Empowering Youths with Entrepreneurial Skills


The Fidelity Youth Empowerment Academy, which is in its sixth season, has in partnership with Gazelle Academy, empowered youths with vocational skills and enterprise training which are relevant for self-reliance, Chiemelie Ezeobi reports

According to the 2019 National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the unemployment rate as at May was 23.1 per cent, and underemployment at 16.6 per cent. Although not stated by the bureau, youths. bear the brunt of these statistics, which often times lure them to a life of crime just to make ends meet.

Thus, determined to reduce unemployment levels in the country, Fidelity Bank Plc, in partnership with Gazelle Academy and the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State recently concluded an entrepreneurship training programme for over 200 students in the state. The programme which formally kicked off last Wednesday ended with a call to Nigerian youths to embrace entrepreneurship and create wealth for themselves instead of searching endlessly for non-existing paid jobs.

Organised under the Fidelity Youth Empowerment Academy (YEA 6), as part of its Corporate Social

Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, is primarily targeted at creating a new breed of entrepreneurs amongst the youths. The programme also seeks to empower the Nigerian undergraduate with vocational skills and enterprise training which are relevant for self-reliance.

YEA had previously held at University of Nigeria, Nsukka; Waziri Umar Federal Polytechnic, Birnin-Kebbi; Federal Polytechnic Oko; Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, and Bayero University, Kano.

Participants received training in various skill areas including, fashion, makeup, cloth embellishment, coding and confectionery.

At the training programme in Anambra during the official opening ceremony, the wife of the Anambra State governor and Founder, Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFE), Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano, urged the participants to take the training seriously, stressing that they are being empowered to impact their lives now and in the future.

Obiano urged the participants not to sell or mismanage the starter-packs to be given to them but to put them to good use and change their lives. “You can make money from what you learnt here even while still in school and when you graduate, we expect you to be employers of labour rather than searching for paid jobs,” she said, just as she commended Fidelity Bank and Gazelle Academy for the initiative and for partnering her organisation to touch lives.

The First Lady who called on other corporates to emulate the gesture, stressed that the best investment any organisation can make is to invest in the youths and the less privileged in the society.

Speaking at the closing ceremony in Awka, Managing Director / Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank, Nnamdi Okonkwo, said the programme is majorly focused on empowering youths who are the leaders of tomorrow.

Okonkwo who was represented by Head, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) & Sustainability, Fidelity Bank Plc, Chris Nnakwe, noted that part of the major reasons why the skills acquisition programme was set up is to empower undergraduates in various tertiary institutions with vocational skills and enterprise training needed to become thriving business owners before graduating from tertiary institutions.

Nnakwe pointed out that FYEA was the brainchild of the MD/CEO, Fidelity Bank Plc, Nnamdi Okonkwo and a few others, who felt that young people should not only be meaningfully engaged but also empowered to reduce the army of unemployed youths and curb societal vices.

“They came up with the idea to create young people who would create wealth. Fidelity Bank wants to create young Dangotes, Otedolas, Innosons, Coscharis and many others because with paid jobs few and far in between, not every graduate will secure paid employment after graduation,” he stated.

Nnakwe challenged the participants to endeavor to imbibe the slogan of the academy and turn their passion into a pay cheque.

Also speaking, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Charles Okechukwu Esimone, described the programme as an excellent initiative that is in consonant with the aspiration of the institution in training students with entrepreneurial skills.

“We have two worlds, the world of finance abundance and the world of scarcity, entrepreneurs are shakers the world with their finance. At Nnamdi Azikiwe University, we train students to shake the world,” he noted.

Esimone stated that the university does not joke with academic excellence and charged the participants to exhibit high sense of seriousness, stressing that though the programme was free, somebody paid for it.

The VC commended Fidelity Bank, Gazelle Academy and CAFE for bringing the programme to Nnamdi Azikiwe University, assuring them of the institution’s assistance and collaboration in future endeavours.

Taking the participants through the induction ceremony, the Founder of Gazelle Academy, Muna Onuzo, said that every YEA has always been better than the previous edition and expressed optimism that the sixth edition will be better than the fifth edition in Kano.

“We are looking for participants who will excel and give us our bragging right. They will join us in future YEA editions to train others,” she said. More than 200 participants registered for the sixth edition of the FYEA.