he Federal Government yesterday launched a $50million (N 8 billion) Venture Capital Fund, also known as the YouWin Small and Medium Enterprise Fund .
The fund was launched alongside the fourth round of the Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria (YouWin) programme, which is expected to create self-employment for additional 1,500 entrepreneurs.
The project, which kicked-off in 2011, is an entrepreneurial scheme designed for entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 45 years. It has an objective of creating thousands of jobs by helping winners to strengthen and expand existing businesses as well as turn innovative ideas into solid businesses.
Speaking at the launch, President Goodluck Jonathan said the new Enterprise Fund will enable those who have won previous grants from the YouWin programme take their businesses to the next level.
He said the fund, which needed a seed capital of about $50 million, will require hard work on the side of government adding that if government works hard it could attract more investors to contribute to on-going efforts no matter how small.
In her speech, Okonjo-Iweala disclosed that disbursements for the third phase of the programme will commence shortly, as the hitches have been cleared.
She said the programme, which has a three year life-span, selected Nigerians, based on the merit of their business plans.
Okonjo-Iweala added that another 1,500 entrepreneurs will be supported with grants between N1-10 million, to enable them improve or run their businesses and expand and create jobs.