GEM Project Induction Workshop- How to Prepare for it and How to Apply for GEM

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On the 15th of August, 2016 I attended the GEM Project Induction Workshop and I think I should share my experience with my esteemed subscribers, readers, and followers that their ideas were shortlisted.

Sometime last year, I shared about GEM Project on my platform www.UtibeEtim.com so that my subscribers can benefit. Recently, I also shared about GEM Project informing my subscribers that are interested in getting fund for their business to apply and many applied and they have been shortlisted. If you have been shorlisted, congrats. If you have not applied, please visit www.BigPortal.org.ng to apply.

My idea was shortlisted but is not yet celebration time because we have a lot of stages to get to the final (receive the grant)

In this article, I will give you more insight on GEM Project/grant as a lot of my subscribers complain of not getting enough information on the GEM Project website (www.bigportal.org.ng)

What Is GEM Project?

Growth and Employment in States (GEMS) is an employment project supported by Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment (FMTI) and funded by the World Bank and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID). The project is aimed at job creation and increased non-oil growth in specific high potential value chain sectors. DFID is providing a grant of £90 million and the World Bank a concessionary loan of $160 million. GEMS will achieve an overall internal rate of return of 48%.

A key target is the creation of at least 100,000 jobs directly in the selected sectors. The program targets at least six economic sectors and aims to support small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

 

Summary of project components

Based on a Growth and Employment study, six industries were identified for intervention in order to improve the value chain, create wealth and reduce poverty. The six industries are Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Entertainment, Wholesale and Retail, Construction and Real Estate, Hospitality and Tourism, and Meat and Leather. The project is flexible, and will adapt to market changes and new opportunities for growth potential.

The project can be summarized in three main pillars that together aim to create employment and growth in the non-oil sector. These are:

1) The project will provide for investments to address gaps that prevent key growth centers from expanding and hiring more Nigerians, in particular the young and poor.

2) The project will support Small and Medium Enterprises develop new business models, train the labor force to enable Nigerian businesses to participate more successfully in national and global supply chains, create more value in Nigeria, and employ more Nigerians.

3) The project will improve the business enabling environment so that businesses can grow faster, and become more profitable.

What are the Grants Available?
There are 5 different grants available on GEM Project but only 3 are available to SMEs/startup. There are:
Equity Grants
Matching Grants
Performance Grants
Institutional Grants (call for proposal)
Innovative Grants (call for proposal)

For startups and SMEs looking for grant, you can apply for matching grant, performance grant or equity grant. Equity grant works differently. I will explain in here.

Equity Grants are for Private Finance Companies (PFCs) investing in startups or existing SMEs. If your company is all about investing in startups and your revenues does not exceed $1 million in the last fiscal financial year, you can apply for this.

Please refer to this document to read more about equity grants/PFCs

 

Matching Grants:

Matching grants is for existing SME for profit private sector firms seeking to improve their business systems and processes. Because it is a matching fund/grant, you would have to provide 50 percent of the total amount you need to improve or scale your business up.

 

Your own contribution can be in cash or equipment or any asset/equipment.

 

Let’s assumed you need N10,000,000 as the total project amount, you would have to provide N5,000,000 in cash or equivalent while GEM would provide the remaining N5,000,000

 

The grant amount that would be awarded to successful applicants is between $10,000 -$50,000

 

Matching Grants Selection Process

1) Registration on BIG Platform (www.bigportal.org.ng)

2) Eligibility screening

3) Participation at induction workshop

4) Points accumulation and qualification

5) Document validation

6) Grant award

 

Matching Grant eligibility criteria

Firms which GEM will consider for funding under this window must meet the following yes/no criteria:

 

1) The firm must be registered on the BIG platform

2) The firm has received notification that it has attained the minimum points that qualify the firm for a matching grant;

3) The total GEM funding requested must be at least $10,000 and no more than $50,000;

4) The firm must provide matching cash or cash-equivalent funds of at least 50 percent of the total project budget;

5) The firm must satisfy the requirements on Environmental and Social compliance

6) GEM funding must be requested for utilization on eligible costs or activities

7) The firm’s application must demonstrate that GEM funding will result in increased sales for the business, increased value added per worker and creation of new jobs.

