A non-governmental organisation has introduced a programme to help young entrepreneurs and innovators contribute more to Nigeria’s development and to thrive under the current economic recession in the country.
The Joint Initiative for Development (JID), which has as members Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 35 years old, said it was introducing The Budding Entrepreneur (TBE) programme in partnership with Heinrich Bӧll Foundation “to inspire, equip, and empower” people in the demographic group across Nigeria.
“The project is designed to promote young Nigerian entrepreneurs and innovators by connecting them with prospective mentors, investors and clients”, a leader of the group, Kayode Ajayi-Smith, said at the launch of the TBE.
The event, which drew participants from government, the diplomatic circle, private sector and civil society, was held at the Exhibition Pavilion in the Central Business District of Abuja.
Mr. Ajayi-Smith said the programme would provide a platform for young entrepreneurs to exchange ideas with their peers and connect to mentors, with the aim to fostering business expansion, job creation and poverty alleviation.
Speaking at the event, a former minister for Information, Frank Nweke, said young entrepreneurs and innovators need passion and time management to do well in business.
He said an entrepreneur would always see business opportunities if he or she is driven by passion.
In his own remarks, an official of the United Nations, Hillary Ogbonna, said opportunities exist for entrepreneurs in humanitarian support to internally displaced persons.
Mr. Ogbonna said these can be tapped by registering with the UN to provide materials like food, water, communication equipment and teaching aid for the IDPs.
A film maker, Tobi Ogunwande, spoke of his experience as an entrepreneur and how he had been driven by his passion to attain recognition and fulfilment.
The representative of the presidency at the event, Ife Adebayo, advised the young entrepreneurs to seek how they can add value to government activities and to key into opportunities being provided by public agencies like the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture and Small and Medium Enterprises Agencies of Nigeria, SMEDAN, which provide funds for people to start small scale businesses.
Other participants also spoke of opportunities for the youth in the digital and social media.
Chidinma Ubochi, a participant from Rainbow Roses Concept, said she found the initiative very useful.
“I want to thank JID for this opportunity. I have learned so many things today about how to get innovative. I also had the opportunity to meet people”, she said.
Ugochukwu Onwujiuba, an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to specialize in agro-allied and food packaging, said the session taught him the need to do more research in his field.
“I have learned skill acquisition too. It is important to know my competitors. And through this programme, I have learned that UN provides opportunity to service providers,” he said.