TIES: CBN’s way of addressing financing gap in entrepreneurship development

Access to finance is one of the major limiting factors to entrepreneurship development in Nigeria. The Central Bank of Nigeria, as part of its efforts to deepen credit delivery to address the challenges of unemployment, promote entrepreneurial spirits among Nigerian youths and enhance the spread of small and medium enterprises, in 2016, established the Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YEDP).

The programme is aimed at harnessing the latent entrepreneurial spirit of the teeming youths by providing timely and affordable finance to implement their business ideas.

To further promote entrepreneurship development among Nigerian youth, the CBN recently approved the implementation of the Tertiary Institutions Entrepreneurship Scheme (TIES). The Scheme is designed to create a paradigm shift among undergraduates and graduates of tertiary institutions in Nigeria, from white-collar jobs towards entrepreneurship development.

The guidelines for the implementation of the Scheme was recently published, while Bank of Industry (BOI) is presently partnering with the CBN for the pilot implementation phase.

In his maiden address on June 5, 2014, Godwin Emefiele, governor of the CBN stated that his vision would be to ensure that the Central Bank of Nigeria is more people focused, as its policies and programs would be geared towards supporting job creation, reducing the high level of Treasury Bill rates, improving access to credit for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), deepening its intervention program in the agricultural sector, building a robust payment system infrastructure that will help drive inclusion, in addition to key macroeconomic concerns such as exchange rate stability, financial system stability and maintaining a strong external reserve.

On November 25, 2021, Emefiele, formally launched the TIES, with a charge to beneficiaries to utilize the loans for the purpose it was meant for, just as he also inaugurated an 11-member Body of Experts to oversee the screening of prospective beneficiaries of the scheme aimed at tackling unemployment and underemployment among Nigerian youth.

Performing the launch at the Central Bank’s Head Office in Abuja on Thursday, November 25, 2021, Emefiele disclosed that the formal launch of the TIES and inauguration of the Body of Experts (BoE) for the Scheme’s Developmental Component underscored the critical roles youth play in building new blocks for economic growth, particularly as the country’s national growth was highly dependent on a strong and competitive business.

Read also: Can CBN’s TIES boost food production?

He said the scheme was developed in partnership with Nigerian polytechnics and universities, to harness the potential of graduate entrepreneurs by creating a paradigm shift from the pursuit of white-collar jobs to a culture of entrepreneurship for economic development and job creation.

Nigeria’s unemployment stood at 33.3 percent as of fourth quarter (Q4) 2020, with youth unemployment accounting for 42.5 percent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

However, the scheme is expected to create 75,000 jobs annually from entrepreneur graduates of universities and polytechnics.

It also targets 25,000 annually of gradpreneur-led innovative start-ups and businesses with access to finance under the Scheme, 50 per cent per annum, of female-gradpreneurs financed as a percentage of total projects financed under the Scheme.

Emefiele said, “Bridging their financing gaps and enhancing access to low-cost credit to drive development of business is a task that can only be addressed by an innovative financing model that correlates with the complexity and dynamics of these small businesses.”

According to him, the TIES was designed to address three verticals – the Term Loan component, the Equity Investment component and the Development Grant Component.

While the term loan component provides direct credit opportunities to graduates of Nigerian polytechnics and universities of not more than seven years post-graduation; the Equity Investment Component is designed to support start-ups, existing businesses requiring expansion, and ailing businesses seeking resuscitation. The third vertical – developmental grant component – is aimed at raising awareness and visibility of entrepreneurship among undergraduates of Nigerian tertiary institutions. Under this vertical, polytechnics and universities in Nigeria are expected to compete in a national biennial entrepreneurship competition where undergraduates are presented by the tertiary institutions to pitch.

Given the huge number of graduates from tertiary institutions in the country without the commensurate employment opportunities in both the public and private sectors, Emefiele said it had become imperative that government, at all levels, puts in place policy measures to support entrepreneurial development among Nigerian youth. He therefore charged the different tiers of government to play their respective roles in creating an enabling business ecosystem that supports innovation and enables the youth to unleash their entrepreneurial potential.

