Okon Bassey in Uyo
Ten thousand women from Akwa Ibom State have been selected for entrepreneurial training and capacity building, with support services to establish Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs), on completion of the training.
The engagement of the women is the result of a new partnership agreement signed at the weekend by Akwa Ibom State Government with the Lagos-based Enterprise Development Centre (EDC), on the Ibom Leadership and Entrepreneurial Development (Ibom-LED) Programme, at Government House, Uyo.
At a brief ceremony to sign the Memorandum of Understanding ( MoU), the State Governor, Mr. Umo Eno, described the partnership as a development that will yield mutual benefits to both parties.
Eno expressed the readiness of the state government to work with the Lagos-based firm to ensure the attainment of the ARISE Agenda goal of capacity building and entrepreneurial development.
He lauded the Ibom-LED’s interpretation of his administration’s human capital development vision, affirming that the new capacity building programme for 10,000 women in addition to the 400 youths already undergoing the Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme at the Ibom-LED training centre are indications that the programme was already meeting the desired purpose.
On the imperative of the partnership for the attainment of his administration’s goal, Governor Eno explained that it was not enough to provide capital for people to get into businesses ignorantly and harped on the need for training on business ventures for optimal level of confidence and reliability, considering the critical roles SMEs play in creating employment and boosting the economy.
“The vision for Ibom-LED is to raise entrepreneurs and we also want to support them, but it’s not just enough to give people money. You have to train them and make them reliable.
“So this partnership for me is critical. I thank the EDC for this partnership and ask for more of this support so as to realise the visions that we have set out and at the end of it, Ibom-LED can truly say we have developed our SMEs. We can’t get it wrong with SMEs”, he stated.
According to him, with Ibom-LED, young Akwa Ibom people would develop their talents in managing human and material resources and become better leaders, than venturing into politics ill-equipped for leadership.
The Ibom-LED Team Leader and Managing Director of Akwa Ibom Investment Corporation, AKICORP, Mr. Imo-Abasi Jacob, explained that the Enterprise Development Centre is an arm of the Pan Atlantic University, formerly known as Lagos Business School and expressed optimism that with the goodwill expressed so far in granting Ibom-LED access to their capacity building programme the state will be better for it.
The Head of the EDC Legal Team, who doubles as Head of its Alumni Relations and Support Services, Barr. Nnenna Ugwu, expressed satisfaction with the seriousness of the Umo Eno led- government in human capital development, saying that their offer in entrepreneurial training for 10,000 young women in Akwa Ibom State through Transforming Nigerian Youths Programme, was initiated in partnership with MasterCard Foundation.
On the criteria for selection, Ugwu explained that the programme was meant for young women between the ages of 18 and 35 who are already in business and aspiring to grow, adding that beyond the training, the programme has provision for support services for participants.