Abuja – Former Governor of Bayelsa, Mr Timipre Sylva has said that Nigeria’s economic development depends on the growth of entrepreneurship in the country.

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Sylva, who said this on the sideline of the launch of Cake O’clock, a cake bakery in Abuja, confirmed that the government could not solely provide its citizens with jobs.

“Nigeria’s development will depend on the growth of entrepreneurship, because if you look at the job numbers, jobs created by entrepreneurs and the private sector are more than those created by government.

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“There is huge unemployment problem in Nigeria, and I think that unemployment problem can only be solved by entrepreneurship.”

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According to a November report by the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria’s unemployment numbers increased by nearly 30 per cent in 2018 to 16 million.

Another two million were also expected to be unemployed at the end of the year in review.

The Federal Government, however, claimed that the first two years of the current administration had created five to seven million jobs through agriculture the N-Power Scheme.

Nevertheless, the former governor urged the country to encourage the growth of entrepreneurship and advised youths to also show interest in it for the government to develop the sector.

He also urged youths to look for entrepreneurship opportunities in other areas if “they think hard enough”.

“That is also another problem we have with entrepreneurship among Nigerians. Once Nigerians see a thing succeed, everyone wants to do the exact same thing.

“People should look for other areas to create. There are thousands of opportunities in the country, and I believe every young person interested in entrepreneurship will find a niche, if they think hard enough.”

Furthermore, Sylva advised youths to “create the need for funding and the system will come to realise that these young people need to be supported”.

“To illustrate with Nollywood, the members started first, the system took notice, and came up with some funding for them. Let us start first without worrying about the impediments.”

Miss Rebecca Arikpo, Creative Director, Cake O’clock, advised youths not to wait for jobs provided by the government but be creative and make a difference.

Arikpo, who graduated as a Medical Biochemist, also advised youth the take to entrepreneurship as it was the way out of poverty.

“You can create things, with your own hands, in your own space or corner. Whatever, you can do to make a difference do it, so long as you do it well.”

“First, always, have your start-up capital, no matter how small. it is very crucial. Have some funding that can sustain the business for the next six years after take-off.

“Trust me, you are more relaxed and your business experience grows better when you do not depend on promises. Plan years ahead. I started with a five-year plan. That way you make progress.

“Cake O’clock started in a tiny room, and here we are today, giving people jobs. It is not a coincidence rather because we have a goal, a dream and step-by-step plan of how to achieve it.”

She added that the company also partnered with organisations to train young people interested in baking and was looking to expand beyond Nigeria.

“I want to expand across Africa, and to do that we have to conquer Nigeria first.

“We are in Abuja, next stop Lagos, then West Africa and Africa, within the next few years. It requires years of planning but we can achieve it”, she said. (NAN)

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