By Emeka Anaeto
THE Future Project has, in collaboration with Microsoft Nigeria, initiated a programme aimed at engaging youths in small and medium scale businesses to accelerate economic development through enterprise development and technology. To this end, the organizers have called interested youths to apply for the programme tagged, “Accelerate the Economy through Youth in Enterprise” (Accelerate LABS), from August 7 to 24, 2017.
Speaking on the aim of the programme, Bukonla Adebakin, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, The Future Project, said it is targeted at empowering 2,500 youths to build socially responsible enterprises in their communities. He said, “We are delighted about this partnership with Microsoft Nigeria. It will serve as part of our mission to build a network of empowered citizens through jobs, entrepreneurship, and active citizenship which is in line with the Microsoft YouthSpark mission to increase access for all youth to learn.
By the end of one year we would have empowered young people to develop empathy, find clarity of purpose and the needed resources to build socially responsible enterprises in their communities. We will have youth across Nigeria leading the frontiers of change in various disciplines.
“According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), out of a total youth labour force of 38.2 million (representing 48.7 percent of total labour force 78.48 million in Nigeria), a total of 15.2 million of them were either unemployed or underemployed in Q1 2016 representing youth unemployment rate of 42.24 percent. This leaves employment rate high and having young people practically with no opportunities to participate in the markets; an irony in a predominantly youth nation.
“Accelerate LABS will be activating the Small and Medium Scale Engine to accelerate economic development through enterprise development and technology incubation. The goal of this project is to equip 2,500 youths (Across the six geo zones in Nigeria) by building socially inclined, high profit, and highly competitive enterprise capable of impacting the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.”
In his remark, Olusola Amusan, Citizenship Lead, Microsoft Nigeria, said: “Microsoft, through our YouthSpark initiative seeks to empower the youth population of Nigeria to imagine and realize their full potential by connecting them with greater opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship, helping them create a real impact for a better tomorrow.”