Friday, September 10, 2010

Access to Capital: It's slowly increasing.

The Africa Leadership Forum (ALF) April 7, 2010 in Abuja, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Economic Reconstruction Fund (NERFUND) to provide single digit interest loans to trainees of the Entrepreneurship Development Centre, Lagos.

The disbursement of the loan will be monitored by both NERFUND and the ALF to ensure that beneficiaries merit and have produced bankable business plans approved by the Business Development unit of the EDC, Lagos. Each loan has a maximum tenure of three years with a six to nine months moratorium. All the trainees with business in productive sector can benefit from the scheme. First batch of business plan submitted for risk analysis and assessment. Disbursement will follow as soon as this exercise is completed.

According to the MOU selected beneficiaries must established their businesses under the supervision of ALF-EDC and NERFUND and they must be graduates of the EDC, Lagos whose businesses are registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission. Each of the beneficiaries would be required to provide 10 percent of value of the proposed business and also provide copies of their EDC training certificate and business plan endorsed by the Centre.
The terms are further clarified that small enterprises are the primary focus “with the possibility to cover small and medium enterprises later”. Such enterprises are also expected to engage in direct production of goods and services “with not less than sixty percent (60%) local content”.

It is also meant for starting new businesses as well as business expansion for those trained under the EDC scheme. The MOU was signed on behalf of ALF by Mr. Ayodele Aderinwale, its Executive Director, while the Managing Director of NERFUND, Mr. Baba Maina Gimba endorsed the agreement for the Fund. Also present were the Project Director, EDC, Lagos, Dr. Olumide Ajayi; NERFUND Project Legal Adviser, Mrs. I. Ike.
Other government agencies that signed similar MOU with NERFUND include National Centre for Women’s Development, National Directorate for Employment (NDE) and Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agencies (SMEDAN).

The EDC Lagos, operated by the Africa Leadership Forum, is the implementing Agency (IA) for the South West geopolitical zone of the CBN Entreprenuership Development Project. It has trained 7,881 and counseled 8,501 clients since inception in April 2008. Furthermore, the Centre has trained thousands of clients of the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA). Currently, the Centre is working with Ekiti State Government and to date, 97 graduates of Ekiti State origin have undergone a three- month training programme, while the second phase of 103 graduates is due to commence shortly. In similar vein, EDC is partnering with the Foundation for Skills Development (FSD), Lift Above Poverty (LAPO), New Life Empowerment Initiative and other non-governmental organizations in the execution of its mandate.

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