INFLUENCE OF GRADUATE ENTREPRENEURSHIP FUND (GEF) ON YOUTH ECONOMIC INCLUSION: A CASE STUDY OF SELECTED BOI BENEFICIARIES IN AWKA SOUTH L.G.A OF ANAMBRA STATE
This research work was designed to determine the influence of graduate entrepreneurship fund (GEF) on youth economic inclusion. a case study of selected BOI beneficiaries in Awka L.G.A . The objectives of the study includes to evaluate the services (financial & non-financial) rendered to the youths who are beneficiaries of GEF program, determine the effect of GEF program on graduate level of income after their participation in the GEF program, examine the efforts of GEF program in facilitating small scale enterprise among graduates, Identify challenges that limits graduates participation in the program. Descriptive survey research design was adopted using a simple random sampling to select one hundred respondents which structured questionnaire was administered. The data obtained were analyzed using simple percentage, mean and frequency tables. The study revealed that allocation of credit, provision of capital for small businesses and export promotion incentives are some of the services rendered to youths through the GEF program. Economic developments, conservation of foreign exchange, improved standard of living are the effort of GEF program in facilitating SMEs development among graduates. Lack of credit facilities, security issues, poor planning and poor state of country’s infrastructure are the challenges that limits graduate participation in the GEF program .Based on the findings, it was recommended government should encourage the growth of small business by giving them the necessary assistance as regards to fund raising and equally advise them on how to utilize it effectively and also ensure adequate provision of credit facilities through various financial institutions to aid entrepreneurship.
Background of the Study
The dynamic role of government agencies in the development of small and medium enterprises is an engine through which the growth and development objectives of developing nations can be achieved. These enterprises have a very important impact on the life of everybody in the society. The small independence businesses are everywhere and in every line of work; they can also be seen in every community. This business is as old as man. So virtually everything done in life involves the element of business small and medium enterprises constitute an importance in today’s business activities or system. Small and medium enterprise in our economic history however, has been one of the distribution and contribution (Akingunola, 2011).
Basil (2005), stated that any effect towards the restructuring of the economy without particular emphasis on the development of small and medium scale business not likely to be successful in the long term. The fact that small and medium scale business determines the direction and the extent of development of the country’s economy make them very important organizations.
Business in Nigeria today is made up of both large and small business. Today small scale enterprise have to enjoy more prestige than ever before because of its vital contribution to the Nation’s economy. Government agencies are charged with the responsibilities among others to carry out duties utilities as it may be regulated from time to time on behalf of government for the purpose of uplifting the standard of living (Aremu and Adeyemi, 2011).
As a way of improving the lot of entrepreneurs in Nigeria, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and Bank of Industry (BOI) have a Graduate Entrepreneurship fund (GEF) scheme for corps members to aid them in launching the small and medium enterprises. While SMEs may not be large business that can provide employment to the nation’s youth on a large scale, a good number of these small scale business will ensure a steady growth in the economy. Money invest in SMEs will ultimately create a more developed economy as well as ensure even distribution of wealth (Adeoye, 2016). Bank of Industry is charged with the responsibility like provision of medium and long term finance by way of equity finding, loan and lease financing, guarantees, investment in corporate bonds business development services, co-financing, working capital finance and promotion of small and medium enterprises.
The graduate entrepreneurship fund scheme has the following objectives:
- Encouraging graduates of tertiary institutions currently undergoing the compulsory one-year NYSC programme, to venture into business and become employers of labor rather than job seekers.
- Address the entrepreneurship capacity gap of the NYSC members who are expected to produce bankable business plans.
- Ensure sustainability of the business of the eventual load beneficiaries through effective monitoring by the NYSC Directorate and BOI (Olagunju, 2016).
1.2 Statement of Problem
Several studies have identified financial constraints as the major obstacle to good small and medium enterprise development in developing countries including Nigeria. most Government agencies have undergone numbers of re-organization especially bank of industry (BOI) which affects their forces and activities that leads to effective performance and lack of proper control on their activities.
The most obvious problems facing the society is the most basic economic problem such as what to produce, how much to produce, for whom to produce, how efficient of resources use or providing efficient financial resources technical assistance, how much to consume and save and problem of unemployed resources etc. security on loan given out to customer SMEs evaluating of project that are financed which may take more time than stated at the beginning.
The project financing involves giving loan to a new entity established specially to own or operate project. On the part of small and medium enterprises (SMES) how effective are they utilizing the services rendered to them by the bank of industry (BOI). Also are they able to cope with the policies adopted by these agencies (BOI) in obtaining loan and other services rendered such as interest rate on capital collateral facilities and the role of government.
1.3 Research Question
Based on the subject matter, the researcher prefers to use the following questions for research findings;
- What are the problems of small and medium scale enterprises business?
- What are the roles of small and medium enterprises?
- Are banks of industry the sole financier of small and medium enterprises?
1.4 Objective of the Study
The broad objective of the study is to evaluate the influence of GEF on youth economic inclusion in Awka South LGA of Anambra State.
Specifically the study aim to:
- Evaluate the services (financial & non-financial) rendered to the youths who are beneficiaries of GEF program
- Determine the effect of GEF program on graduate level of income after their participation in the GEF program
- Examine the efforts of GEF program in facilitating small scale enterprise among graduates
- Identify challenges that limits graduates participation in the program
1.5 Significance of the Study
The study is to serve as a reference material to other students or researchers such as scholars, the management, the general public, researchers and academic and banking professional body and other individuals who might be interested to write on or make research on similar topic and serve as recommendation to the bank of industry (BOI) in discharging its functions to their customer as well as mode of rendering services to the customers SMEs.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This study will cover the area of activities and role played by the government agency (BOI) in developing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and their performance toward the economy.