Frequently Asked Questions

What is YouLead?

YouLead is an acronym for Youth Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Access and Development –a project developed by Cuso International, based in Cross River State, Nigeria. Due to high unemployment in the area among youth, this programme is designed to help equip young women and men with entrepreneurial and skills training to develop new businesses in the Natural Resource sectors, particularly ensuring equal opportunities for women as well as men.

How can I benefit from YouLead?

If you are between the ages of 18–35 years, then you may be eligible to receive free instruction on how to start up or expand a business. The project also offers technical training along value chains identified in specific Local Government Areas. YouLead has also developed relationships with several micro–finance banks that are making their loan services more youth, environmental and gender–friendly.

Which natural resource sectors are supported?

Cross River State is rich in Natural Resources and the following sectors have been identified as the most viable value chains for success, respectively, by LGA:

  • Abi: Cassava, Rice, Fishery
  • Bakassi: Poultry, Fishery, Oil Palm
  • Biase: Cassava, Poultry, Plaintain
  • Calabar South: Poultry, Fishery, Eco–Tourism (Eco–Tourism is not yet available)
  • Etung: Cocoa, Fishery, Honey
  • Ikom: Poultry, Fishery, Oil Palm
  • Obanliku: Cassava, Rice, Fishery
  • Obubra: Cassava, Rice, Oil Palm
  • Obudu: Cassava, Honey, Fishery
  • Odukpani: Cassava, Fishery, Mushrooms
  • Ogoja: Poultry, Livestock (goats), Fishery
  • Yala: Cassava, Rice, Fishery

There are different areas in the respective value chains for each market, so entrepreneurs can select businesses at any level e.g. input supply, production, processing, packaging, retail, wholesale, and marketing.

What training will I receive & how do I apply?

The programme is free, but due to capacity restrictions, implementation in the LGAs is being phased in. The programme is broken down into three components:

  1. Intensive entrepreneurship training for two weeks covering areas such as: business overview and market development, leadership development, interpersonal skills, unlocking entrepreneurship competencies, negotiating skills, business plan development, and credit facilitation.
  2. Technical training for value addition, processing, and marketing
  3. Credit sensitisation on access to finance for business start–up or expansion.

The number of people enrolled in the programme is limited due to space availability; however, an equal number of women as well as men will be given opportunity. Applications are screened based on: age and village or ward (if matched to location of next LGA training), gender, and area of interest (if matched to one of the three value chains).

Where can I get an application?

YouLead enrolment forms are available at the YouLead desk office in the 18 Local Government Area Councils in Cross River State.

Does YouLead provide entrepreneurs with grants or loans?

No. YouLead is not a micro–finance bank. However, along with connecting you to youth–friendly micro–finance banks, Cuso International is working closely with MEDA Canada to develop a Young Entrepreneurs Business Support Plan (YEBSP) that includes mentoring youth in the new business and possibly offer small grants to supplement start up capital.

How do I access the Youth Entrepreneurship Business Support Plan (YEBSP) grant?

In order to be eligible to access the YEBSP grant, applicants must meet ALL of the following criteria:

  1. Be a Nigerian citizen
  2. Have completed or is currently participating in the YouLead entrepreneurship training
  3. Have a registered bank account with a recognised financial services institution such as a micro finance bank or commercial bank
  4. Must be between the ages of 18–35 years
  5. Propose an expansion of a business or cooperative in the natural resource sectors in Cross River State, especially agriculture, forestry, aquaculture eco–tourism and renewable energy.

What services are available at YouLead’s Youth Resource Centres?

The Youth Resource center (YRC) is designed to be a one-stop ‘information hub’ where YouLead beneficiaries can access information on value chains, fellowships, internships and employment opportunities in the Natural Resource sectors. Resource centres are located at the LGA Headquarters across Cross River State.

How does YouLead support start–up businesses?

  1. Facilitating access to finance (FI)
  2. Encouraging and supporting Co–operative formation
  3. Providing Market linkage

Can YouLead assist me in getting land for farming activities?

YouLead is unable to provide land for business start–up; however, YouLead identifies lead firms, cooperatives and associations that offer various forms of assistance to youth who are having trouble accessing land for their farming activities.