Mastercard Foundation Partners EDC to Empower 200,000 Youths

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By Hamid Ayodeji

As part of efforts to tackle unemployment across the geo-political zones of the country, the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) of the Pan Atlantic University has announced its partnership with Mastercard Foundation to create job opportunities for 200,000 Nigerians within five years.

The organisations revealed that the programme, which is aimed at providing training and capacity building schemes for Nigerian youths in Lagos, Kaduna and Kano States between the ages of 18 and 35 years, would also offer support for business development service providers who help “the beneficiaries to have access to market by helping them understand how to package their product, as well as help them unleash their full potential.”

Speaking at a media briefing recently in Lagos, the Director, Enterprise Development Centre, Pan Atlantic University, Peter Bamkole, stated that the programme took participants through a three-month training period that enabled them to learn how they can establish and develop a successful enterprise and become employers of labour.

Bamkole revealed that after conducting their research, they decided to focus on the agriculture and creative sectors which are two essential sectors of growth for the country’s recovering economy, adding that they are focused on changing the narrative whereby people think they can go into entrepreneurship as a side hustle.

He expressed confidence that they meet the youths where they are so that they can add value to them, and subsequently add value to the society.

The Bamkole further explained that through the ‘Transforming Nigerian Youths’ programme, they have been able to transform and upscale several businesses and business owners, as well as supporting them to take the necessary steps to enhance their business activities.

According to him, “After the training schemes, we also provide them with access to funding through partners such as Sterling Bank and Lagos State Employment Trust Fund in order to help boost the development of their business. “In regards to our trainers, they are all certified to be able to train youths as we are working with SMEDAN to ensure that they become certified.”

On her part, the Country Head Nigeria of Mastercard Foundation, Chidinma Lawanson, said the organisation is partnering the Enterprise Development Centre to ensure that they meet the target to empower 200,000 entrepreneurs in five years.

She disclosed that they are excited to partner the organisations that are credible and have the expertise to implement their objective of empowering the youths.

She said: “Based on research and aligning with the government’s strategies, we have gathered that if we want to target the youths, the agriculture sector, which creates about 60 percent of Nigeria’s employment, is the sector for us to focus on; as well as the creative industry. Thanks to technology the way agriculture is now being practiced has evolved to digitalise a method which creates a lot of opportunities for Nigerian youths to get involved and excel in the space. Another sector, which we are going to focused on, is the creative sector which is a major source of creating employment for youths.”