By Joy Odigie
The Edo Government on Thursday promised to provide N100 million loan to 40 young entrepreneurs in the state to help them expand their businesses.
Governor Godwin Obaseki made the promise when he visited the entrepreneurs currently participating in the Aspiring Entrepreneurs Programme (AEP): Digital Benin Edition, organised by FATE Foundation and Facebook at Edo Innovation Hub, Benin.
Obaseki said the amount was part of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s N2 billion Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (MSME) facility to the state.
He said he would stand as collateral and guarantor for the loan which had a nine per cent interest rate and three years repayment period.
He said the loan was a reinforcement of his campaign promise of providing jobs for young people as well as creating the enabling environment for them to set up and grow their businesses.
He commended Facebook and FATE Foundation for the digital training, noting that successful businesses around the world were hinged on Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
“Many of the entrepreneurs here have the potentials to set up their businesses and employ others.
“For us as government, we want to create the enabling environment for young people to take advantage of the resources available in the state to do things for themselves.
He said Edo government was collaborating with FATE foundation and Facebook to train thousands of people in digital skills and help youths build their entrepreneurship capacity and access links to market.
The governor congratulated the young entrepreneurs for participating in the training and advised them to remain focused and avoid distraction.
Earlier, the Executive Director, FATE Foundation, Mrs Adenike Adeyemi, said the youths were being trained on wealth creation, digital marketing and how to develop business plans and models and financial literacy, among others.
Adeyemi said the participants comprising 28 males and 12 females, were drawn from different sectors, including agribusiness, beauty and fashion, consulting services, food and beverage, event management and healthcare.
Others are manufacturing, project management and real estate, recycling and digital technology.
She added that the organisation focused on linking experienced entrepreneurs to the young ones for knowledge sharing.