Ondo State Government in conjunction with Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has started training over 360 youths on different business enterprise.
The three-day entrepreneurship programme organised by the Ministry of Youths and Sports Development with SMEDAN started on Monday and would end on Wednesday.
In a message to the event, Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State said that one of the major problems facing youths in the country was unemployment, hence the need to impart youths with entrepreneurial skills.
The governor, represented by his Deputy, Mr Agboola Ajayi, said that one of the core values of his government was human capital development, being the foundation of socio-economic growth of the state.
According to Akeredolu, over four million youths enter the labour market as against the available one million jobs.
“As our administration is committed to sustainable youth empowerment, this three-day capacity building training is intended to unlock and re-invent your creative potential and provide another opportunity for you to either start or scale up your existing businesses.
“We cannot pretend to be unaware of the teething challenges confronting entrepreneurs, notably the inability to access the initial capital outlay,’’ he said.
Akeredolu said the agricultural value chain business was significant aspect of his government’s plan to create jobs for unemployed youths and to grow the state economy.
He revealed that the business had engaged over 18,000 youths, with social protection and reinvestment programmes which had currently engaged about 50,000 youths through its various components.
Also, the commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Mr Dotun Owanikin, said the programme showed the commitment of the governor towards youth development in the state.
He said the training would make the youths self-reliant and empower them to ensure sustainable employment opportunities in the state.
Owanikin said that a minimum of 20 youths were selected from each local government adding, “what we are trying to do here is to start a chain of employment for the youths in the state.’’
Mr Biodun Ayedun, SMEDAN Coordinator in the state, commended the state government for giving the youths the opportunity to be employers of labour.
Ayedun assured that after the training, the participants would be able to access loans of between N1 million and N10 million, payable after 18 months of collection with five per cent interest rate.