The Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Lola Akande has described the empowerment of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as critical to the empowerment of youths.
Akande stated this at the opening ceremony of the Lagos Island Business Fair (LIBIZFAIR) organised by the Lagos Island Connect, in conjunction with the Ministry, held at the Tafawa Balewa Square, TBS, Onikan, Lagos.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Adetutu Ososanya, Akande noted that building the capacity of youth-oriented enterprises, with the goal of providing opportunities for growth, will lead to an increase in prosperity among Lagos Island youths.
Her words: “I believe this platform can leverage socio-economic networking and Information Communication & Technology to provide more interactive opportunities for the teeming youth of Lagos Island and its environs from diverse cultural, religious, social and educational backgrounds, to grow their businesses and services, as well as the State’s economy”.
Speaking on why the Ministry collaborated with the organisers, the Commissioner explained that the Fair aligns with the policy of the administration of Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu of creating a conducive environment for businesses to thrive, widening access to the market and encouraging networking and collaboration among entrepreneurs in line with the Fourth Pillar of the T.H.E.M.E.S Development Agenda, which is Making Lagos A 21st Century Economy.
In her presentation on the “Lagos Island Youth Needs Assessment Survey” conducted by her Office in conjunction with Lagos Island Connect and other stakeholders, the Special Adviser to Governor Sanwo-Olu on Sustainable Development Goals & Investment (SDG&I), Mrs. Solape Hammond stressed that the programme was geared towards supporting business to thrive at the Local Government Level.
“The study discovered that the youths of Lagos Island are versatile, technologically enabled, driven and willing to be positively engaged particularly in personal and communal development. Though, most of them are faced with different challenges, yet, there is an enormous zeal to be gainfully engaged rather than being idle which could contribute to community nuisance. Young people in Lagos Island have a brighter vision for the future and all stakeholders must join together to support them to deliver it”, she said.
The Representative of the Chairman, Nigeria in Diaspora Commission and Head, Lagos Annex Office, Mr. Oladipo Odebowale averred that the programme provides a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to showcase their businesses, saying “This will boost investment and business opportunities in the State”.
According to the Business Consultant and member of the Board of Trustees, Lagos Island Connect, Mrs. Toki Mabogunje, the LIBIZFAIR is an Economic Summit at the Local Government Level. The concept is to support MSMEs, give room for the presentation of ideas, have fairs and present awards to the most innovative businesses.
“The aim is to make the Fair an annual event to be replicated in all the 20 LGAs and the 37 LCDAs in the State. It is also to promote the two-kilometre rule, which is aimed at prioritising the support and encouraging the patronage of businesses and services located within each locality before considering others beyond the two-kilometre radius of our location. It is also meant to empower the youths with the expectation that the lives of the youths on the Island will be improved”, she asserted.
The Co-Founder of the Lagos Island Connect, Mrs. Yemisi Ransome-Kuti remarked that the LIBIZFAIR 2022 is geared towards taking businesses in Lagos Island from a local to a global level by investing in the youths and preventing their massive migration to foreign lands, saying it will support entrepreneurs and promote partnership for exports of our locally produced goods.