By Nosa Akenzua, Asaba
Delta Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, at the weekend reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to supporting the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) through entrepreneurship development programmes in the state.
Okowa made this known at the graduation of 437 pilot trainees of the state government’s Girls Entrepreneurship and Skills Training Programme (GEST) in Asaba.
He said that his administration would not relent in the endeavour until it achieved a critical mass of MSMEs that would drive economic diversification and business competitiveness in the state.
According to him, the results from other empowerment programmes of the state government such as STEP and YAGEP have fuelled the resolve of this administration to continue to invest in youths in the state.
Okowa said “six months ago, we began the journey of equipping our young women between the ages of 18 and 30 with the knowledge and skills to become self-reliant and wealth creators under the Girls Entrepreneurship and Skills Training (GEST) programme.
“Today, we are reaping the first fruits of our investment. Out of a total of 450 participants, 437 of them are to be resourced with the tools to start their enterprises.
“Thirteen of them could not make it for reasons ranging from truancy to flunking the proficiency test. Still, with an over 97 per cent success rate, it is a testament to the credibility of the selection process and quality of the training regime.”
He thanked the staff of the Girl Child Empowerment Office for their dedication and unwavering determination to see the young women succeed in life.
The governor stated that a lot of small businesses impacting directly on the family-economy were springing up across the state and were helping in addressing youth unemployment.
“Not only have the lives of these beneficiaries changed, they are also training others who then go on to become self-employed. In a few years to come, I am hopeful that Delta State will become the hub of MSMEs as these enterprises break new grounds in the export market.
“I expect this pioneer group of GEST graduates to continue in the same path of success and innovation. My confidence is based on the fact that the training template is the same and has proved to be very enriching, enabling and empowering,’’ he said.