Utomi: Increased Investment in Youth Entrepreneurship will Boost SMEs

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By Ugo Aliogo and Gloria Onoja

The Founder of Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL) Prof. Pat Utomi, has called for increased investment in youth entrepreneurship as part of efforts to improve the growth of small medium scale enterprises (SME) in Nigeria. He added that this would improve employment generation and boost economic growth.

Utomi, who made the observation at a press briefing in Lagos, said if the country aspires to build a strong partnership for development, there is need for effective collaboration between the public, private and private development agencies.

He said as part of efforts to support the federal government’s desire in the area of youth empowerment, CVL in partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had commenced the 2nd edition of the CVL national youth intervention project in Delta State to provide technical skills trainings, entrepreneurial and micro-enterprise development.

The CVL founder explained that the Project meant for the South-South Zone, which was the second phase of the CVL National Youth Intervention Programme (South-West, South-South, North East, North Central, South-East and North-West) will be implemented in four different clusters of Delta State (Warri, Asaba, Agbor, and Ozoro) and directly benefit 400 participants (100 from each cluster) and over 5,000 indirect beneficiaries between February and October.

He noted that the first phase for South-West which took place in Ajegunle, Lagos, was concluded in July 2016, adding that it empowered 100 youths with Entrepreneurship, business management Skills and start-up kits/grants, “the third phase will take place in the North East in Adamawa state.”

Utomi added: “The training will include: Technical/vocational skills training for sustainable income generation activities, (including food production, metal works/wielding, sewing, Tiling, Hospitality/Tourism, carpentry, vehicle repair, and bricklaying), entrepreneurship and business skills training: basic financial management, budgeting, business planning, and skills marketing to encourage profitable and self-sustaining enterprises.

“The programme will serve as a finishing school for young graduates in the areas of entrepreneurship and employability.

“It will also introduce ‘executive vocational education’ which allows for unemployed graduates to learn vocational skills and gain business capacity. Within 12 months train and equip 200 youth in Delta State with entrepreneurship skills to start and run sustainable micro-enterprises. The training provides mentoring and supervisory visits for trained youth as they launch new business activities such as advising on budgeting, bookkeeping, and accounting.”