As part of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) policy measures to address rising youth unemployment and underemployment in Nigeria, CBN has developed the Tertiary Institutions Entrepreneurship Scheme (TIES), in partnership with Nigerian polytechnics and universities to harness the potential of entrepreneurs (gradpreneurs) in the country.

The Entrepreneurship Scheme is designed to create a paradigm shift among undergraduates and graduates from the pursuit of white-collar jobs to a culture of entrepreneurship development for economic development and job creation. The Entrepreneurship Scheme thus aims to provide an innovative financing model that will create jobs, enhance the entrepreneurial ecosystem and support economic growth and development.

CBN Tertiary Institution Entrepreneurship Scheme Objectives

The broad objective of the Entrepreneurship Scheme is to enhance access to finance by undergraduates and graduates of polytechnics and universities in Nigeria with innovative entrepreneurial and technological ideas. Other specific objectives of the Entrepreneurship Scheme include:

Entrepreneurship Scheme
  • Provision of an enabling environment for co-creation, mentorship and development of entrepreneurial and technological innovations
  • Fast track ideation, creation and acceleration of a culture of innovation-driven entrepreneurship skills among graduates of polytechnics and universities in Nigeria
  • Promote gender balance in entrepreneurship development through capacity development and improved access to finance;
  • Leapfrog entrepreneurial capacity of undergraduates and graduates for entrepreneurship and economic development in partnership with academia and industry practitioners; and
  • Boost contribution of the non-oil sector to the nation’s GDP.

The focal target of the CBN Tertiary Institution Entrepreneurship Scheme

To ensure that the Scheme achieves its desired objective and targets, the focal targets under the Scheme shall include the number of:

  • Gradpreneur-led innovative start-ups and businesses with access to finance under the Scheme – 25,000 annually;
  • Sustainable jobs created by gradpreneur-led businesses financed under the Entrepreneurship Scheme – 75,000 annually;
  • Female-gradpreneurs financed as a percentage of total projects financed under the Entrepreneurship Scheme – 50% per annum;
  • Agropreneurs financed as a percentage of total projects financed under the Entrepreneurship Scheme – 40% annum;
  • Creative entrepreneurs financed as a percentage of total projects financed under the Entrepreneurship Scheme – 20% per annum;
  • Techpreneurs financed as a percentage of total projects financed under the Entrepreneurship Scheme – 20% per annum; and
  • Other gradpreneurs financed as a percentage of total projects financed under the Entrepreneurship Scheme – 20% per annum.
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CBN Tertiary Institution Entrepreneurship Scheme Eligibility

Activities to be covered under the Scheme shall include innovative start-ups and existing businesses owned by graduates of Nigerian polytechnics and universities in the following areas:

Agribusiness: production, processing, storage and logistics;
Information technology: application/software development, business process outsourcing, robotics, data management;
Creative industry: entertainment, artwork, publishing, culinary/event management, , photography, beauty/cosmetics;
Science and technology: medical innovation, robotics, ticketing systems, traffic systems, renewable energy, waste management; and
Any other activity may be determined by the CBN from time to time.

Priority will also be given to innovative entrepreneurial activities with high potentials for export, job creation and transformational impact.

CBN Tertiary Institution Entrepreneurship Scheme Funding

The take-off capital will be sourced from both the Agribusiness / Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AgSMEIS). The Entrepreneurship Scheme shall be implemented through three (3) components:

  • Term Loan Component;
  • Equity Investment Component;
  • Developmental Component

Term Loan Component

Graduates of Nigerian polytechnics and universities shall be eligible to participate under the Term Loan Component, which shall be implemented as below

S/No.ClassificationDynamicsDocumentation RequirementsCollateral Requirements
1Tier 1 – Individual projectsLoan Limit: N5.0 million
Tenor: 5 years
Interest Rate: 5% per annum (9% effective from March 1, 2022, or as may be prescribed by the CBN)
Moratorium: Maximum of 12 months on principal and interest
▪ The applicant shall apply as a business entity registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and certified true copies (CTC) of relevant forms submitted;

▪ Bank Verification Number (BVN);
▪ First-degree certificate (BSc/HND or its equivalent);
▪ National Youth Service Certificate (NYSC) discharge or exemption certificate; and
▪ Certificate of Participation issued by polytechnics and universities evidencing entrepreneurship training.
▪ Duly signed Global Standing Instruction (GSI); and
▪ Third party guarantee from a senior federal/state civil or public servant (not below level 10 and not having less than 5 years to retire from service), clergy of note and reputation or recognized traditional ruler.
2Tier 2 – Partnership / Company projectsLoan Limit: N25.0 million
Tenor: 5 years
Interest Rate: 5% per annum (9% effective from March 1, 2022, or as may be prescribed by the CBN)
Moratorium: Maximum of 12 months on principal and interest
The partnership or company shall apply as a registered business with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and certified true copies (CTC) of relevant forms submitted.
Each member of the partnership or company shall also submit:
▪ Bank Verification Number (BVN);
▪ First-degree certificate (BSc/HND or its equivalent);
▪ National Youth Service Certificate (NYSC) discharge or exemption certificate; and
▪ Certificate of Participation issued by polytechnics and universities evidencing entrepreneurship training.
▪ Duly signed Global Standing Instruction (GSI) by a member of the partnership or company; and
▪ Third party guarantee from a senior federal/state civil or public servant (not below level 10 and not having less than 5 years to retire from service), clergy of note and reputation or recognized traditional ruler.

