About 1,850 entrepreneurs across the federation are to benefit from a loan facility to be available through the National Economic Reconstruction Fund (NERFUND).
Sidney E. Inegbedion, president, Nigeria Entrepreneurs Forum (NEF) who disclosed this during a three-day workshop for entrepreneurs organised by the forum, said “the facility is to help the prospective beneficiary start and grow small and medium businesses. NEF is a private sector driven initiative which enjoys the support from public sector establishment. It is a platform for Nigerian business owners to interact, network and do business with one another.
According to Inegbedion, “the NERFUND can provide up to N100,000 to N5 million for small and medium enterprises, and N6 million to N100 million to macro businesses for the members, provided they are meant for production business.”
The president at the workshop titled ‘Entrepreneurship Development Programme: Starting and Growing Small Business,’ said the association signed a MoU with NERFUND last year to facilitate loan facility for its members through NERFUND.
“The MoU for the loan for the SMEs was signed in October last year between NERFUND and the organsisation, and we have to put in place the structure to assess the loan based on the agreement between NERFUND. The association’s goal is to attract at least 50 micro businesses per state, including FCT; we have about 1850 SME that will benefit from the fund and this will be on regular basis,” he stated.
The organization, he said, is supported by the Ministry of Trade and Investment and NERFUND through which it can attract fund for new businesses to grow and for the existing ones to expand. He hinted that no fewer than six states across the country have sought the assistance of the NEF to train their youths on special skills to provide employment and then create wealth, eventually.
Inegbedion listed the beneficiary states to include Ogun, Adamawa, Bayelsa, Ondo and Niger, adding that while Adamawa State had prepared over 450 youths to receive skills acquisition training to be provided by NEF, Ondo State had already deposited N200 million in the NERFUND vault for its indigene-trainees to access after the training.
While stressing that the forum had been in synergy with other agencies such as the Bank of Industry (BoI), Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), and Industrial Training Fund (ITF), he further assured that as time progresses, NEF would extend its benefits to the rest of the states in the country.
The NEF purpose is to foster the development of enterprises across this country, with the hope that once they grow, it will create more employment opportunities for others, he explained. The forum provides training “that covers all aspects of new business start-up, management of business, how to write your business plan for funding purpose, how to manage your business effectively, and how to provide leadership for your business as it grows, even when you are not around. These are the major components of this training programme,” he stated.