June 9, 2023

The Central Bank of Nigeria, as part of its effort to boost economic growth and reduce unemployment among graduates of Nigeria Polytechnics and Universities, introduced the Tertiary Institutions Entrepreneurship Scheme. The Scheme is designed to create a paradigm shift among undergraduates and graduates from the pursuit of white collar jobs to a culture of entrepreneurship geared towards job creation, economic growth and sustainable development.

The Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) therefore developed the Tertiary Institutions Entrepreneurship Scheme (TIES), in partnership with the academia( Universities and Polytechnics) to unleash the potential of the Nigeria graduate entrepreneurs (gradpreneurs) by providing re-orientation, training and an innovative financing model that will enhance the entrepreneurial ecosystem with transformational impact on the economy.


The broad objective of the 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 Scheme include:

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

Key Performance Indicators

A comprehensive monitoring of specific benchmarks and key performance indicators (KPIs) under the Scheme shall be undertaken regularly. The KPIs (specific and relevant) shall include:

  1. Number of gradpreneur-led innovative start-ups and businesses with access to finance under the Scheme – 25,000 annually;
  2. Number of sustainable jobs created by gradpreneur-led businesses financed under the Scheme – 75,000 annually;
  3. Number of female-gradpreneurs financed as a percentage of total projects financed under the Scheme – 50 per cent per annum;
  4. Number of agropreneurs financed as a percentage of total projects financed under the Scheme – 40 per cent per annum;
  5. Number of creative entrepreneurs financed as a percentage of total projects financed under the Scheme – 20 per cent per annum;
  6. Number of Techpreneurs financed as a percentage of total projects financed under the Scheme – 20 per cent per annum; and
  7. Number of other gradpreneurs financed as a percentage of total projects financed under the Scheme – 20 per cent per annum.
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Eligible Activities (Areas of Business)

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

  1. Agribusiness – production, processing, storage and logistics;
  2. Information technology – application/software development, business process outsourcing, robotics, data management;
  3. Creative industry – entertainment, artwork, publishing, culinary/event management, fashion, photography, beauty/cosmetics;
  4. Science and technology – medical innovation, robotics, ticketing


NOTE: Trading activities shall not be eligible for financing under the Scheme.

Focal Components of TIES

The Scheme shall be implemented through three (3) components:

Term Loans

This shall be in the form of soft business loans. Only graduates of Nigerian polytechnics and universities that have undergone entrepreneurship training shall be eligible to participate under this Component.

Repayment: Interest and principal repayment shall be made monthly on installment basis by the obligor to the PFIs according to the approved repayment schedule.

Developmental Component (Starting Soon)

The Developmental Component shall be disbursed in the form of Grants. The Grant shall be accessible by Nigerian polytechnics and universities through a biennial national entrepreneurship competition aimed at raising awareness and visibility of high-impact start-up ideas among undergraduates, promote entrepreneurial talent hunts in Nigerian polytechnics and universities and encourage innovations that are commercially viable and with transformational impact.

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

The grants shall be in the following areas:

  1. Agribusiness;
  2. Information technology;
  3. Creative industry; and
  4. Science and technology

Interested Nigerian polytechnics and universities shall apply on a dedicated online portal with brief details of the project, likely impact and evidence of originality of project.

Equity Investment Component (Starting Soon)

The Equity Investment Component shall be in the form of injection of fresh capital for start-ups, expansion of established businesses or reviving of ailing entrepreneurial businesses. The Component shall be implemented under the AgSMEIS Equity window.

Investment Limit: Subject to the limit prescribed in the AgSMEIS Guidelines. Investment Period: This shall be as follows:

  1. Investment made shall be for a maximum period of ten (10) years (not exceeding December 31, 2031).
  2. There shall be a 3-year lock-in period before exit in order to encourage value creation and boost managerial capacity of business, unless there is a material adverse event. iii. The Bankers’ Committee Trust shall hold the equity on behalf of the AgSMEIS Fund.

The equity investments shall be in enterprises operating within the eligible focal areas.

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