Delta State, Global Agencies Partner to Boost Start-up Businesses

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Emma Okonji

Country representatives of the World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other global development agencies, are in partnership the Delta State government to drive entrepreneurial development among existing small and start-up businesses in the state.

The global agencies will be in Asaba, the Delta State capital, from December 13 and 14 to collaborate with the state government in seeking new markets for the products and services of young entrepreneurs that have established their own businesses in the state.

Other agencies involved in the project include the Bank of Industry (BoI), Nigerian Export promotion Council (NEPC), Bank of Agriculture as well as the local branches of the Chambers of Commerce, Mines and Agriculture.

The platform is the exhibition and business fair of the 2,424 young men and women who have successfully set up their own commercial enterprises after benefiting from the state’s youth empowerment programmes.

Over 1,687 of them went through the Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP) and 618 graduated through the Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP) since they were introduced at the inception of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration in the state.

Most of them had set up successful ventures in various areas, including Information and Communications Technology (ICT), aqua-culture, electrical fabrication, building materials manufacturing among others.

The fair, according to the Chief Job Creation Officer of the state, Prof. Eric Eboh, is projected to exhibit and market their products and business enterprises, create business relationships with investors, communicate their business vision to banks and business support institutions from within and outside the state, and make vital business contacts.

Eboh said the event was built around the young entrepreneurs to promote and uplift them to greater heights through exceptional exposure to new markets, new ideas and new contacts. The coming of officials from various international and local development agencies will enable the STEP and YAGEP beneficiaries expand the market for their products through improvement on product quality and adoption of modern marketing techniques, Eboh said.

He said market unions, cooperative societies, trade groups, artisan associations, banks and microfinance banks would be part of the collaborative effort to open new frontiers and markets for the products of the young entrepreneurs.

Eboh said the fair would demonstrate the outcomes of the STEP and YAGEP programmes of the state governor, since his election in 2015.

The exhibition will also feature products from persons empowered through other programmes of the stare, including vocational skills training centres under the Technical and Vocational Education Board, the Delta State Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (DEMSMA) and other skill acquisition and entrepreneurship programmes under the state technology incubation centre.