 

Matching fund requirements

Firms applying for matching grants are expected to co-invest in the project in order to ensure risks are shared and incentives are aligned. The expected level of matching funds will be at least 50 percent of total project costs in cash or cash equivalent.

 

The nature of the matching contribution will be approved on a project by project basis.

Grantees will be required to fund the proposed activities upfront and the matching contribution will be in form of a reimbursement by the GEM project upon approval.

 

Matching Grant Eligible costs

The GEM Matching grants will fund technical assistance costs (external consultancy services and related costs) associated with the following activities:

1) Supply chain development

2) Financial management

3) Business transformation

4) Customer relation management

5) Human resources management

 

 

Grantee selection process

1) Firms are invited for an Induction workshop

2) Eligible firms are admitted to BIG services

3) Participating firms earn points on completion of technical support and capacity building programs.

4) On accumulating the required number of points, final successful firms are approved grant award.

 

Contracting procedure

Successful grantees will sign a “Matching Grant Reimbursement Commitment Letter” (MGRCL) with parties namely: the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Federal Project Implementation Unit (FMITI, FPIU), and the firm (the grantee).The contract commits the grantee to the terms and conditions of the grant.

 

PERFORMANCE GRANTS

The performance grant is given to existing MSME for-profit private sector firms. The grant is given based on your performance as an existing business. You get between US$ 10,000 to US$ 35,000. With performance grant, you don’t have contribution anything.

 

Selection Process:

Registration on BIG Platform

1) Eligibility screening

2) Induction workshop

3) Points accumulation and pre-qualification

4) Business plans submission, evaluation, interviews and final selection

5) Document validation

6) Grant award

 

Performance Grants eligibility criteria

Firms which GEM will consider for funding under this window must meet the following criteria:

1) The firm must be registered on the BIG platform;

 

2) The firm has received notification that it has attained the minimum points that qualify the firm for a performance grant;

 

3) The firm is a for-profit private sector company, partnership or sole trader. Unregistered firms or entrepreneurs can be eligible but will need to show evidence of a business registration at the time of the agreement signature;

 

4) The firm must be operating in Nigeria;

 

5) The firm must be operating in any of the following sectors ICT, Entertainment, Light Manufacturing (Agri-business & Industrial processing), Hospitality & Tourism and Construction & Real estate, or any activities related to one of these sectors;

 

6) The firm must have no more than a fifty (50) full-time employees;

 

7) GEM funding must be requested for utilization on eligible costs or activities

 

8) The firm must satisfy the requirements on Environmental and Social compliance; and

 

9) The firm’s application must demonstrate that GEM funding will result in increased sales for the business, increased value added per worker and creation of new jobs.

 

Matching fund requirements

No matching fund requirement

 

Eligible costs/activities

Performance grants will fund technical assistance, equipment and goods. The grant will be tied to a business plan which details how the firms intends to use GEM funds.

 

Grantee selection process

1) Firms are invited for an Induction workshop

 

2) Eligible firms are admitted to BIG services

 

3) Participating firms earn points on completion of technical support and capacity building programs.

 

4) On accumulating the required number of points, eligible firms are invited to participate in the GEM business plan competition.

 

5) Submitted business plans are evaluated and undergo due approvals

 

6) Final successful firms are selected for grant award.

 

Contracting

Successful grantees will sign a contract with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI). The contract commits the grantee to the terms and conditions of the grant.

 

APPLYING FOR THE GEM GRANTS

The Growth and Employment project is implemented by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) and supported by the World Bank.

 

Research for this project commenced in 2007. The project became effective in July 2013, and will close in September 2018.

