Nigeria To Spend N50 Billion On Youth Empowerment Scheme

Oct 12, 2011 – The federal government has said it included the sum of N50 billionin the 2012 budget, for youth empowerment.

This was disclosed at the Presidential Villa on Tuesday during the launch of a youth empowerment scheme, YouWIN!

The Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (You WiN!) Programmeis a collaboration of the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Communication Technology, and the Ministry of Youth Development. It is expected to run for three years and it will be organised as a competition.

It will launch an annual Business Plan Competition (BPC) for aspiring young entrepreneurs in Nigeria, in line with the federal government’s drive to create more jobs for Nigerians. The programme will be implemented in partnership with Nigeria’s private sector, which will be requested to provide funding support.

Sponsors of the programme include the ministries of Finance, Youth Development, Communication Technology, the World Bank, and the Directorate for International Development (DFID).

The objectives of the programme include: to attract ideas andinnovations from young entrepreneurial aspirants from universities, polytechnics, technical colleges, and other post-secondary institutions in Nigeria; to provide a onetime equity grant for 1,200 selected aspiring entrepreneurs to start or expand their business concepts and mitigate start up risks; to generate 40,000 to 50,000 new jobs for currently unemployed Nigerian youth over the three years, during which the three cycles will be implemented.

Other objectives are: to provide businesstraining for up to 6,000 aspiring youth entrepreneurs spread across all geo-political zones in Nigeria; to encourage expansion,specialisation and spin-offs of existing businesses in Nigeria; and to enable young entrepreneurs to access a wide business professional network and improve their visibility.

Speaking shortly before launching the initiative, President GoodluckJonathan noted that unemployment in Nigeria is one challenge that the nation is ready to address.

“Unemployment among our youth is one of our biggest challenges,” he said. “Thetime has come to create jobs (and) lay a new foundation for Nigeria’s economic growth.”

He also stated that the programme was initiated to assist youngNigerians with entrepreneurial skills, adding that the federal government had fortunately added the sum of N50billion for youth empowerment in the 2011 budget.

“When we prepared the budget for next year, we had some funds injectedinto the tune of N50 billion that will focus on youth empowerment; every year we will up with different patterns,” he said.

He also added that the federal government has decided to separate the ministries of Information and Communication “to also make sure that we focus on youth empowerment through creating a lot of jobs for the youth through ICT”.

The Minister of Communications, Mobolaji Johnson, also said the first batch will kick off with an initial selection of 2,400 business concepts of youth from across the six geo-political zones (400each) with an additional 3600 that will be sent for training in business management and business planning.

The YouWin! scheme kicked offimmediately as the president launched the website, www.youwin.org.ng, and is expected to commence a road show in the six geopolitical zones to sensitise the youth.