Eligibility Criteria for Participation

Applicants under the Entrepreneurship Scheme shall be graduates of Nigerian polytechnics and universities with:

  • First-degree certificate (BSc/HND/ or ’s equivalent);
  • National Youth Service Certificate (NYSC) discharge or exemption certificate;
  • Certificate of Participation issued by polytechnics and universities evidencing entrepreneurship training; and
  • Not more than 7 years post-NYSC.
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Repayment of loans granted

Interest payment and principal repayment shall be made on a monthly or quarterly basis by the obligor depending on the established cash flow cycle and in line with the approved repayment schedule.

Award of grants for the CBN Tertiary Institution Entrepreneurship Scheme

Five (5) top Nigerian polytechnics and universities with the best entrepreneurial pitches/ideas shall be awarded as follows:

  • First place – N150.0 million;
  • Second place – N120.0 million;
  • Third place – N100.0 million;
  • Fourth place – N80.0 million; and
  • Fifth place – N50.0 million.

The Entrepreneurship scheme grants shall be in the following areas:

  • Agribusiness;
  • Information technology;
  • Creative industry; and
  • Science and technology.

The Bank shall constitute a Body of Experts (BoE) from the private and public sector for the biennial regional and national entrepreneurship competitions to evaluate entrepreneurial and technological innovations submitted by Nigerian polytechnics and universities. The Body of Experts (BoE) shall recommend projects with high potential and transformational impact for the grant award.

CBN Tertiary Institution Entrepreneurship Participating Polytechnics and Universities

Participating polytechnics and universities shall:

  • Develop a curriculum or programme for the training or retraining of graduates in entrepreneurship development;
  • Issue certificates of completion to its graduates evidencing participation in the entrepreneurship development training programmes;
  • Authenticate applicants’ first-degree certificates;
  • Develop a recourse platform for registering, digitization and offboarding of submitted certificates under the Scheme;
  • Create a central platform for digitizing submitted certificates and provide a feedback loop with PFIs on collateralised certificates;
  • Provide ideation, creation and acceleration hubs for undergraduates to actualise their entrepreneurial ideas;
  • Present entrepreneurial projects for participation in the regional and national contests under the Grant Component;
  • Carry out all relevant due diligence and plagiarism checks on all entrepreneurship projects presented for the regional and national contests;
  • Forward list of all trained and certified graduates on entrepreneurship to the CBN;
  • Facilitate the actualisation/implementation of the winning projects within the community it was projected to be implemented;
  • Render periodic status reports on the winning projects as may be specified by the CBN from time to time; and
  • Provide awareness and training sessions for undergraduates on entrepreneurship development.
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Participating Finance Institutions

The Participating Finance Institutions shall

  • Participate in the development of the online application portal to facilitate submission of applications by prospective beneficiaries for the term loan;
  • Carry out all relevant due diligence on applicants and submitted certificates under the term loan component of the Scheme;
  • Provide at least one credit report on the promoter(s) for all projects;
  • Register all movable assets accepted or financed, including submitted certificates, as collaterals for the loan with the National Collateral Registry (NCR);
  • Issue a letter evidencing the registration of the applicant’s certificates with the NCR;
  • Forward verified and approved applications to the CBN for further processing and approval;
  • Disburse released funds to beneficiaries’ accounts within 5 working days of receipt;
  • In line with 8.3(vii), return undisbursed funds to the CBN after 14 working days of receipt of the funds;
  • Remit monthly or quarterly interest and principal repayments to the CBN within 5 working days of the subsequent month depending on the approved repayment schedule;
  • Collaborate with the CBN in engaging independent monitors to carry out periodic verification and monitoring projects financed;
  • The PFI shall remit interests and principal repayments received to the Entrepreneurship Scheme on a monthly or quarterly basis depending on the established cash flow cycle and in line with the approved repayment schedule;
  • Render periodic returns as may be specified by the CBN from time to time;
  • Discharge all movable collaterals used to securitize the loan on the National Collateral Registry within one month of repayment, and notify the customer accordingly; and
  • Comply with the Guidelines of the Programme.

CBN Tertiary Institution Entrepreneurship Beneficiaries

The beneficiary shall:

Apply on the dedicated online portal and provide all required documentation to support the application;
Present for verification original copies of submitted certificates and documents;
Submit a business proposal and other documentation requirements
Adhere strictly to the terms and conditions of the Entrepreneurship Scheme and avoid any forms of plagiarism in the project idea;
Utilize the funds for the purpose for which it was granted;
Present the business and its location for mapping/tagging, as well as monitoring and evaluation;
Maintain accurate and up-to-date records available for inspection/verification by the CBN and Monitoring Team; and
Adhere strictly to the terms and conditions of the Entrepreneurship Scheme.

The Entrepreneurship Scheme shall be managed by the Development Finance Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

  • The CBN reserves the right to reject an application from any applicants that do not meet the requirements of the Guidelines.
  • The CBN may amend these Guidelines from time to time and may waive any part of these Guidelines upon the approval of the Governor.

The CBN Tertiary Institution Entrepreneurship Scheme shall be operated for 10 years in the first instance (not exceeding 31st December 2031) depending on the complexity of the project. For further information on the guidelines and other enquiries, please visit www.cbn.gov.ng. Signed by Director, Development Finance Department.

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CBN Entrepreneurship Scheme Guidelines #gradpreneurs 1
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