This Day (Lagos)

19 December 2012

Nigeria: 6,000 Women Emerge From YOUWIN

The Federal Ministry of Finance tuesday announced the first stage winners of the second edition of the Youth With Innovation in Nigeria (YOUWIN!) business plans competition.

According to a statement signed by YOUWIN Project Coordinator, Dr. Supo Olusi, said the edition which was dedicated to empowering young Nigerian women entrepreneurs, highlighted "a robust stream of applications from every part of the country."

The breakdown of the 6,000 winners who qualified for the second stage showed North-central had 1,122 candidates; North-east 785; North-west 845; South-east 894 South-south 1,140; and South-west with 1,214 winners.

A breakdown also revealed that young women still gravitate towards agriculture rather than the high tech and other relatively modern fields of endeavour.

A whopping 20.9 per cent of qualifiers were engaged in animal farming while another 6.7 per cent are crop farmers.

Other prime sectors favoured by the entrepreneurs included Educational Services, 8.6 per cent; food and drinks manufacturing, 8.5 per cent; food and restaurant, 7.7 per cent; manufacturing (clothes and shoes) 7.2 per cent; while IT and Telecoms logged in at 4.2 per cent.

The YOUWIN innovation which was inaugurated in 2011 by President Goodluck Jonathan is aimed at building a critical mass of entrepreneurs whose exploits can help create jobs for their peers and hence lessen the burden of unemployment in Nigeria.

The 6,000 qualifiers from this tranche will, according to Olusi, "be exposed to intensive entrepreneurial training delivered by renowned lecturers and successful business people. They would also have the opportunity of networking which as any businessperson knows is the livewire of any business venture".

The number will be further pruned after the second stage for the emergence of 1,200 winners from all the six geo-political zones, "candidates who," Olusi said "are deemed worthy of grants of up to N10 million to enable them get their individual enterprises into competitive high gear."

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