The scheme is tagged UNEDEP.
The Ministry of Trade and Investment has inaugurated the University Entrepreneurship Development Programme (UNEDEP) to promote self-employment among the youth, right from higher institutions of learning.
Olusegun Aganga, the minister in charge of the ministry, who inaugurated the scheme on Tuesday in Abuja, said that it was part of the government’s proactive strategies to tackle graduate unemployment.
He said UNEDEP will be implemented by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. He added that the scheme was to provide a mentoring platform for students, reduce poverty and re-orientate the undergraduate toward the right values.
M. Aganga said that the scheme would give students the opportunity to acquire practical experience that would enable them to successfully manage their own businesses.
“UNEDEP’s mission is to ‘catch them young’. The programme focuses on entrepreneurship development of undergraduates and aims to create future entrepreneurs and encourage self-employment and reduce poverty.
“We will achieve this by using the existing Network for African Student Entrepreneurs Club structure and derive standard schedule of activities for all members across all universities,” he said.
Mr. Aganga added that the goal of the scheme was for students to receive the necessary capacity building as part of the activities of the entrepreneurship clubs.
In her speech, the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqqayyatu Rufai, stressed the need for the country to promote the culture of entrepreneurship among students to reduce unemployment.
She expressed the hope that the effort would assist the nation to achieve sustainable economic growth and development.
“All over the world, entrepreneurship has been identified as the major driver of economic growth and development.
“The success of many economies can be traced to entrepreneurs who started small and then grew to become multinationals,” she said.