Under its N3 billion Youth Innovative Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YIEDP), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday ended a 3-days capacity building programme for Nigerian youths.
In his opening remarks, Director, Development Finance Department, CBN, Dr Mudasiru Olaitan said, the essence of the training was to deploy Nigeria’s youthful resources for full economic development through small and Medium scale Enterprise (SMEs) sector.
According to him, the initiative started about three months ago, is another effort by the apex bank to tackle the challenges of youth unemployment.
Following the launch of the programme by the CBN, Governor, Godwin Emefiele on March 15, 2016 and the subsequent launch of a business application portal by Heritage Bank in March this year, not less than 4,000 applications were received by Heritage Bank which conducted the screening, he revealed.
Represented by the Head, Development Finance Office, CBN, Ade Adedeji, Olaitan said “this capacity building programme, which is one of the activities scheduled to enhance the quality of applications to be funded under the Youth Development Programme.”
“This three-day capacity building programme will expose participants to the rudiments of entrepreneurship and enhance their ability to develop bankable business proposals to qualify for funding. It will be an eye opener for new entrants but also enhance the values and ideals of existing entrepreneurs,” Olaitan emphasised.
A capacity building consultant and Chief Executive Officer, Africa Leadership Forum (ALF) Dr Olumide Abimbola Ajayi said the training was important to entrepreneurship development and job creation.
He called on other financial institutions to join forces with CBN in funding the young people that have undergone the entrepreneurship development training as CBN alone cannot provide funding for all participants.
“If the banks are doing this by now, the unemployment rate would have reduced. Nigeria has great potential to take over the whole of Africa; and we will do it through entrepreneurship development,” he said.
He said the programme was an initiative of the CBN, Heritage Bank and the National Youth Service Corps to help young graduates pick entrepreneurial skills that will enable them start their own businesses and become employers of labour rather than become job seekers.
Of over 4,000 applications received, 1,547 candidates, representing the first batch of possible beneficiaries of soft loans for their business ideas, took part in the three-day business development training workshop, been conducted across CBN Enterprise Development Centres in the six geopolitical zones of the country.
To be eligible for the YIEDP funding, youths must be within the age bracket of 18 and 35 year old, serving National Youth Corps members or non-NYSC members with not more than five years post-service.
The apex bank had selected Heritage Bank as its pilot partner bank to unveil, administer and manage the laudable project, which will focus on dependable job-creating sectors, such as agricultural value chain (fish farming, poultry, snail farming), cottage industry, mining and solid minerals, creative industry (tourism, arts and crafts), and Information and Communications Technology (ICT).