Recalling the glory days in the country’s educational system, the CBN Governor urged all stakeholders to join the campaign to restore glory to Nigeria’s educational sector reminiscent of when tertiary institutions “churned out graduates, not only ready and able to provide real solutions to the various challenges emanating from their immediate environment and even beyond, but who could compete favourably with their counterparts around the world”

On the part of the Bank, he assured that the CBN remained committed to supporting entrepreneurship by offering youth entrepreneurs access to much-needed finance, which he identified as one of the major limiting factors to entrepreneurship development in Nigeria. Similarly, he declared the unrelenting commitment of the Bank to supporting the country’s educational sector in all ramifications, noting that wholesome development shall remain a mirage without a robust educational sector.

Highpoint of the ceremony was the presentation of symbolic cheques to the five maiden beneficiaries of the TIES: Ukpabi Chukwudi, Simeon Ojonugwa Ojogbane, Aisha Suleiman, Nura Muhammad Abdullahi, Zainab Muhammad, and Adebowale Olawuyi, who were among those who submitted their applications via the dedicated portal and had their applications processed.

While stressing that the scheme was a loan and not a grant, Emefiele assured other institutions not currently included in the scheme, that their institutions would be brought on board. He therefore charged youth to take up the challenge by applying innovative and creative thinking in providing solutions capable of creating wealth and value for themselves and the country at large.

Another highpoint was the inauguration of the Body of Experts (BoE) for the scheme’s developmental component chaired by Abubakar Suleiman, Chief Executive Officer Sterling Bank PLC.

The BoE, which comprises professionals drawn from the academia, professional bodies, and industry, was constituted to evaluate and rank entrepreneurial presentations made by tertiary institutions under the Developmental (Grant) Component. It is expected to recommend projects with high potential and transformational impact for grant awards.

Other members of the Body of Experts include Patrick Iyamabo Group Chief Financial Officer First Bank PLC; Adamu Lawani, General Manager Zenith Bank PLC, and Ngover Ihyembe-Nwankwo General Manager, Coverage Rand Merchant Bank Nigeria.

Also, on the committee are Ashafa Ladan, acting Director, Skills Development and Entrepreneurship National Universities Commission (NUC); Abbati D. K. Muhammad Director, Vocational, Technical and Skills Development National Board for Technical Education (NBTE); and Friday Okpara, Director, Partnership and Coordination Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN).

Bolanle Adekoya, a Partner at PwC Nigeria; Tope Fasua, Chief Executive Officer Global Analytics Consulting Limited; Brigadier-General Folusho Oyinlola, Director, Coordination National Defence College; and Temitope Akin-Fadeyi, Associate Head, Strategy and Policy Development Finance Department Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), who acts as Secretary, make up the 11-member committee.

Also speaking at the launch, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha urged tertiary institutions to ensure the use of merit for the selection of beneficiaries of the scheme.

Similarly, the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajuiba expressed the full support of the Ministry for the TIES, stressing the need for a major paradigm shift from the pursuit of white-collar jobs to entrepreneurship.

On October 20, 2021, the CBN released the guidelines for the TIES, which classified the participants under the term loan component into two categories of tier 1 individual projects with loan limit of N5 million and tier 2 class of company/partnership project with loan limit of N25 million.

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.


Collateral requirements for this class of participants include duly signed Global Standing Instruction (GSI) by 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.

Activities qualified for TIES loan

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

These include, 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, fashion, photography, beauty/cosmetics; Science and technology – medical innovation, robotics, ticketing systems, traffic systems, renewable energy, waste management; and any other activity as may be determined by the CBN from time to time.

How beneficiaries can apply

nterested applicants can apply on the dedicated online portal and provide all requisite documentation to support the application. They are also expected to be present for verification of original copies of submitted certificates and documents.

They are to submit business proposals and other documentation requirements adhere strictly to the terms and conditions of the Scheme and avoid any forms of plagiarism in the project idea.

The beneficiaries are to 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. They are to maintain accurate and up-to-date records available for inspection/verification by the CBN and monitoring team. They are to adhere strictly to the terms and conditions of the Scheme.

Exit Date

The Scheme shall be operated for a period of 10 years in the first instance, (not exceeding 31st December 2031) depending on the complexity of the project.

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