The federal government said it would provide over N10 million grant and mentorship programmes to some young Nigerian entrepreneurs to help kick start their businesses.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, said this at the National Youth Entrepreneurship Empowerment Summit (NYEES) on Tuesday in Abuja.
The Summit was organised by the federal government as part of events to herald the swearing in of President Muhammadu Buhari and the celebration of Democrasy Day on May 29.
Mr Mustapha restated that the Buhari- led administration was committed to ensuring provision of entrepreneurial capacity for the average Nigerian.
He said that NYEES was designed to encourage and give back to the Nigerian youth in the celebration of the presidential inauguration “and also our Democracy Day”.
He said the initiative was carefully crafted to encourage young entrepreneurs and create an enabling environment where they could showcase their innovation, varied products and services.
“It is also aimed at providing a platform for interface with top government officials responsible for youth intervention programmes.
“You will hear from selected experts that have excelled in the art of mastering their talents for profit and those that have benefited from government initiatives to set up small businesses.
“Ten amongst you who have submitted business proposals will go home with N1 million each courtesy of the federal government and 12 months personal mentorship programmes courtesy of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF).
“Another 10 will win 12 months mentorship programme only in the areas of skills acquisition and the best eight will win the sum of N200,000 each, courtesy the federal government.
“This is to help kick start their businesses and we can assure you that the selection process will absolutely be transparent,” the SGF said.
Mr Mustapha said the challenge most people faced was lack of sufficient knowledge and skills to drive successful businesses.
He said a significant number, who had the knowledge and skills often lacked the financial capacity to translate their entrepreneurial skills to reality.
The SGF said the summit, however, was targeted at ensuring all participants were equipped with the knowledge required for business success.
He said NYEES would offer skill base training sessions to enable participants move toward productivity and also empower deserving youths with some funding to take their businesses to the next level.
“While we may not be able to provide funding for every young deserving Nigerian, I am confident that more initiatives will be implemented by this administration so more young Nigerians can benefit as well.’’
Mr Mustapha then commended the stakeholders and partners who made the event possible, giving special commendation to the TEF, JimiTewe Company and the event planners.
He expressed optimism that the summit would provide yet another milestone in the success story for Public Private Partnership (PPP) for the nation’s development.
He also urged the participants to pay the price of diligence to be able to benefit from the programme.
Also speaking, a representative of the TEF, Muyo Olisa, said entrepreneurship was the driving force for all nations.
Mr Olisa urged the participants to make the best of the opportunity that had been presented to them to showcase their talents, grow their businesses and make the nation better.
According to her, there is no set ways to run a business as every business is uniquely different and a person’s measure of success is different from the other.
“About 80 per cent of jobs created are created by SMEs like yourself, so strive to create impact because it is not just all about money, you also need financial understanding.
“Take advantage of every opportunity you have and remember that the key to unlocking Africa’s prosperity is in your hands.”
Some of the participants who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) expressed gratitude to the federal government for including youth in this year’s celebration of Democracy Day.
While expressing optimism that they would win the sum, they urged for more initiatives that would further enlighten the youth on how to make wealth for themselves.
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