By Maureen Ojinaka
Enugu – Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state has charged youths in the state to venture into entrepreneurship in order to contribute more meaningfully to the nation’s economic growth and development.
Ugwuanyi gave the charge on Tuesday at the opening of the “Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) Talent Hunt Programme in Fashion, Art and Craft” in Enugu.
The governor, represented by Mr Anayo Agu, the Special Adviser on Small and Medium Enterprises and Investment Promotion, said that it was time youths defied all odds and shine with their innovations and creative geniuses.
He said: “Enugu state government reckons and values talent hunt as an opportunity for the contestants to challenge themselves to break their barriers, to step out of their comfort zone and test their business acumen.
“In line with the state policy and directives, I assure the contestants that the state government will provide starter parks and further training for those whose business proposals are selected for the next phase of this programme.’’
Earlier, the Director General of SMEDAN, Dr. Dikko Umaru, said the programme was designed to discover hidden talents and showcase innovative talents in fashion, art and craft.
Umaru, represented by Director of Quality, Partnership and Coordination, Dr. Friday Okpara, said that the project was aimed at job generation, wealth creation and self-reliance in order to reduce poverty among youths.
He said that the talent hunt, which was scheduled to hold in four states, would take place simultaneously in Gombe and Enugu states, where 300 talents in fashion, art and craft would be identified.
The SMEDAN boss said that participants with innovative ideas would be given financial and technical support through entrepreneurship training.
He further disclosed that the panel of judges would evaluate and subsequently select the best 10 talents at the end of the programme and empower them through further capacity development, linkages and visibility via e-marketing.
Speaking, the Director-General of National Council for Art and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Segun Runsewe, said that the programme was targeted at the youths, adding that the future of the nation depended on the youths.
Runsewe, represented by a Senior Research Officer in NCAC, Mr Aliyu Umar, said that the agency was partnering SMEDAN to train youths and ensure that they got the right information needed for capacity building to reduce unemployment.