Federal Government has signed an agreement for the training of Nigerians in the field of entrepreneurship. The agreement was signed in the office of the Minister of Finance.
The agreement commits the Entrepreneurship Development Centre of the Pan African University, Lagos, to train Nigerians who want to go into business, on the basics of entrepreneurship. The essence is to help them transform their business ideas into bankable projects that could be financed from the formal sector.
Called Grooming Enterprise Leadership programme, it is financed by the World Bank as a pilot programme. The project derives from the fact that many Nigerians have business ideas, but lack the skills to package them into bankable projects for financing by the banks.
The strategic intervention shall build the capacity of at least 1,000 businesses in the micro, small and medium enterprise sector across the nation’s six geo-political zones by December, 2011.
The agreement which was signed just a day after the Presidential Summit on Job Creation, signposts government’s seriousness about reducing unemployment and ushering in inclusive growth. It was signed by the Federal Government represented by the Minister of Finance, Olusegun Aganga, the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) which is the executing agency for the World Bank/Nigeria Micro Small and Medium Enterprise Project (MSME Project) and the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) of the Pan African University (Lagos Business School), to which this particular task has been outsourced.
The EDC shall work with 23 business incubation centers across the nation to train the budding entrepreneurs. Besides training, it shall work on the creation of clusters for these enterprises which will provide shared services and reduce their individual running costs.
On completion of their training which is expected to take about five months, these entrepreneurs shall be eligible to apply for the SME intervention fund with the Bank of Industry.
The Minister of Finance had last year announced the establishment of a $500 million intervention fund by the Federal Government for SMEs. The fund domiciled with the Bank of Industry goes to SMEs at single digit interest rate.