By O’star Eze
In a bid to engage Anambra youths gainfully and tackle the menace of cultism in the state, the Anambra state government recently held a week long business incubation programme for 200 budding entrepreneurs who the governor promised would be given grants by the World Bank to start their enterprises.
Flagging the programme off at IDK Learning Centre, Awka, the Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State stated that the training was informed by the government’s drive to reduce to the barest minimum the number of unemployed youths in the state which had been tagged at 23 per cent of the 4.2 million of the populace. He said that of the 23 per cent of unemployed are very gifted Anambra youths who when given the chance excel above their contemporaries in every part of the world.
Obiano said that his government is ready to support individuals and groups that are ready to employ their skills in inventive and innovative ventures.
“Our economy in Anambra State by GDP is bigger than that of Ghana. We increase the velocity of money by encouraging the increase of economic activities and this facilitates the growth of GDP. Infrastructure projects are the greatest employers of youths in Anambra State.”
He encouraged the participants to learn as much as they can from the programme in order to be better and more productive citizens.
Announcing business opportunities provided by the state government, Obiano said that already youths are being trained in big farms and farming programmes and federal government programmes. He described them as opportunities to be gainfully employed.
“We have great opportunity for employing youths in agriculture. We are clearing plots of land which we allot to youths and give them seedlings with which to develop the lands and make profit. We also have the concept of fishing and we encourage people to start fish farming in your homes.”
He also said that the government was tackling the menace of cultism in the state disclosing that the government is going into the primary schools up to the tertiary institutions to curb the situation. He admonished the participants to steer clear of cultism as it could put them on the wrong side of the law.
“The ten shared values recited in our primary schools and our anthem as well as our vision and mission which is to become a first choice investment destination and the hub for economic and commercial activities are all guides to making Anambra State the pacesetting state in the Nigeria.
“We are working with the World Bank to see how they can provide loans so that you can practice what you learnt.”
Earlier while introducing the programme, the outgoing commissioner for youth development and creative entrepreneurship, Hon Bonaventure Enemali stated that the event was a week intensive business incubation exercise geared towards helping 200 young people translate their skills to money making ventures.
Enemali while appreciating the governor for supporting youth development said that the programme was an extension of the one youth, one skill programme which was started over a year ago and “have taken over 4000 youths off the streets of unemployment to entrepreneurship.”
He noted that such entrepreneurship and mentoring initiatives by the state government was part of the reason Anambra has remained tops in security across the country. He encouraged the participants to make the most of the opportunity which has been provided free of charge to launch themselves on the path to entrepreneurship. The commissioner announced that after the event, the participants will be engaged in continued mentorship programme to help them develop as entrepreneurs.
In his remark, the chief facilitator of the programme and a professor of entrepreneurship and management, Professor Allis Idemobi lauded the state government for making conscious effort to keep Anambra State above poverty line and remaining at the fore front of youth empowerment. He disclosed that based on 2017 poverty mapping, while the poverty rate of Nigeria was 68 per cent, that of Anambra State is 42 per cent.
He attributed this to the government providing improved business climes like streetlights which has encouraged extended business activities; improvement in power supply and security apparatus as well as youth empowerment programmes.
The professor enthused that the business incubation would “dovetail the government’s one youth one skill initiative and make the youths to market themselves better.”
The participants were coached on bankable business plan writing, how the mind of the entrepreneur works and understanding their customers among other skills.