By:Christopher Tom, Uyo
Entrepreneurship programme designed to provide skills for youths in Akwa Ibom State has begun with 250 beneficiaries.
Governor Udom Emmanuel had announced the training as part of efforts to pacify the youths who demonstrated during the #EndSARS protest in the state.
Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Marketing and Brand Management, Ime Uwah on Thursday in Uyo, said the first and second batches of the programme had 187 participants, while the third phase is targeting about 250 youths.
According to him, the programmes does not provide funding and start up capital for participants, but budget base assistance like the registration of existing businesses, access to grants and payment for specific skills acquisition among others.
He explained that the programme was only for youths with existing businesses which is about two years old, adding that the process of registration and selection was transparent.
He advised interested youths to apply online using approved link, saying the programme which was done on quarterly basis was stalled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also shed light on the proposed training for 3,000 youths in each of the three senatorial districts in the state, saying that the training which would be done quarterly was yet to commence, and that it would be handled by the Ministry of Trade and Investment.
He said, “The Ibom three thousand have not started. Is with the ministry of trade and investment.
“What we do as the director, marketing and brand management is the eligibility programme. The entrepreneurship programme has started and we are in the second week now.
”My Entrepreneurship Gold Programme is targeting 250 participants. We did a pre-qualification interview. We look at people with existing businesses and also start up.
“ By start up we mean a year to two years, not at ideation level. That’s what we look out for during the pre-qualification interview.
“The process is transparent and there’s a link online people can access; apply online and you’ll be called for the interview. During the interview, the things we look at for is to know that you’re in business and it has been there for a year or two.
”Our program do not provide funding or start up capital like that, we provide budget base assistance. In terms of funding, we assist, we provide information on available funds. We provide information through our network.
”For the two batches that we’ve done, we have a network of all the participants and these ones are going to be part of that network now.
”We pay to provide a specific skills accusation. Now is a basic entrepreneurial education. There’re some people that would want to go into creative art or ICT in case of web design, we have to pay for that specific skills that’s required.
”This is the third batch which is 250 while the first and second batch we’ve done about 187. We do it every quarter and we’re supposed to do it in second quarter of this year but because of COVID-19 we were not able to do it.
That’s why we are doing it this last quarter and we will do it second and third quarter of 2021, so it is a continuous programme.”