, Mrs. Bukola Smith, described the financial institution’s intervention as another demonstration of its commitment to empower SMEs and youths in order to up-scale their contributions to the development of the country.
She said: “We recognise the role of SMEs as drivers of Nigeria’s development and how youths can key into the opportunities. The YEDP is a major platform to address the challenges of unemployment among youths, as it will go a long way to ensure availability and affordability of capital required by entrepreneurs and start-ups.
“With our partnership with the Abia State government, as well as the product and website we have developed for the YEDP, we are offering youths in the state multiple opportunities to get empowered and become successful business owners.”
In his address at the ceremony, the Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, said YEDP in the State was designed to change the old ways of empowering youths by partnering with strong institutions and provision of rights supports that would help them become better equipped, productive and contribute significantly to the well-being of the country in a sustainable manner.
The governor added: “With FCMB, we now have an opportunity to give our youths a very credible platform put together and presented to them by the Bank. I say to our youths to come up with beautiful and well-articulated business ideas and FCMB is ready to go with you all the way.”