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Published On: Mon, May 19th, 2014

Entrepreneurship: ICON Afrique boss laments over youth unemployment

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The Chief Executive and Managing Director, ICON Afrique, Mrs. Jackie Ola, has expressed regret over the rising youth unemployment in Nigeria, saying many youths in the country had potentials and dreams but lacked the opportunities to maximise such gifts.

Ola, who is also the chief executive and managing director of NaomiDavids Limited, an international people’s development and human resources consultancy company, stated this at the weekend, during an exclusive interview with PEOPLES DAILY at the ICON Afrique Youth Empowerment Showcase/ Exhibition, in Abuja. She added that if youths’ potentials were harnessed and developed through capacity training, they could be be useful to themselves and the society.

Ola gave the assurance that after this event, which was aimed at driving self-employed youths and those with skills and potentials to showcase their talents and endeavours, NaomiDavids would further organise capacity training for the affected youths, at the Nigeria Entrepreneurs Forum (NEF), in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, after which the qualified ones would be assisted with funds, to support their businesses.

She also noted with concern that so many people had skills which they could use to fend for themselves, but unaware of existing opportunities through which they could access the assistance and support they may require.

Ola explained that ICON Afrique, which focuses on youth empowerment in the country, had aff iliated groups responsible for providing capacity building training for self employment and entrepreneurship, adding that ICON Afrique, which is a non-governmental organisation, would provide an enrichment training for, assist, support and promote up coming fashion designers, designers in other areas, song writers, singers, and the likes.

The ICON Afrique boss stated, “We focus on youth empowerment. I know a lot of people here who have talents, who have gifts but do not have platform to showcase what they are , and also we have our affiliated groups that are responsible for training certain more people within the situation of joblessness in the country to be self employed, as entrepreneurs.

“There are so many people who have skills and who can use them to fend for themselves, and do not know of the opportunities for them in the country to access the help they need.

“That is why we are here. Also, there are some people who would showcase the talents they have. So, we have young fashion designers, song writers, singers, dancers. We have entrepreneurs generally. We have people who manufacture things from the little materials they have. We have people in the entertainment; we all know what the entertainment industry in the country is.”

In his remark, the President, NEF, Dr, Sidney Inegbedion, urged the youths and budding entrepreneurs to share their business ideas or information and network, adding that they should identify their areas of needs.

According to Inegbedion, NEF would be willing to advise and counsel them. He stated, “We will leave our institution open for you, for whatever advice, support or technical assistance you need.”

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