Opening Remarks by Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation at the National Youth Entrepreneurship Empowerment Summit 2019.
It gives me great pleasure to have been invited to this very innovative initiative, which has been specifically designed to encourage and give back to the Nigerian youth in celebration of the 2019 presidential inauguration and Democracy day.
Any nation that ignores its youthful population, does so at a very great risk, as it is the fastest way to eroding the lot of the immediate future generation.
This administration believes very strongly in its teeming youth population, so much so that two major pillars of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan are human capital development and rapid industrialisation through the promotion and creation of enabling environment for SMEs.
The Buhari administration in its first four years paid quite some attention to this noble cause, by putting in place several initiatives and interventions aimed at the Nigerian youth, talents budding, creative industry and pursuit of skills acquisition for improvements in livelihood.
Ladies and gentlemen the National Youth Entrepreneurship Empowerment Summit
Has been carefully crafted to not only Encourage Entrepreneurship and birthing of new businesses, but to also create enabling environment where budding entrepreneurs and start-up businesses can showcase innovative and viable products and services; provide a platform for Interface with top government officials responsible for youth intervention programmes; and provide them with small grants as start-up and budding capital.
Figures from the National Burueau of Statistics clearly show that while we have, in the last 4 years, made a clear attempt to empower many young Nigerians through various initiatives, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done where youth employment is concerned.
The focus on the economy by this administration is as a result, driven by various pillars of national development. Key amongst which is the need to intentionally invest in the entrepreneurial capacity of the average Nigerian. The more productive the citizens of a nation are, the better the economy will be. I believe that the average Nigerian is willing to put in their best to be productive. The challenge most people face however is that they lack sufficient knowledge and skills to drive successful businesses. Another significant number of them have the knowledge and skills but often times, they lack the financial capacity to translate their entrepreneurial dreams to reality.
This is the thought that has driven the structure of this conference and has built all activities around three major anchors
(1) Ensure all participants are equipped with the KNOWLEDGE required for business success
(2) Offer SKILL based training sessions so that participants can immediately move towards productivity
(3) EMPOWER deserving young Nigerians with some FUNDING to take their businesses to the NEXT LEVEL
While we might not be able to provide funding to every young deserving Nigerian during this particular conference, I am confident that many more initiatives like this will be implemented by this administration so that more young Nigerians can benefit as well.
In preparing for this conference, we have not only chosen resource persons and panelist’s that are top notch in their various vocations and businesses, but have also taken the liberty to invite some top government officials who have in their purview, initiatives specifically designed to create opportunities for growth and startup of small businesses, some them targeted at our young men and women. They will be participating in the open forums to enlighten you on the various programs and initiatives and how to access and benefit from the various schemes. They will guide you on how you can take advantage of them. Please make sure you do not miss the open forum sessions in the course of this 3 days.
In the cause of your sessions you will hear from selected experts that have excelled in the art of mastering their talents for profit, as well as those that have benefited from governments initiatives to set up small businesses.
10 amongst those of you that submitted business proposals will go home with 1Million Naira each, courtesy of the Federal Government and 12 months personal mentorship programme courtesy of the Tony Elumelu Foundation. Another 10 will win 12 months mentorship programme only (a total of 24 mentorships)
In the area of skills acquisition, the best 8 in skill sets will win the sum of 200 thousand Naira each courtesy of the Federal Government, to help kick start their businesses.
We can assure you that the selection process will be absolutely transparent.
Let me sincerely thank our supporters especially the Tony Elumelu Foundation for providing us with world class panel of judges, to vet the business proposal submissions and for accepting to provide 12months mentorshipto 20 lucky winners; the Jimi Tewe Company and Eventti Planners for assiduously working with the planning committee to put this together, we are very optimistic that this will be yet another milestone and success story in public private partnerships for national development.
May I conclude by admonishing that there is no limit to who you can become, if you will only apply yourself in life. While this conference is free to attend, only those who pay the price of diligence will make the most of it. I therefore ask you to be determined and fully engage every session, participate actively in every skill group.
Once again, I welcome you all to this summit.
God bless you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.