3rd Graduation Ceremony of the Entrepreneurship Development Center (EDC) held today in Lagos

The Central Bank of Nigeria in conjunction with the Africa Leadership Forum instituted the Entrepreneurship Development Center (EDC) to promote entrepreneurial development among Nigerian students and graduates.

On Thursday, 27 April 2012, the Graduation ceremony of the entrepreneurship development center was held at the EDC Ikeja, Lagos. The graduation ceremony is a testimony of what the government of Nigeria is doing through the CBN.

entrepreneurship development centerThe 4-week graduate entrepreneurship training programme is an enlightening training session on how to start and run a business profitably. During the training, participants are trained to write a bankable business plan and compelled to write one as a prerequisite for graduation. The aim of the Entrepreneurship Development Center is to promote and facilitate the linkage between trainees and financial institutions and high network individuals, to bridge the gap of the Government’s inability to meet the needs of all potential entrepreneurs.

The graduation ceremony started with an official opening exhibition and introductory remarks by the Executive Director, Africa Leadership Forum, Ayodele Aderinwale,MFR. This was followed by a statement by Paul Eluhaiwe, Director Development Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The ceremony had a lively graduation lecture on: Core Issues on Entrepreneurship Development in Nigeria by Felix Awonauja, General Manager, GROFIN Nigeria, represented by Mr. Friday.

Since the inception of the entrepreneurship development center in 2008 till March about 584 graduates have received access to low interest loan out of 15379 total trainees thus far. 900 bankable businesses plans have been certified and 168 new businesses has been established, with 773 businesses expanded and diversified. A total of N53,673,000 have been disbursed through financial partners to EDC graduate entrepreneurs to startup or expand their businesses since 2009.

According to statistics, over 70% of Nigerians are living below poverty level of $1 per day. With 127 academic universities in the country, an excess of 500,000 graduates emerge every year to join the already crowded labor force, thereby culminating into the challenges of poverty in the country. These are the problems CBN seeks to provide solution to, through the EDC programme with the believe that the reconstruction of Nigeria has to be collective effort of entrepreneurial minds.

The programme emphasizes on the fact that entrepreneurship training should not just be certification training but one to practically empower youths to be able to identify real live opportunities and take necessary steps towards harnessing the opportunities. EDC aims to produce individual with the entrepreneurial drive to move Nigeria and Nigerians out of poverty. Students are reoriented to accept entrepreneurship other than total dependence on white-collar jobs.

Three of the EDC graduates emerged winners of the recently concluded Federal Government initiative, Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWiN). The three successful entrepreneurs are Agunbiade Ayodeji Emmanuel, Olajide Samuel Taiwo, and Olawande Tope. Agunbiade Ayodeji Emmanuel, who now owns a laundry service outfit, testified to have emerged one of the top 300 applicants who submitted their business plans for the competition, out of over 24,000 participants. The top shortlisted candidates were opportuned to meet with the President, Goodluck Jonathan in Aso Rock.

YouWiN is a collaboration of the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Communication Technology, and the Ministry of Youth Development that organizes an annual Business Plan Competition (BPC) for aspiring young entrepreneurs in Nigeria, in line with the Federal Government’s drive to create more jobs for Nigerians.

EDC has indeed helped a lot of young Nigerians start or expand their own business and in so doing gradually eliminating poverty in the country. To participate in the Entrepreneurship training, visit the Africa Leadership Forum website for details.

The CBN entrepreneurship programme is offered at a subsidized rate of N5000 for graduates and students for 4 weeks and 6weeks training respectively. As a current student of this programme, I’m convinced that the rate is a giveaway fee compared to the knowledge and insight gained by the participants.

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