No fewer than 135 youths have undergone entrepreneurship development training through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)-Entrepreneurship Development Centre, Southwest on wealth creation which is implemented by the Africa Leadership Forum (ALF).
For four weeks, the participants were exposed to modules such as mindset re-engineering to help them rethink business, money, and livelihood, enterprise development and idea generation, business and financial management, marketing and interpersonal relationship and writing individual business plans.
At the graduation ceremony held at the Teachers’ Co-operative House in Oshogbo were the Osun State Deputy Governor and Commissioner for Education, Chief Otunba Grace Titi Laoye Tomori, CBN represented by Mrs. Oluyemisi Adebayo of the Development Finance Office; the Africa Leadership Forum was led by Dr. Olumide Ajayi, the Programme Director of the Centre, Special Adviser to the Governor on Technical and Vocational Education; Acting Head of Board for Technical Education, Mr. Owolabi; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mr. Julius Olajide; General Manager/CEO of the Osun Micro-credit Agency, Mr. Dayo Babaranti; and Mr. Young, Head of Youth Empowerment.
In his address, Mr. Olajide, stated that the training was one of the integral plans of the state government and all the participants that underwent the training had said it was a life-changing experience.
“A second batch of the training will commence soon and other young people that heard about the training had been registering for it. This will develop the human resources of the state. It is meant to teach the people how to fish and not to give them fish,” he said.
Dr. Ajayi, the Programme Director of the CBN-EDC Southwest, commended the state for being enterprising and for being the first state in Southwest to sponsor individuals and create avenue for the training since its commencement in March last year.
Dr. Ajayi further said that of the 135 people that had undergone the training, 125 had submitted their business plans; hence, the State Micro-Credit Agency will start interacting with them henceforth.
He urged the participants not to waste the money they would receive for their businesses but to ensure that they create enterprises, employ other people in order to create more jobs.
Contributing, Mr. Babaranti also encouraged the trainees to persevere their ventures, noting that people can only take risks against waste but not uncertainty.
He revealed that the available interventions for funding of businesses included the Microcredit agency: N1, 000 to N1, 000,000; Bank of Industry (BOI) Fund, minimum of N5, 000,000; and commercial banks N10 million to N50 million, all at maximum 9 per cent interest rates. He urged the trainees to engage in businesses they are passionate about.
Mrs. Adebayo said the CBN is leveraging on research that has shown that economies thrive on the MSMEs, hence the CBN’s MSMSE’s development fund, YIEDP, Agric Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund, Financial Inclusion Programme. She added that the apex bank is looking forward to producing Osun rice in lieu of the current importation of rice.
In her remark, Otunba Laoye-Tomori, gave a wakeup call to the youth.
She emphasised that it is not right that artisans from neighbouring countries would be preferred to their Nigerian counterparts.
She said: “This should change and the CBN-EDC is one of the means of putting an end to this aberration. All the graduating trainees are expected to go and start businesses in order to end poverty and enhance employment rate. The era of oil boom is gone and we have to work with our hands.”
She further said that some of the business plans that were presented at the event indicate that things have changed to the better.
“This is not the first time that the CBN-EDC Southwest has partnered with the people of Osun State to provide entrepreneurship training and business development services. Seventy-five SMEs were trained through Co-operative groups that organised entrepreneurship training for her members in July this year”.