Worried about rising unemployment, Technoserve, a United States-based non-governmental organisation in partnership with Citi Foundation launched a project to train and support 300 youth entrepreneurs and shop owners in Abuja on Friday.
“The organizers came to my shop and explained how the training will increase my expertise in managing my business and making more sales”, Kingsley Owhor, a provision seller at Lugbe said.
For Mr. Owhor, he intends to access the financial assistance, technical know-how and use of technology in doing business which the program promises to cover.
Daniel Akachukwu , a dry cleaner at Wuse said he is more concerned with the skills he will acquire through the training.
“Its not all about money but how to manage the money. Its better to learn how to catch fish than always ask for a fish”, Mr. Akachukwu said.
The project titled, “Pan African Youth Entrepreneur Development, PAYED” according to organisers is a one-year program designed to equip 150 unemployed youths between the ages of 18 and 35 who have entrepreneurship drive with functional business plans and financial assistance such as ease of access to loan and start up packages.
Another 150 shop owners will be trained on new business and financial management skills that can be directly applied to increase average business sales by more than 30 per cent.
“This will help reduce rate of youth unemployment. These young entrepreneurs will become bosses and also employ others”, Chinwe Iworji, the project coordinator said.
Ms. Iworji said the project is divided into two; the training phase and the after care phase.
She said the training phase will last between November 6 and May 2018 after which there will be 70 per cent increase in use of technology in doing business and employability skills among participants.
Speaking at the event, Sidney Inegbedion, President, Nigeria Entrepreneur Forum said the programme will improve job creation by advancing entrepreneurship skills.
“Entrepreneurship is one of the most viable economic routes for the youth to navigate themselves to the top.
“In the dreams and aspirations of the Nigerian youth, we have seen outstanding potentials and successes in the creative industry where Nigeria has been penetrating the African sub-regional market with lightening speed.
“Nevertheless, more is yet to be done to enhance the competency of the Nigerian youth in order to record advances in ICT, alternative energy technologies, automobile technology and global market access.
“This is why we are partnering with Technoserve to tackle some of the challenges young entrepreneurs are facing in the country”, Inegbedion said.
In his goodwill message at the occasion, Martin Finnegan, project manager at Technoserve said the partnership was created to solve the challenge of unemployment by working with youth across three African countries: Kenya, Nigeria and Ivory Coast.
“60 per cent of Africa’s population is under 25 years of age. By 2050, Africa will be home to 452 million people under the age of 25. This provides African countries with an extraordinary asset but will become a huge liability if not properly manage”, Finnegan said.
He said the partnership encourages self-sustaining economic activities by addressing the policies, information and incentives that help markets function better.
Mr. Finnegan also gave insights on other ongoing programmes by the group in agriculture and water resources.
Beneficiaries testified to an upward boost in their businesses after the previous two-year training organised by Technoserve on the use of technology to run businesses and the importance of record keeping.