David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
The Director-General of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, Dr. Umaru Radda, has said the best way to beat unemployment in Nigeria was to sustain the Young Business Owners (YBO) in Nigeria initiative.
The director general said the unemployment situation in the country has reached a crisis level and needed approaches like the YBO to tame it.
Radda, who was represented by the Southeast Zonal Coordinator of the Agency, Mr. Levi Anyikwa in Awka, Anambra State during the flag off of empowerment of young business owners in Anambra State, urged them to make the best of the window of opportunity opened by SMEDAN.
He said 80 beneficiaries had been selected for a pilot project from each of the States, adding, “The exercise is expected to cover all the States of the Federation in the next few years.”
Radda said the empowerment programme had two components; enterprise management training and payment for workspaces for one year. The DG added that the two components of the programme were part of the solutions designed by the Agency to mitigate business failures recorded by young business owners.
He noted that the training would sharpen the business management skills of the beneficiaries which would increase their performance while the payment for workspaces would reduce their financial burden and free some funds for daily operations.
He said, â€œThe target beneficiaries of the programme are young people between the ages of 20-45 years. The goal is to create new opportunities for enterprise growth for start-ups and for employment.
“Selection criteria for beneficiaries include: technical capacities of the promoters, available raw materials, markets, available skills, access to appropriate technologies, among others.
“Needs assessment was conducted which formed the basis for the design of the empowerment package. Furthermore, the delivery of a tailored Business Development Services package would include mentoring, linkages to markets and sources of equipment and provision of workspace.
â€œFor sustainability of the programme, small business advisors would be assigned to each beneficiary/group to provide critical hand-holding supports to ensure the realisation of the set goals prior to the Agencyâ€™s project-exitâ€, he added.