The Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative (CYFI), in collaboration with the United States Consulate General, Lagos, has equipped young entrepreneurs from Nigerian tertiary institutions with the skills to thrive in the business world.
Over the past three months, students from various universities and polytechnics have participated in an intensive training program which began in August. During this initiative, they were exposed to valuable leadership and entrepreneurship skills from experts in various fields. The program culminated with a mentoring event held in Ikoyi.
Olusola Owonikoko, President of CYFI, stressed the importance of investing in Nigerian youth, highlighting their contributions to the development of the nation. He said “the entrepreneurship program has been specifically designed to help young entrepreneurs navigate the challenges of sustaining their businesses in today’s economic landscape.”
Owonikoko, expressing deep concern for the future of the younger generation, stressed the importance of addressing employability issues to help them find purpose in their activities. He also advocated for universities to create platforms for young entrepreneurs to develop essential skills and knowledge.
“I think that nowadays every university should have a technology and entrepreneurship center, because personally, I started my entrepreneurship from my university years, but unfortunately we did not receive any support. Universities should start looking beyond the traditional educational model towards a futuristic model that promotes entrepreneurial thinking and innovative approaches to things,” he said.
Also at the event, Boboye Adeniji, project coordinator of the programme, called on the government to implement policies conducive to the growth of small businesses. He highlighted the program’s main focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with the aim of improving their sustainability and profitability.
Adeniji said: “Our focus has always been on SMEs to ensure they become more sustainable and profitable. Until we achieve this, we will not be able to create wealth or effectively solve Nigeria’s problems, given their sheer number. Empowering them to realize their full potential will significantly reduce the unemployment rate, as they will then be able to provide employment for one or two people.”
Allen Abu, Program Manager responsible for Entrepreneurship Training, shared his views on the training content. He revealed that the participants received comprehensive training on business strategy, branding, digital marketing and various other essential topics.