 

The fund is provided by World Bank and the programme is designed to empower 100,000 entrepreneurs. But as at today, only 13,000 have applied.

 

Therefore, I enjoin to apply.

 

How to Register for GEM

Visit www.bigportal.org.ng

Click on apply and register.

After registration, you need to confirm your email and once your email is confirmed, you would be able to submit your business idea.

Some FAQs

Is GEM for New Businesses:

No, GEM is for existing businesses

 

Can I submit any business?

No, your business must fall in any of these categories. The six industries are Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Entertainment, Wholesale and Retail, Construction and Real Estate, Hospitality and Tourism, and Meat and Leather.

 

Is GEM Transparent?

GEM or the whole selection process is very transparent. You don’t need to know anyone to be successful. What you need to do is to convince them that your idea unique and fits into what they want.

 

 

GEM Project Induction Workshop

The GEM Induction Workshop is the 3 selection processes. For you to be invited for the workshop, you must have registered on BIG portal and your idea screened and met the basic requirements.

 

If you idea meets the requirements and you are shortlisted, you would be sent an email for the induction workshop. Check the mail below:

 

Dear Your Name,

Application Reference Number: 201600****

Thank you very much for your application submitted under the Business Innovation and Growth (BIG) platform.

We are delighted to inform you that your application met the basic eligibility criteria and you have been shortlisted to move on to the next stage.

You are now invited to attend an Induction Workshop on Monday, 15 August 2016 at 8am. The venue for the Induction workshop is NECA Event Centre. Plot A2, Hakeem Balogun Street, CBD, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.

The objectives of the workshop are to:

  • Provide better understanding of the Business, Innovation and Growth Platform and the possible next step of your application
  • Perform a baseline assessment of your business with a view to diagnosing areas of need and eligibility for participation on the BIG platform. Please note that you will be asked to provide some information about your business (including financial and operational information, etc). This information is strictly confidential and is only accessible to the survey firm.
  • Verify your identity (Bring along one of the following: Valid International passport, National ID card, and Drivers’ license as a form of identification). Also come along with your Bank Verification Number (BVN); it is required as part of your proof of identification.

Only the owner of your firm is invited to participate at this workshop. If the owner is not the same as the contact registered on the BIG platform, kindly arrange for the owner to come along with evidence confirming ownership.

Please take note of your Applicant Reference Number, 201600**** and bring it along with you to the Induction Workshop.

Once again, thank you for your interest in the GEM Project and wishing you success in the next stages of your application.

Yours sincerely,

GEM Grants Administrator
Growth and Employment (GEM) Project

 

 

 

From the email, you should take note of the date of the induction, time and your reference number. Also, you are to go with any valid government issued means of identification and also your BVN.

 

On the day of the workshop, the screening is very simple. You tell them your name and the time you’re to come for the induction. Your name is already on the list. Once your name is spotted, you would be asked to bring your ID card, write your BVN and sign and a tag would be given to you for you to proceed for baseline evaluation.

 

You need to tender your slip or tag to your baseline enumerator.

 

At your baseline evaluation, it is a survey about your business and the progress you have made for them to better understand your needs and the area to also support apart from the grant.

 

Your enumerator would try to validate your reference number and  know if you are the right person and whether information like your address, email, business name, etc you submitted during application is still valid or to change them at that moment.

 

Note: I do not follow the order GEM/PWC or EDC arranged the baseline evaluation questions and the ones here may slightly different from GEM/PWC/EDC original questions.

It is a survey and most of the questions required you to say YES/NO or select from the options.

