Dr Dikko Radda, the Director- General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), has blamed poor entrepreneurial skills for the high rate of unemployment in the country.
Radda spoke in Abeokuta on Friday at the opening ceremony of the sensitisation programme organised by Young Business Owners in Nigeria (Y-BON).
The director-general, who was represented by the Assistant Director, Enterprise Development and Promotion, Mrs Ime Andy, said dearth of skilled personnel and entrepreneurial competence was a major cause of unemployment among the youths.
He also added that inadequate vocational skills centers and the non-orientation of educational system to the production of vocational skills aligned to industry requirements were also causes of unemployment.
Radda, who said that the unemployment situation in Nigeria had reached a crisis level, noted that statistics show that only one out of every 100 graduate is assured of getting a job in Nigeria.
He said that in addressing the unemployment challenge, SMEDAN initiated the Y-BON programme which was designed to provide a platform for existing entrepreneurs either as stand-alone or cooperative society for further support.
Radda added that the support package was aimed at reducing some fundamental challenges that usually confront Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs).
“Our target beneficiaries are young people between the ages of 20-45 years and the focus on this target is because of the need to create new opportunities for unemployment and enterprises growth which are usually not easily realisable in the start-ups, ” Radda said.
He, however, disclosed that in 2018, SMEDAN supported 460 business owners with workspace in the six states of Anambra (80), Kebbi (80), Kogi (100), Cross River (100) and Osun (100).
” For this year 2019, three state have been selected as beneficiaries of the programme which are Baylesa, Ogun and Katsina.
“The programme will not only produce skilled labour but will also provide jobs for the high number of graduates that annually enter the Nigerian labour market and this would certainly reduce socio-economic unrest and poverty, ” he said.
Mr Gbenga Ogundeji, the South West Zonal Coordinator for SMEDAN, said the B-YON Programme was to assist young persons“ to be their own boss and at the same time create job opportunities for other job seekers.’’
“The sensitisation programme is the first stage; in Ogun State, we have gathered 200 participants– 100 in Abeokuta and another 100 Sagamu.
“ At the end of the programme after the selection, we are going to empower some of them, but not with huge sum.
“We have also identified that majority of them don’t even have work space and we believe that we can start from there by supporting them with work space which will help a lot of them to commerce their business and start off from there,’’ he said.
Ogundeji said that at the end of the training, 50 participants would be selected from Abeokuta and 50 from Sagamu and would be empowered.
He added that the 100 successful participants would be trained on entrepreneurship and also be assisted on how to register their businesses with CAC and other relevant institutions to start a business.
Mr Bunmi Dawodu, the State Manager of SMEDAN, advised all participants to have the mind set of an entrepreneur, goal achiever and risk taker.
Dawodu outlined some of the qualities of a successful entrepreneur to include persistence and strong desire to achieve, goal oriented behaviour, independence, self confidence and attitude of a calculated risk taker.
He also said an entrepreneur must be innovative, visionary while having problem solving skills and strong integrity.
The official added that an entrepreneur must have the ability to consolidate resources, have strong management and organisational skills, be competitive and have desire to work.
Dawodu urged the participants to take advantage of all what was taught and practise them in their various business in order to ease the risk in business.