According to the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprise (NASME), SMEs lack the technical know-how, commercial acumen, and competence to operate sustainable enterprises.
In addition to more general issues including insufficient market access, limited access to capital, and low standards, NASME noted that SMEs also face the problem of being unable to run successful businesses, which causes them to fail within the first five years of operation.
At a press conference to announce the NASME 2022 youth empowerment conference, which is scheduled to take place on July 21st, 2022 at the RMRDC auditorium in Abuja, Dr. Abdulrashid Yerima, president and chairman of council of NASME, said the association is holding the conference to provide young entrepreneurs across the 36 States in the nation with the necessary skills needed to maintain their businesses and grow.
The MSME youth empowerment conference, he continued, “is intended to provide an interactive forum for dialogue between young entrepreneurs representing the youth business community, policy makers, and development organizations to discuss the need to invest in access to finance, technical assistance in young people’s transition, work, and citizenship, and giving the significant roles of young people as agents for positive, social, and economic change.”
He claims that the main goals of the NASME Youth Empowerment Conference are to provide young entrepreneurs with a supportive environment, give them a platform to demonstrate their entrepreneurial skills, encourage an effective synergy that could promote the growth and development of young entrepreneurs in Nigeria, and help raise awareness of the difficulties and opportunities faced by young MSMEs in Nigeria.
The conference, he continued, will enable young entrepreneurs focus on crucial policy issues that have the potential to crystallize and diversify their businesses into sectors where they have a comparative edge in the marketplace. This will help them create wealth.
The best 10 initiatives will be shortlisted for the finals, where three winners will be determined and receive cash awards, technical support, and other support, he urged financial institutions and development partners to present their youth empowerment initiatives based on their criteria to interested youths.
In addition to the pitching competition, he said, “an MSME clinic with major frontline regulatory authorities in attendance will support MSMEs with a view to reducing potential bottlenecks.”
He stated that more than 1000 attendees and exhibitors from all across the nation are anticipated at the event, where vital and pressing issues will be discussed and examined by different industry professionals.
Olanrewaju Oniyitan, the Chief Executive Officer of W-Holistic Business Solutions, also spoke. He stated that the selection of the ten final applicants will be based on their patriotism, passion, and youthfulness. He also noted that applicants must be Nigerian citizens between the ages of 15 and 29 in accordance with Nigeria’s National Youth Policy 2019 – 2023.
The main applicant must also reside in one of Nigeria’s 36 States or the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and the business must offer a novel solution to an existing problem or a new or improved method of doing so.
Businesses that focus on the SDGs or take on a regional issue are at an advantage. The company must be established and not just an idea. It must be in the early stages or at the proof-of-concept level, with the entrepreneur managing it full-time. The top three winners will each get a cash prize. The winner will receive N1 million, second N750,000, and third N500,000 as their prize money. Additionally, they will receive possibilities for business growth help and a complimentary year of NASME membership in all 36 States of the union, she noted.