With youth unemployment in Nigeria estimated to be as high as 50 per cent of the labour force, Heritage Bank Plc and the Bank of Industry (BoI) has come together to curb unemployment among that segment of the population by promoting entrepreneurship.
Mr. Dominic Barton, Global Managing Director, McKinsey & Company, United Kingdom recently said that in Nigeria, youth unemployment is as high as 50 per cent and that a Surveys by McKinsey show that 75 per cent of university professors believe they are adequately preparing their students for the workforce, but only 40 per cent of employers take the same view
The two banks in an effort aimed at supporting the Federal Government in its pursuit of job creation and economic recovery, set up Small and Medium scale Enterprises’ supported programmes to take the country through the looming recession.
According to the Managing Director of Heritage Bank Plc, Mr. Ifie Sekibo said this is an opportunity for the young people between the ages of 18 and 35 to key into the various financing channels provided by Heritage Bank and BoI.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of ‘Live Well Bia’ Foods Outlet in Surulere, Lagos, Sekibo who was represented by Mrs. Raliat Oyetunde, consultant for the bank on Small and Medium scale Enterprises (SMEs) said that in most cases, it is in time of recession that new millionaires emerge.
According to him, passion, mentorship and finance are critical to budding entrepreneurs. He added that the documentation and financing of such project that was being opened, was concluded with due diligence within six weeks which is a big feat and an encouragement for aspiring entrepreneurs.
His words: “We need more young entrepreneurs like the Managing Director, Bia Live Well Outlet, Mr Fadesola Adedayo, to take Nigeria to the next level because the outlet will be opened in 47 other locations across the country before the year ends.”
In his own contribution, the Acting Managing Director, BoI, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, affirmed that the support of BoI and Heritage Bank to further empower young entrepreneurs will lead to the recovery of the Nigerian economy.
Olagunju said that improved investment will activate a quick recovery of the economy of the country that has been in a state of decline. According to him, supporting young entrepreneurs through funding is necessary to improve the quality of life of many Nigerian youths with desire to be self-reliant.
“BoI will continue to support youth with innovative projects like this venture because he has not just created a job for himself but for many others in the value chain,”he said.
He noted that visionary and talented youths with viable business plans would be supported by the bank to drive the industrialisation of the country.
“This is a BoI supported project through Prinsult Consulting, one of the 200 Business Development Service Providers (BDSP) of the bank,” Olagunju added.
He stated that the Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund (GEF) and the Youth Entrepreneurship Support Programme of BoI were some of the initiatives of the bank targeted at financing young entrepreneurs. Olagunju urged parents to support their children in their quest for success in their entrepreneurial ventures.
It would be recalled that Heritage Bank in partnership with the Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL) recently graduated 100 young entrepreneurs in the CVL Young Entrepreneurship Training Programme (YETP) in Ajegunle, Lagos. This is in addition to other youth entrepreneurship programmes that Heritage Bank is involved in like Central Bank of Nigeria backed Youth Innovative Entrepreneurship Development (YIEDP) and the YES Grant Initiative.
The YETP is aimed at identifying young people, especially youths in densely populated communities and putting them through a 6-month training programme in small business management.
These young entrepreneurs who have been trained in various skills such as catering, bead making, event management, fashion design, arts, hair dressing, shoe cobbling among others have also imbibed comprehensive business management and entrepreneurship skills that would equip them to be successful business owners.
Nigeria’s youth unemployment rate is put at 38 per cent in 2012 by the National Bureau of Statistics while a recent central bank report confirmed that 80 percent of Nigerian youth populations were unemployed.