For the last five years, MEDA has partnered with Cuso International in Nigeria on the Youth Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Access and Development (YouLead) project. The Youth Entrepreneurship Business Support Plan (YEBSP) is just one of the many activities aimed at improving financial inclusion for young entrepreneurs in Cross River State. Three cycles of the business plan competition have been launched over the course of the project (see last blog with full update at Youth Enterprise Business Support Plan (YEBSP)).
The YEBSP was designed to support young entrepreneurs who have undergone entrepreneurship training through the Youlead project and who have plans to start or expand their businesses with the ultimate aim of reducing unemployment and promoting sustainable economic growth in the natural resource sector in Cross River State. Young entrepreneurs were also able to use their YEBSP grants to leverage more funds from partner microfinance banks for their businesses.
The table below represents the distribution of grant awardees (by gender) across the 3 cycles of the YEBSP.
Once all grants were disbursed, a team of Youlead staff were tasked with visiting all grantees to monitor and assess their performance in using the funds and in starting or growing their businesses. Below are some success stories from the monitoring visits:
Agip: As a young entrepreneur from Obubura local government, she is into cassava production and processing. After the project’s entrepreneurship training, she applied for the YEBSP 1st cycle, from which she was awarded ₦100,000 (approximately CAD 350) to start her business.
She has been able to makeod profit from the first cycle of her business, and has been able to add these profits to her personal savings to set up a hair-dressing salon.
Having two streams of income, from her cassava and hair-dressing businesses, has enabled to support her younger siblings in their education.
Kalu: A YEBSP grantee from Obubura local government, she is into cassava production. After her YouLead entrepreneurship training, she successfully applied and received a grant of ₦150,000 (approximately CAD 550) from the YEBSP 2nd cycle. She has diversified from production into processing by using her funds to purchase a cassava grinding machine and expand her production. Six months later, she was able to purchase another grinding machine and two plots of land, and has even employed someone to operate the machines.
She also has a computer business centre in Obubra. During the monitoring visit, she expressed her excitement and happiness at being able to take better care of her younger ones and support.
Mathias: A young entrepreneur from Obanliku local government, he is into rice production. He was awarded ₦100,000 (approximately CAD 350) from the 1st cycle of the YEBSP. He used the grant to leverage additional funds from Ogoja Microfinance Bank and has comfortably repayed his loan.
He started with 5 hectares of rice farming and now has 15 hectares, making him one of the biggest rice farmers in Obanliku. He has become a multiple business man, owning a cattle farm and even consulting for some big rice farms in Cross River and Ebonyi states.
Jane: A young entrepreneur from Obanliku local government, she was awarded ₦200,000 (approximately CAD 700) to venture into fishery. She started the fish business but was faced with the challenge of access to good water, so her fish were not growing well.
She made no profit from the 1st cycle of her fish business. However, she was able to practice her entrepreneurial skills and knowledge and remained undeterred by her challenges. She thus changed her business to poultry and is now making a profit from this business.
The Youlead team visited and monitored hundreds of YEBSP grantees, some of which have been successful and some less so. The stories highlighted in this blog are meant to showcase successes and hopefully serve as role models to other YEBSP grantees and Youlead trainees.