Enterprise Bank recently launched it SME titled the Enterprise Graduate Empowerment Scheme (EGES), inspired by a personal experience of the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Bank – Mallam Ahmed Kurue.
This initiative is formulated to specially cater for young graduates who are brimming with ideas but do not have the financial capacity to bring their dreams to reality. According to Mallam Kurue, the initiative “is designed to bridge the gap that exists between the innovative entrepreneurial ideas of young school leavers and access to the right financial support to transform these ideas into concrete money making enterprises.“
According to a statement from the bank, such candidates who must be university or polytechnic graduates of not more than three years prior to the time of application are to apply through the bank’s website for a pre-qualification exercise. Those candidates who meet with the criteria will now be invited, taken through an intensive business appreciation programme, where they will learn practical book keeping, market intelligence, human resource management, conceptualization and implementation of business proposals among others. At the end of the programme, a test will be administered to select those that will participate in the Enterprise Graduate Empowerment Scheme.
Speaking during the launch, the Managing Director/CEO stated that EGES is in line with both the Federal Government transformation agenda and that of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on growth towards promoting the Micro Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector of the economy.
Mallam Kuru added that EGES is also meant to access the relatively unbanked sector of the economy by altering the negative mindset of the public that Nigerian banks do not support new and growing businesses.
Yetunde Dehinbo, a graduate of Industrial Chemistry from the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye and a participant in the programme, applauded the scheme, adding that “it is for people like me who really do not want to work for anybody.” She said: “…from day one, I have always known that I want to have my own business but there is no money to give expression to the business ideas that I have. I am currently into trading but will require assistance like EGES to take it to the next level.“
Olorunfemi Oluwasanmi Silas, who has just finished his National Youth Service is an Information and Communication Science graduate from the University of Ilorin, Ilorin. His desire is to go into the laundry or ICT business. As a fresh graduate with practically no experience, he stated that EGES will be very key in helping young school leavers to find their rhythm quickly. He however said, “…you should not just give me money and leave me. Just like the scheme has promised, the bank should be able to provide me with a lot of guidance to help me stabilize”