JA Nigeria empowers NYSC members with entrepreneurial, financial skills

Junior Achievement Nigeria (JA Nigeria), an entrepreneurship and education not-for-profit organisation, recently in Lagos, hosted some National Youth Service Corps members in the bid to educate and empower them on entrepreneurship and financial management skills through its Venture in Management Programme (ViMP).

This year edition of the programme, a one-week intensive programme, was funded by Parthian Partners, came 21 years after the first ViMP class was inaugurated by the organisation in a partnership with Lagos Business School (LBS).

The programme aims at preparing university graduates for successful entry into the workforce or the labour market. During the programme, hundred NYSC members were thought different facets of managing a business, making crucial business decisions, and developing skills for management.

The Executive Director of JA Nigeria, Foluso Gbadamosi, noted that her organisation has reached over one million students in over 20,000 classrooms in all the 36 states of the country and the FCT through over 5000 volunteers.

As part of a global network, she stressed that JA Nigeria leverages resources and expertise to deliver localised cutting-edge experiential programmes built on Junior Achievement World Wide (JAWW) three pillars of work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy, to empower in- and out-of-school youths, aged five to 27 for free.

While thanking Parthian Partners, for enabling her organisation to equip young people with the crucial life skills they need for success, she stated that the programme was conceived with the goal of creating a transformational experience for selected NYSC members and/or recent graduates every year.

“According to a survey by Oliver Wyman, which was tailored towards examining the employability gaps among Africans, showed that youths need to improve in diverse skills such as digital skills, communication, critical thinking, teamwork and also to get work experience to be job ready,” Gbadamosi said. “This programme bestows young graduates with all of these and more.”

Adekemi Akinyede, head of human resources at Parthian Partners stated that her organisation is Nigeria’s foremost indigenous inter-dealer brokerage firm, with a wide range of clients cutting across local and foreign banking institutions, asset managers, insurance companies, pension fund administrators, etc.

She also stated that her organisation was delighted to partner with JA Nigeria for the 2021 ViMP programme. She expressed satisfaction that the career-defining experience for the participants has created a high impact on them to become ethical business leaders who will successfully run their own businesses or manage already established businesses.

“This, for us, clearly reinforces our commitment to apply our core competencies and resources towards creating and supporting platforms that give young people access to information, skills, networks, and other resources they require to develop potential and to build future relevant capabilities that are necessary for broad socio-economic development,” Akinyede added.

The programme was led by facilitators from LBS and some key industry leaders, and it was implemented in a hybrid mode, giving more opportunity to reach more graduates than the previous years. The curriculum included stimulating classroom sessions, case studies, panel discussions, networking, study groups, guest speakers and recreation, culminating in a strategy workshop, during which the participants presented solutions to real-world case studies.

Courses taught at the programme and their facilitators were: ‘Personal branding’ by Dr Dolapo Amusan; ‘Making effective presentations’ by Atinuke Adelakun; ‘About LBS and Opus Dei’ by Dr Uchenna Uzo; ‘Monetising your knowledge in the digital era’ by John Obidi; ‘Ethics, values, leadership and society: Who’s an Icon?’ by Dr Kemi Ogunyemi; ‘Ethics, values, leadership and society: Reimagining a more sustainable narrative for common good’ by Dr Kemi Ogunyemi.

Others courses and facilitators included: ‘Entrepreneurship essentials I and II’ by Dr Henrietta Onwuegbuzie; ‘Export opportunities you can explore’ by Olori Boye Ajayi; ‘Political awareness’ by Joyce Daniels; ‘Opportunities in construction industry’ by Igbuan Okaisobor; ‘Opportunities in agribusiness’ by Deji Balogun; ‘The future of work’ by Dr Isa Omagu; and ‘Fundamentals of marketing’ by Dr Uchenna Uzo.

Femi Taiwo, the Executive Director of LEAP Africa and a 2010 ViMP alumnus, stressed that he is a proud ViMP alumni. He stated that he was privileged to have attended a good higher institution, but that he attended the ViMP programme and saw another level of excellence.

“The network I built then has contributed immensely to my career trajectory and growth,” Taiwo said. “One very key thing I took away from ViMP, and which has stuck with me to date, is the pursuit of excellence. No matter the constraint, excellence must be at the forefront.”

One of the participants of the programme, Praise Babalola, stated that one of the best decisions she made was applying for the programme and getting in. “Although the programem has ended, I still visit my notes. From branding, to making effective presentations, to digital marketing opportunities, to the future of work, and many more, I find myself applying all that I’ve learnt at every opportunity I get,” Babalola said.

Hakeem Akiode, another participant, stated that his experience at the programme can be likened to that of a swimmer who comes above water to get oxygen so he can continue. “ViMP is that oxygen for me. I’ve received the right skills, mindset and network to proceed to the next phase of my career. I’m thankful to JA Nigeria for this opportunity, and I cannot wait to share what I’ve learnt with my community.”

Over the past 21 years, ViMP has graduated over 1000 alumni who are now leading businesses and social enterprises, and participating actively in government. Some notable alumni include: Tunji Eleso, Adenike Adeyemi, Chienye Ogwo, Gbenga Sesan, Femi Taiwo, Toyosi Adekoya, Zeal Akaraiwe, Christina Olusile, among others.

The 2021 ViMP programme was implemented with the support of some notable organisations like Verraki Partners, Channels Television, and City FM 105.1. Organisers of the programme stated that due to the support of their various sponsors and partners, the programme has continued to remain free to all participants.

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