The Federal Government through Small Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has given 100 youths in Akwa Ibom with multi-million naira starter packs to boost their businesses.
Miss Lucy Ekpenyong, the state Manager of SMEDAN, who presented the packs to beneficiaries on Friday, said Federal Government funded the starter packs.
According to her, the training by the Agency tagged, National Entrepreneurship Training Programme was aimed at empowering the youths with different skills to reduce unemployment.
“Today, we are actually having a ceremony for empowerment and distribution of Starter packs /equipment for our beneficiaries of the National Entrepreneurship Training which took place in the month of March this year.
“The training was to empower the participants with vocational skills in, Makeup, Tailoring, for them to be self reliance. It was also targeted at basically the young people, the women and the young men.
“We had 100 of them accredited for the training, but we had over 200 participants who attended the training.
“Today, we are distributing the starter packs sent by our Director-General of SMEDAN, Dr Dikka Radda, empower these people so that they can start what they learnt.
“Our budget was for 100 people but we allowed the extra hundred to stay and acquire the skills,” Ekpenyong said.
According to Ekpenyong, 30 per cent of the beneficiaries are women, 30 per cent of the beneficiaries are youth while the remaining 40 per cent are spread across all segments.
She commended President Muhammadu Buhari, the federal government and the director-general of SMEDAN for approving and funding the programme.
She said, “We want to really thank the President Buhari for approving these programme for our Agency.
“This programme did not only take place in Akwa Ibom state, but also took place in six states across the six Geo political zones.
“Akwa Ibom State happened to be the only state in the South South that benefited from these programme.”
She warned the beneficiaries against selling the starter packs, stressing that they should use the packs to improve on their standard of living and add value to the economy.
Mr Ufot Ebong, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Udom Emmanuel on Technical Matters and Due Process, urged the beneficiaries to use the packs to do business and employ others.
Ebong, who was represented by Mr Nduese Ebong, Programme Manager of Akwa Ibom Enterprise and Empowerment Scheme, said that the starter packs would go a long way to assist the beneficiaries and their families.
He said that there was no reason for unemployment in the country if young people would be serious in their business.
He, therefore, advised the beneficiaries to take the business as something that would help them in future.
One of the beneficiaries, Mr Ndifreke Matthew, said as a young man, he developed interest in makeup business, saying the training he received had improved on his knowledge.
While thanking SMEDAN and government for the training received and the starter packs, Matthew said the starter packs added value to his business as he was operating a small hair cut saloon.
Another beneficiary, Mrs Immanuella Emmanuel, who received a sewing machine, thanked SMEDAN for the starter pack.
She assured that she would use the starter packs to contribute to the upkeep of the family.
Our correspondent reported that the beneficiaries were trained since March 2019 in makeups and fashion design.