Federal Government Urged to Create More Entrepreneurship Development Centers to Boost Job Creation

A director of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), South South EDC, Mr. Gbenga Owolabi has urged the Federal Government to establish more Entrepreneurship Development Centers (EDCs) across the country to improve access at affordable costs for aspiring or existing entrepreneurs. He made this call during the Entrepreneurship Career Fair organised recently by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM) in Lagos

Speaking on the Imperative for Job Creation, Owolabi also urged governments and regulatory institutions for education to ensure that appropriate entrepreneurship curriculum is well integrated into the standard curriculum for schools at all levels with emphasis on the development of entrepreneurial mindset in addition to business skills.

Noting that only 4.5 million out of 41.5 million working Nigerians are in paid employment, Owolabi said the need for youth to develop their entrepreneurial skill cannot be overemphasised. The government focuses to hire a speaker and keep the youth motivated to do great things.

In the United States, he observed that small businesses are responsible for between 65 and 90 percent of all jobs created whilst in high income countries, SMEs account for 65 percent employment and contributes 51 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“Nigeria has been overwhelmed by so many problems that we no longer see opportunities in developing entrepreneurship skills. To seek a job in the country today is much more`challenging than to create jobs. Yet our youths are searching for white collar jobs,” he lamented.

According to him, in spite of the realisation that access to finance is critical to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) growth and development, Nigeria still does not have sufficient volume of the much needed entrepreneurial presence and activities.

He recalled that the CBN had in 2008 initiated the Entrepreneurship Development Centres (EDC) in the South West, North West and South East geopolitical zones located in Lagos, Kano and Onitsha respectively.This, he said was in partnership with private sector firms appointed as Implementing Agencies (IA) for the EDCs.

“The CBN extended its partnership to willing State Governments to collaborate in the establishment of 3 additional EDCs in the other geopolitical regions of Nigeria in January 2013. This laudable initiative of the apex bank has begun to yield some positive dividends across the length and breadth of Nigeria.

“The first set of EDCs in Lagos, Kano and Onitsha have trained over 45,000 individuals, helped to start 8,000 new enterprises and created 12,000 jobs CBN South-South EDC which commenced operation in Calabar January 2013, has trained over 1,600 individuals out of which over 50 percent have stated their enterprises creating close to 1,000 jobs,” he added.

Through an integrated entrepreneurship development program and curriculum, he noted that the CBN EDCs provided life-long learning experiences aligned with the entire entrepreneurship development process and enterprise growth stages.

He therefore challenged governments at all levels and private sector partnership to initiate, promote, encourage and facilitate development of various platforms and industries that will provide financing options suitable for different stages of growth of enterprises.

He further charged state and local governments to also conceptualise, implement, publicise and manage programs to award grants to support the successful startup of enterprises through competitive business plan development processes such as the FG’s YouWIN Program.

source: Thisday

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