Questions with * have options to choose from

Questions with ** required to provide the answer and is typed by the enumerator

The questions your enumerator would ask you are:

  • Name, business name, registered address, your contact details.
  • How many people are depending on you
  • Next of kin and people they can easily contact incase they can’t locate you.
  • Highest level of education **
  • Some other personal information as registered on the website during your application.
  • Is your business registered with CAC? *
  • When did you start your business? **
  • Have you started another business aside the one you submitted? *
  • How many times do you spend on your business (percentage)? **
  • Mention your 3 main products and services **
  • The price you are selling them **
  • Average cost of producing your products/services **
  • How do you distribute your products *
  • The source of input or raw materials*
  • How many percents of your input or raw materials are sourced locally or imported? **
  • Where are your customers base or do you sell your product to customers within the city your business is located, other state or other countries? *
  • How much sales did you make last month? **
  • How much sales did you make last 12 months **
  • When did you sell your product last? **
  • Which month was the highest? **
  • Which month did you record the lowest sales and how much? **
  • What are the average sales for the last 12 months? **
  • Do you give an incentive or special offer? *
  • How do you produce your product? Do you produce the whole product using your own raw materials? *
  • Have you introduced a new product? *
  • Do you get credit from your suppliers? *
  • What are the main raw materials? **
  • How many staff do you have? **
  • How many are female staff? **
  • How many are full-time and temporary? **
  • What is the highest salary and the lowest? **
  • What was the total salary paid out last month and last 12 months? **
  • Which month did you pay the highest salary and how much was it? **
  • How do you recruit your staff? *
  • Do you train before employing? *
  • Do you outsource this or you handle them yourself? *
  • How do you handle staffs that did not measure up to expectation? *
  • Do you reward your best staff? *
  • How do you manage financial record? *
  • Do you tools like sage, excel, book etc to keep records? *
  • Do you take financial records by yourself or you have a dedicated staff or you outsource this? *
  • How do you promote your product? *
  • Which staff handle sales promotion, marketing or you do it yourself?m *
  • Do you use the internet (on a phone, office network, cafe)? *
  • Have you borrowed money before and was it successful or how much did you raise? *
  • Have you applied for a grant? *
  • Source of capital- personal savings, bank loan, loan from family and friends etc *
  • Are you interested in GEM grant and which of the grants are you interested (equity, performance or matching grant)? *
  • Links to your company social media presence. **

 

These are just some of the questions. Almost all the questions come with options to select from. No long answer is required

 

You don’t need to panic. Is not like an interview. It’s a survey and if the question is not applicable to you, you can say no.

The evaluation would not last more than an hour.

 

Next Step…

After the evaluation, you are giving another tag for you to go and register for the workshop. The workshop is a presentation by the facilitators for you know what GEM is all about and what is involved.

 

There is also a question and answer session.

The workshop and the answer session shouldn’t take more than 2hours and everything is done within 4 hours.

 

After the induction/workshop, what’s next?

 

After the workshop, you have to wait for GEM to go around all the regions to conduct inductions/workshop before your point is uploaded for the next stage and you are informed.

 

At this point, it’s Points accumulation and pre-qualification. There would be online training and activities to see how serious you are. If during the period you did not perform very well, you would not make it to the next stage which is business plan submission, evaluation, and interview  for those applying for performance grant or documents evaluations for those applying for matching grant.

 

After the interview and document validation, for those that are successful, they will receive the grant and sign agreement with the government and other parties.

 

I will be updating this post from time to time

 

As part of my commitment to support entrepreneurs and help raise 1000 young entrepreneurs by 2023, I’m offering this guide for free to all my readers, followers, and subscribers.

 

You can download the PDF copy below.

 

You can share the PDF version or share the link to this post to your friends, family so that they can benefit.

 

In future, I will make the video version available.

 

Please share this article on facebook, twitter, Linkedin and other social media platform.

 

If you have any comment, please don’t hesitate to use the comment box below to make your comment.

 

Warning: Don’t copy this article and post it on your website without permission from me.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Your piece of info is very helpful and is encouraging, but I forgot my username and password I used during registration. I have tried retrieving them but not possible. Will I be ask to login? Since d login info can’t be remembered and if yes…….what should I do? Please he me.

    • For now you don’t need to login.

      If you have forgotten your login details, it will be very difficult to retrieve it. However, on the day of your induction workshop, you will be informed of your idea.

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