By Vincent Ujumadu
AWKA—THE Director- General of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN, Dr Umaru Radda has raised an alarm, saying that the unemployment situation in the country had reached a crisis level.
Speaking during the flag off of empowerment of young business owners in Anambra State, Radda said one way of addressing the situation was sustenance of young businesses in the country.
While urging youths to make the best use of the window of opportunity created by SMEDAN, the DG, who was represented by the Southeast Zonal Coordinator of the Agency, Mr. Levi Anyikwa, said the sustenance of the initiative was imperative if the country must come out of the problem.
According to him, 80 beneficiaries from each state had been selected for a pilot project under the initiative, adding that the exercise would cover all the states of the federation in the next few years.
He said: “The target beneficiaries of the programme are young people between the ages of 20-45 years. The goal is to create new opportunities for enterprise growth for start-ups and for employment.
“Selection criteria for beneficiaries include: technical capacities of the promoters, available raw materials, markets, available skills, access to appropriate technologies, among others
“Needs assessment was conducted which formed the basis for the design of the empowerment package.
“Furthermore, the delivery of a tailored Business Development Services package would include mentoring, linkages to markets and sources of equipment; and provision of workspace.”
“For sustainability of the programme, small business advisors would be assigned to each beneficiary/group to provide critical hand-holding supports to ensure the realization of the set goals prior to the agency’s project-exit.”