BOI YES Program

Insight into the BOI YES Program

About the BOI YES Program

The Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) Program (i.e BOI YES Program) is an initiative of the federal government of Nigeria by the Bank of Industry. It seeks to encourage entrepreneurship among the Nigerian youths by offering them a term loan of up to NGN 5 million at an interest rate of 9% per annum. In addition, the loan tenure can be as much as 5 years. A moratorium of 6 months is also inclusive so you don’t have to worry about repayment until after 6 months of first disbursal. To read more on the program, check out www.boi.ng/yes

Applying for the BOI YES Program

I was a successful applicant in the 2nd edition of the program. My business was in the information technology domain. Their application is done through www.onlineregportal.com. It is important to state that there should be no fear of favoritism during your application. I assure you that neither I nor the friends I made during the program had any connection whatsoever that got us in. However, your application has to reveal your preparedness. It must be explicit yet simple enough. It must reveal your knowledge of the your business proposition and your ability to manage to success.

If you require assistance with your application, click here to contact us at epsolutions. We have a connection of people who have gone through the program ranging across sectors from agriculture to information technology, to hospitality, to entertainment, to power and waste conversion, and so on.

Program Structure

After the application stage, successful applicants are notified through their E-mail address. The list of successful applicants is also published on their website. However, if your application was not successful, you will also receive an E-mail notification from them. But not to worry, you might realize it is a blessing eventually when you see a host of successful applicants months later decrying their disappointment in the program and describing it as a waste of time.

Online Training

If your application was successful, congratulations to you. The E-mail you get will definitely spell out the next stages. First of all, is the online training on Africa Managers Initiative AMI. The training is for 3 months. I will advice you to approach this phase with commitment and open-mindedness. The training spans across leadership, communication, research, business plan, marketing, financial analysis, customer segmentation and profiling, time management, negotiation, presentation, branding, value proposition and so on. There is quite a lot to be learnt here. You will need to dedicate some of your time to it so that you can enroll for courses as they open and finish it before they close. If you miss any course, don’t worry. Typically, all courses are reopened some weeks to the end of the online training. Yet, truth is that your grade here does not influence your application in anyway; just pass and move on. You can download your certificate for each course you pass.

In-class Training

The second phase is the in-class training. This phase to me is the best part of the program and this is so for several reasons. Whilst there is much to be learnt here also, it is the networking possibility it presents that makes it really worthwhile. Depending on your location, BOI has partnered several enterprise development training centers to deliver this phase. In my case, my 1 week in-class training was at Enterprise Development Center EDC, Lagos Business School, Pan Atlantic University. It is stressful but worthwhile. Classes start by 9 a.m and ends by 5 pm everyday. However there is tea break in the morning and lunch break in the afternoon. On a lighter note, some fellow participants have described the food during this period as the best part of the program – lol, funny indeed. Some of the people I met during this phase, we have come to become really good friends and have partnered in other ways.

Proper Loan Application

This is where the ugly side of the program begin to manifest. Firstly, you need to know that your journey till this point has nothing to do with your loan. Whatever you filled in your application that got you into the program is irrelevant. The only reason while you had to go through all the prior stages is to get the certificate of participation in the BOI YES Capacity Building Program which is required to make the proper application. Usually, only about 10-20% of people that get to this stage eventually gets the money.

After the training, the application loan application portal opens to successful candidates. After successful application, your relationship officer will contact you. He or She will request more documents from you and you will have to submit the hard copies of your documents. When you’ve met all the requirements, they appraise your project and then you might either get an offer letter or a letter of regret stating they can not fund your project.

When you have the offer letter, you will then be required to come with your guarantors to sign the loan terms. An offer letter does not mean you get the loan. There are other requirements the bank comes up with at this point that can still frustrate you out. If you get the loan, congrats. Pray the organisation of the bank is not the same as during application when they come up with deadlines and change terms overnight without proper communication. Also pray not to be in a position of default, forget the description of the scheme as youth support. The bank I have come to know will get their money back. From you or from your guarantors.

Conclusion

In order to drive home the points, my conclusions are listed below

  1. The bank needs to improve on their organisation. Coming up with deadlines overnight without proper communication is unthinkable considering their pedigree
  2. All requirements from start to finish should be explicitly stated from the onset. This will allow applicants prepare their mind ahead. They can also decide early not to embark on a wild goose chase if they feel they can’t meet the requirements. Believe me when i tell you that as you turn one corner, there is at least another hurdle to be crossed
  3. I believe business appraisals should not necessarily be done by the bank staffs. They should however, leave it to professionals in those fields. Since they’ve partnered with business development service providers across different sectors, it is only proper to let those who understand a business appraise it. BOI can then rely on their recommendation.
  4. The scheme is unreliable for you as an entrepreneur. Simply don’t rely on it no matter what you might believe.

Here is a link to another article I found interesting by another participant in the program.

https://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/letters/boi-yes-programme-waste-of-time/177252.html

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