by Ifreke Inyang
A new project, ‘You WIN’ has been officially launched by the Nigerian Government. It is a youth empowerment and entrepreneurship project anchored by the Federal Ministry of Finance in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Communication and Technology, the Federal Ministry of Youth Development, private sector companies and the World Bank. The project was launched by the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan at an event where over 2,000 youth were present in Abuja on Tuesday.
You WIN! – Youth Enterprise with Innovation – is 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. Competition is targeted at Nigerian youth with a well-developed new business concept, or innovation/expansion plan for an existing (informal) enterprise.
The Lagos Business School has been selected to conduct the first round of screenings for the business plan submissions as well as coordinate trainings and mentorships. A six-member panel of judges, comprising reputable business leaders and experts drawn from the private sector, has been appointed in each geographical region to validate and audit the screening process by the business school at each stage of the competition. The competition will be held yearly over the next three years.
The winning entries will be a mix of start-ups and existing (informal) enterprises that are looking to expand. The final awards will be a maximum of N5 million for start-ups and up to N10 million for existing enterprises – the awards categories are Best innovator / new idea, Best product, Best business plan, Best Corporate Social Responsibility and Best Overall entrant.
The competition will be launched simultaneously in the six zones in Nigeria to enable youth in all states to participate. The competition is expected to hold yearly over a 3-year period. The funds will be provided via a banking institution, and will be disbursed according to the achievement of milestones in business execution.
At the end of the period, the target is to have 3, 600 entrepreneurs supported to start or expand their business concepts over three years; an additional 1,800-2,000 business started or expanded by youth trained by the program; 40,000 to 50,000 sustainable new jobs for currently unemployed Nigerian youth over three years; at least 6,000 aspiring youth entrepreneurs trained in business planning and management and at least 3,600 entrepreneurs linked with mentors in the business community.
The event featured speeches and videos by young entrepreneurs including female farmer and The Future Awards Business-Owner of the Year 2009, Mosunmola Umoru; Bode Pedro, Hassan Rilwan and Aisha Maina. There were also performances by MI and Omawumi – and the host was Frank Edoho.
The project is funded by the organised private sector coalition including. The competition entries are open from today, for a one month period. More information, including eligibility requirements are available on the website www.youwin.org.ng and on the Facebook and Twitter pages – YouWinNigeria. Town Hall Meetings across the six geo-political zones of the country, to reach youth at the community levels, begin immediately.