Radda, who spoke on Thursday at the opening ceremony of the sensitization for the Young Business Owners in Nigeria programme held at Amawbia in Awka South Local Government Area of Anambra State, said it was to address the challenge that informed the initiation of the programme by SMEDAN.
Represented by the director in charge of policy, advocacy and coordination in the organization, Mr. Monday Ewans, the DG said the population of young people between the ages of 15 and 24 was rapidly on the increase, adding that the vast majority of them lived in the poor and emerging economies.
He said: “There is no doubt that the unemployment situation in Nigeria has reached a crisis level. Statistics have shown that only one out of every 100 graduates is assured of getting a job in Nigeria.
“One of the major causes of unemployment is skill shortage occasioned by dearth of skilled personnel and entrepreneurial competence, inadequate capacity of vocational skill centres and the non-orientation of the educational system to the production of vocational skills that are aligned to industry requirements.
“The Young Business Owners in Nigeria is designed to provide a platform where existing entrepreneurs, either as standalone or cooperatives, will be competitively selected for further support. The support package is aimed at reducing some of the fundamental challenges that usually confront Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs.”
According to him, the target beneficiaries were essentially young people between the ages of 20 – 45 years, explaining that the focus on this target was because of the need to create new opportunities for employment and enterprises growth which were usually not easily realizable in start-ups.
He said that the selection criteria would be determined by the technical capacities of the promoters, available raw materials, markets, available skills, access to appropriate technologies, etc, adding that the outcome of the needs assessment would form the basis for the design and delivery of the entrepreneurship training in each zone or state.