Wole Olajide & Oluwaseyi Akojenu
The youths are the engine room of every nation. The similitude of the importance of youth to nation building could be likened to a car engine without which vehicles can’t move; so also without youth, a nation cannot thrive. The role of the youth in nation building is too relevant to be jettisoned – they serve as the back-bone of a society. They can make or mar a nation based on what is programmed in them. They are a feedback system because if they are well equipped and garnished with the best available resources, they give a positive outcome, but, if otherwise, negative outcome should be expected.
Nigerian youth are surely among the most talented and creative youths in the world. They are fast learners; they have the ability to work under pressure and bring out desired result for any organization or institution. The role of Nigerian youth cannot be underestimated in nation building. In fact it is well known that the development of any nation is a function of the level of working class present in such a nation.
The government took a bold step by establishing the Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) Program. It was targeted at addressing the worrisome phenomenon of youth unemployment in Nigeria by building the capacity of the youths and funding their business ideas. The YES program is aimed at equipping young people with the requisite skills and knowledge to be self-employed by starting and managing their own businesses in Nigeria. This indeed is a very good development for the future of our nation.
There are other support platforms created by the government, private organizations, financial instituitions and philanthropic individuals targeted at supporting enterprising youths. Such include: GEM project powered by Federal ministry of Trade and Investment, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Heritage Bank’s NYSC support project and a few others.
Today, a few among the Nigerian youths had begun to understand the benefit of being an entrepreneur and investing in business. However, majority of youth who are enterprising are yet to benefit from these interventions by the government and other private organizations; reasons could be attributed to the following:
- Tedious screening process before qualification for grant or loan procedure.
- Overwhelming population of entrepreneurs far out numbering the available help platforms
It is however funny that some youths are not sincere enough in their quest for financial empowerment to help their businesses. There are cases of some entrepreneurs after receiving grants meant to help their business grow, rather spent it on personal use; buying cars and changing their wardrobes. You can be sure that such business cannot grow. This would obviously frustrate the intention of the government and other facilitators of youth empowerment.
The youths should take their destiny into their own hands. Gone are the days when you would be expecting the government or your parents to help you out.
Start from where you are and what you have. You don’t necessarily need to have everything to start. You don’t need to have it all figured out, start anywhere! The only way to end unemployment in this country is to start a business however small.