The Federal Government on Thursday disclosed that it will mobilise N2.5 billion annually as equity investment for start-ups and early stage SMEs under the Youth With Innovation (YouWin) Entrepreneurship program through qualified fund managers.
A statement signed by the Director of Information of the Federal Ministry of Finance,Mr Salisu Dambatta, confirmed the government’s effort at promoting youth entrepreneurship in the country.
The YouWin program is an initiative of the finance ministry which aims to support young entrepreneurs as they plan, start and grow their businesses.
It seeks to promote entrepreneurship as a viable career option for young Nigerians which in turn, will create jobs and wealth.
The Federal Government intends that additional impact of the scheme would include social inclusion, job creation, youth empowerment and improved human capital.
The ministry said in the statement that the need to attract co-investment funding for the SMEs under the scheme was borne out of the conviction it would help to stimulate and sustain the economic recovery plan being implemented by the Federal Government.
It said since SMEs are the engine of growth in an economy, any fund attracted to the sector would promote industrialisation and job creation.
The statement also quoted the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, to have said that one of the main emphasis of government its economic recovery plan is to pursue an SME led growth in agriculture, energy, technology, manufacturing, and industry among others.
She said, “The Federal Government has a renewed focus on key economic sectors in line with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, with an emphasis on SME led growth in agriculture, energy, technology, manufacturing, industry and key services.
“The revival of these sectors, coupled with increased investment in other sectors, less reliance on foreign exchange for intermediate goods, raw materials and greater export orientation, will improve macroeconomic conditions, restore growth in the short term, help to create jobs and bring about structural change.”
The minister said the government is committed to empowering start-ups and early stage SMEs by providing innovative solutions to local challenges in Nigeria.
The statement said Fund managers would be expected to demonstrate a strong track record in investing in and advising early stage SMEs, with a knowledge of diverse sectors and a clearly defined investment strategy.
This, it added, is to ensure that fund managers can actively and positively, contribute to improving business performance by bringing onboard their experiences and providing some of the required capital.