By Gabriel Olawale & Ikechukwu Chukwuma
WORRIED by high rate of unemployment and the potential of youths to grow the Nigerian economy, Microsoft in collaboration with the Future Project has introduced Accelerate Lab to equip 2,500 youths across the country with technology driven status required of them to build socially responsible enterprises.
Speaking during the launch of this initiative in Lagos, the Chief Technical Officer, Microsoft Nigeria, Mr. Ifeanyi Amah, who was represented by Mr. Hakeem Adeniji-Adele said that more youths are becoming literate than their parents but sadly many of them remain unemployed and underemployed.
Amah said they are focusing on activating the small and medium scale engines to accelerate economic development through enterprise development and technology incubation.
He explained that the project will empower youths to be purposeful and develop the needed technological resources, training, knowledge, mentors and seed funding required of them to build socially responsible enterprise across communities in Nigeria.
“Microsoft Youth Spark is a global initiative to increase access of all youth to learning computer science, empowering them to achieve more for themselves, family and communities. The overall goal of the ‘Accelerate Lab’ project is to equip 2,500 youth by building sustainable, socially inclined, highly competitive enterprise capable of impacting the Gross Domestic Product,” he said.
He noted that throughout Sub-Saharan Africa they have reached over 500,000 young people and invested over $1.1 million in software donation, adding,“In addition, we have trained almost 30,000 teachers through our partners in learning and equipped hundreds of small and medium-sized enterprises, SMEs with relevant skills.
“As part of our commitment, the company plans to help place millions of smart devices in the hand of Africa youth and help bring their SME online. Thousands of Nigerian graduates will be assisted to develop skill of which 75 percent will be supported by Microsoft on job placement.”
Delighted at the development, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah commended Microsoft Nigeria and their partners for such wonderful initiative while reaffirming his ministry’s commitment to creating an enabling environment.
Enelamah who was represented by his Special Adviser, Mr. Olubunmi Adeoye, tasked the beneficiaries to bear in mind the need to meet people’s need and create global standard solution that will stand the test of time.