President Goodluck Jonathan has launched the Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy (YES), an online portal serving as a common platform for all of federal and state government’s diverse youth training entrepreneurship interventions.
He said the YouWin programme alone has directly created 5,400 young entrepreneurs since its commencement.
The portal – Nigeria Youth Entrepreneurship Network (NYENET.COM) – is government’s collaboration with the Founder of Empower Nigeria, Nicholas Okoye.
During the launch, which held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Jonathan said the broad-based public-private platform is meant to speed up an already fast moving train of young entrepreneurs through government interventions that have created 1.4 million additional jobs in the country.
“This strategy will redefine the way we engage and support the empowerment and employment of our youth and women going forward”, he assured.
The President said he was proud that his government has overall provided over 5.4 million jobs for Nigerians and pledged to do even more.
Speaking on the importance of the entrepreneurs to the nation’s economy, Jonathan said, “Entrepreneurs are the engine room of the Nigeria’s economy as they are responsible for more than 60 percent of our $510billion GDP and the MSMEs are responsible for almost 98 per cent of the new jobs created in our economy on an annual basis. The new jobs we are targeting will come from the SMEs” he said.
Listing the several youth entrepreneurial schemes and funding grants under his administration, Jonathan assured that his government will continue to partner with the private sector to reach the target of creating two million jobs for Nigerians every year through diversification of the nation’s economy.
According to him, “We started with the implementation of the Community Services Scheme, under the SURE-P Program to cater for unskilled youth, and so far over 120,000 young Nigerians, including 42,000 women and 4,700 physically challenged youth across our country have been engaged in various projects like road maintenance, community security, sanitation, and so on. Several of these youth are also being trained in various skills so that they can succeed in the labour market.
“In the same spirit, we started the Graduate Internship Scheme, targeting university graduates with one year internships in private sector led enterprises, so that they can acquire requisite skills and experience that can improve their long-term employability.
“So far, about 22,000 young graduates have been placed under this program, and we are ramping up efforts to ensure that many more graduates are supported.
“We also have programs like YouWin and Nagropreneurs to support highly skilled youth and budding entrepreneurs. These programs have been designed to ensure that young Nigerians get training, mentoring, and more critically access to finance through grants, which had been difficult for them to access in the past, to set up their own companies, which will then employ their fellow youth.
“Today I am proud to say that this will be the first government in the history of Nigeria that will directly create 5,400 young entrepreneurs through the YouWin program.
“I am also proud to say that the first 2,400 entrepreneurs have created an average of nine jobs each, with a total of 22,000 jobs so far. Nagropreneurs program will also support 750,000 young farmers across our nation. These programs have demonstrated that a lot can be achieved through entrepreneurship”.
The President said he was glad to partner with Okoye in providing “this one-stop portal that will enhance government’s ability to reach out to young.”
He further pointed out that the new online portal would give young budding entrepreneurs opportunities for both training and funding for entrepreneurial ideas.
Jonathan offered himself as a mentor to the young entrepreneurs by signing into the ‘Coalition of Super Mentors’, which is part of the YES, saying that he would also encourage other big and prominent Nigerian entrepreneurs to do so too.
The CEO Anabel Group and Founder Empower Nigeria, Nicholas Okoye, while introducing the Youth Entrepreneurship Network Platform, said it is a Public Private Partnership targeted at the young people in the country, with about 20 different programmes of the federal government.
He said according to data compiled by his office, 7,121 youths have been empowered by this administration with an addition of over 14 million jobs created in the agricultural sector.
“Why we are here: there is unemployment crisis in the country, terrorism, armed robbery, kidnapping are all fall out unemployment.
“The telecom sector only employs 250,000, (they can produce over 2 million indirect jobs).
“The banking sector today employs about 300,000, (it can employ one million in micro-schemes indirect jobs). The oil and gas sector employs 350,000 (but it can generate over million opportunities in micro-schemes like welding, health and management etc), These sectors alone can’t address the employment problem of this country”, he said.
He said Nigerians can now access all of government’s programmes, state or federal, from just this one portal.