……Targets 50, 000 youth
The Nigerian government has officially launched the You WIN! Project, a youth empowerment and entrepreneurship project anchored by the Federal Ministry of Finance in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Communication and Technology, the Federal Ministry of Youth Development, private sector companies and the World Bank. The project was launched by Nigeria’s president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan at an event with over 2000 youth in the nation’s capital Abuja on Tuesday, 11 October, 2011.
You WIN! – Youth Enterprise with Innovation – is an annual Business Plan Competition (BPC) for aspiring young entrepreneurs in Nigeria, in line with the Federal Government’s drive to create more jobs for Nigerians. Competition is targeted at Nigerian youth with a well-developed new business concept, or innovation/expansion plan for an existing (informal) enterprise.
The Lagos Business School has been selected to conduct the first round of screenings for the business plan submissions as well as coordinate trainings and mentorships. A six-member panel of judges, comprising reputable business leaders and experts drawn from the private sector, has been appointed in each geographical to validate and audit the screening process by the business school at each stage of the competition. The competition will be held yearly over the next three years.
“In line with the president’s vision, the main objective of You WIN! is to generate jobs by encouraging and supporting aspiring entrepreneurial youth in Nigeria to develop and execute business ideas that will lead to job creation,” Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Minister for Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy. “The program will provide aspiring youth with a platform to show case their business acumen, skills and aspirations to business leaders, investors and mentors in Nigeria.”
The winning entries will be a mix of start-ups and existing (informal) enterprises that are looking to expand. The final awards will be a maximum of N5 million for start-ups and up to N10 million for existing enterprises – the awards categories are Best innovator / new idea, Best product, Best business plan, Best Corporate Social Responsibility and Best Overall entrant.
The competition will be launched simultaneously in the six zones in Nigeria to enable youth in all states to participate. The competition is expected to hold yearly over a 3-year period. The funds will be provided via a banking institution, and will be disbursed according to the achievement of milestones in business execution.
At the end of the period, the target is to have 3, 600 entrepreneurs supported to start or expand their business concepts over three years; an additional 1,800-2,000 business started or expanded by youth trained by the program; 40,000 to 50,000 sustainable new jobs for currently unemployed Nigerian youth over three years; at least 6,000 aspiring youth entrepreneurs trained in business planning and management and at least 3,600 entrepreneurs linked with mentors in the business community.
“Those figures, as encouraging as they are, are in fact just a start. For us, as a facilitating ministry for the youth population, the question of providing an atmosphere and the right environment for youth entrepreneurship to flourish is of utmost importance,” said Bolaji Abdullahi, the Minister of Youth. “Government will not necessarily create jobs, but we are focused on stimulating entrepreneurship activity and emphasising a framework for young people to create jobs and build capacity. That is what will drive the future of Nigeria.”
The project is funded by a private sector coalition. More information, including eligibility requirements are available on the website www.youwin.org.ng and on the Facebook and Twitter pages – YouWinNigeria. Town Hall Meetings across the six geo-political zones of the country, to reach youth at the community levels, begin immediately.