By Emeka Aginam
Committed to increasingÂ access to technology and technology skills among youths, the software giant, MicrosoftÂ in collaboration withâ€˜ the Federal Ministry of Youth Development, Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) and the Digital Bridge Institute has commenced an entrepreneurship development capacity building programme for some selectedÂ 100 Youth and Youth DevelopmentÂ officers in the country.
Holding at the Digital Bridge Institute, Abuja, the capacity building programÂ is coming under the auspices of Microsoftâ€™s Public Institutions Capacity Development programmeÂ is designed to trainÂ participants on IT-based youth development programme which will go a long way inÂ preparingÂ them to become facilitators for entrepreneurship development as well as facilitate the development of a model youth development programme for the Federal Ministry of Youth Development.
The Honourable Minister of Youth Development, Senator Akinlabi Olasunkanmi who was represented by the Director, Education and Youth Development of the Ministry, Mrs. Rabi. S. Jimeta, speaking on the collaboration noted that PPPÂ is fundamental in effectively advancing the use of ICT tools, while emphasizing that the training ties in with the Ministryâ€™s mission to reduce unemployment in the country using ICT education as a catalyst.
While commending Microsoft on the initiative, he said that,Â â€œThis cooperation is an example of a Private Public Partnership that can affect real and tangible change.
He acknowledged the fact that participants would surely benefit from the programme and similar initiativesÂ between his ministry and Microsoft.
Explaining the motivation for the programme, Dr. Jummai Umar-Ajijola, Citizenship Manager, Microsoft Anglophone West Africa said, â€œNigerian youths have the potential to perform at optimum capacity but for a number of factors which include lack of proficiency.
With the right skills that this capacity training will afford participants, we are confident that they would be able to effectively deploy work tools that will enhance their performance.â€ she said enjoiningÂ participants to make the best use of the opportunity.
The curriculum focuses on ICT entrepreneurship, ICT businesses, setting and running of small scale enterprises, finance and procurement, sales and marketing, e-Mentoring, and ICT for small scale enterprises among others.
For one thing, high ranking instructors were drawn from CITAD and they include Y. Z. Yaâ€™u, Executive Director of CITAD and Secetrary General of ITAN, Mr. Rima Shawulu, an IT entrepreneur, Ahmed A. Yakasai, Enigneer Kamal Umar, Faruuq Umar Uthman, a beneficiairy of DFID supported youth mentorship programme, and Isyaku Garba.
Y. Z. Yaâ€™u introduced the class first to the prospects of ICT-based enterprises in Nigeria. He enumerated the variousus factors accelerating the demands of ICT goods and services in the country which could only be met by getting people to establish ICT-based enterprises.
Rima Shawulu facilitated the module on ICT-based businesses, taking the participants through various types of small scale IT business. In doing this, he also identified the requirements and the processes for setting up these businesses.
The module on Small Scale entrepreneurship was facilitated by Y. Z. Yaâ€™u, taking the participants in a participatory manner through topics such as developing business idea, translating this idea into a business through developing a business plan, determination of business set up needs, sources of support, managing the business, communication and financial management, etc.
The module on ICTs for small scale business focused on how young entrepreneurs could use ICTs in setting up and running their enterprises, using for financial management, administration, communication, marketing and business promotion.
Trainees also had opportunity to peruse the functions and workings of business and ICT regulatory agencies such as SMEDAN, NITDA, NCC and CPN to enable them know the specific requirements for setting up small scale enterprises in the sector.
A trainee, Ms Helen Taghtegh from the Ministry of Youth, Benue State, commended Microsoftâ€™s efforts at encouraging technology penetration.
As part of the project, the partners have developed an appropriate training content that would be made available to ministries and other stakeholders that are interested in running youth development programmes.