African Guarantee Fund Set to Empower 80 Young Entrepreneurs

Nume Ekeghe

The African Guarantee Fund for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (AGF), with the support of the African Development Bank’s Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund, launched a training and mentorship program for youth-led start-ups and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Nigeria. 

The African Guarantee Fund is implementing the year-long training and mentorship series expected to provide capacity-building support and coaching to 80 youth entrepreneurs across the country. 

According to Nigeria’s Ministry of Trade and Investment, more than 37 million micro, small and medium enterprisesaccount for more than 84 percent of jobs in the country. Micro, small and medium enterprises also account for about 48.5 percent of the gross domestic product and about 7.27 percent of goods and services exported. Program organizers said the training and mentorship program will boost this group’s contribution to Nigeria’s overall economic growth and development.

AGF Deputy Group CEO, Constant N’zi said: “Youths who comprise over 50 percent of the Nigerian population have a critical role to play in the development of the country. The objective of AGF’s partnership with FRAGG is to build the capacity of youth entrepreneurs so that they are equipped to access financing for their sustainable growth.”

Fragg Investment Management Limited, the program’s coordinating partner for Nigeria, will match program participants with business coaches and mentors, as well as teach them the technical skills needed to submit bankable business proposals – plans more likely to secure financing. The consulting firm also aims to link youth-led startup leaders to local financial institutions and private equity funds.

“Our team is committed to supporting the Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation initiative. This program is in tandem with the values of FRAGG, which is entrenched in the triple bottom approach of people, profit, and the planet,” FRAGG Managing Director Franklin Odoemenam said. “We are pledging our organisations’ support in equipping Nigerian youth entrepreneurs with training that will position their businesses to be investor-ready, in order to access financing.”

The Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund Youth-led Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises, Training and Mentorship Program is rolling out programs in Ghana, Mali, Togo, and Zimbabwe in 2022.

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