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EXPLORING PRODUCTIVE POTENTIALS OF YOUTHS

A SYMPOSIUM AND MENTORSHIP PLACEMENT IN SME’S IN 2010

Theme: Exploring Productive Potentials of Youths through Small and Medium Scale Enterprise.

The challenge:

With the challenges of unemployment in Nigeria, graduates are being encouraged and sometimes compelled by their economic circumstances to begin one form of enterprise or the other. However, these ventures are usually doomed from the start primarily because there is no formal training on strategies to run a successful business.

Lagos State is reported as one of the fastest growing cities in the world. By implication, commercial activities, especially in the small and medium scale industry is expected to increase. This news should ordinarily be received with enthusiasm as SME’s are closely linked with local economic development enabling developing nations to grow a solid middle class as they have been proven to be a source of linkages that strengthen national economic vitality. According to the World-Bank, SME’s spur economic growth, enhance competition, entrepreneurship, job growth and spur economic-wide efficiency, innovation, growth and poverty alleviation.

Closer inspection however shows that the odds are stacked against the existing, new and yet to be established SME’s in Nigeria. It is reported that less than 5% of SME’s survive beyond their 1st year. Factors such as inadequate infrastructure and social amenities, inconsistency of government policies, multiple tax levies, political uncertainty and corruption are issues SME owners have to contend with.

Despite these challenges, there are SME’s that overcome them and thrive.

The Proposal:

The SME Project intends to provide a platform where successful SME founders can share their experience and where participants who are shortlisted can participate in mentorship placements. These founders would be pulled from professional sectors such as Business development, Healthcare, Education, Food processing and skilled based sectors such as Photography, Video Editing and Bead making.

Synopsis of the SME PROJECT:

Theme: Nigeria at 50: Exploring the productive potentials of youth through SME

At phase 1, The Workshop, participants:

  1. Were introduced to the SME industry and the role it plays in economic development would be highlighted
  2. Initiated relationships where they could be mentored by veterans of the industry
  3. Were enlightened on the various ways to raise capital for business ideas
  4. Appreciated the importance of writing a business plan
  5. Learnt how to handle money and finances and the importance of good record keeping.
  6. Learnt how to stimulate creative writing thinking
  7. Were able to adjudge which business ideas are feasible
  8. Provided with a platform where business associations can be made
  9. Provided with access to resources and business development services

At phase 2, The Placement, participants:

  1. Made business alliances which would help them in developing their own businesses
  2. Learnt from the mistakes of their mentors
  3. Gained leverage based on relationships made during this time

Outcomes: 

The SME project

  1. Broadened the minds of the graduates to the vistas of opportunity that exist in the SME industry
  2. Provided resources to individuals with viable business ideas
  3. Provided placement opportunities for participants
  4. Improved the analytical skills in discerning workable business ideas
  5. Solidified their interest in SME
  6. Curbed the number of failed business in Nigeria.

The Event

Was a gathering of graduating students of all tertiary institutions in the centre of excellence, Lagos state. About 800 graduating students who are interested in enterprise development were hosted from all tertiary institutions in Lagos State. The institutions are:

  • UNILAG-University of Lagos, Akoka
  • LASU-Lagos State University
  • FCE-Federal College of Education, Akoka
  • LASPOTECH-Lagos State Polytechnic
  • CMUL-College of Medicine, University of Lagos
  • LASUTH-Lagos State University Teaching Hospital
  • YABATECH-Yaba College of Technology
  • AOCOED-Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education

The workshop doubled as part of activities to mark the 50th Anniversary of Nigeria.

Venue: Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) hall, Ikeja, Lagos. Transportation was provided.


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