• Thursday, May 30, 2024
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US affirms support for aspirations of young innovative Nigerian entrepreneurs

Wills Stevens

The United States of America (USA) Mission in Nigeria has affirmed its commitment to supporting youth in the country in navigating economic hardship and unemployment by actualising their entrepreneurship and innovation aspirations.

Will Stevens, the US consul general in Nigeria disclosed this during his remarks at the Life Entrepreneurship Skills for Green Economy Jobs Graduation held on Thursday, April 25, at the Field of Skills and Dream (VTE) Academy, Oko Oba-Agege, Lagos, when he promised that his country is ever ready to support Nigerian youth achieve their aspirations in life.

“At the U.S. Mission in Nigeria, we are deeply committed to supporting the aspirations and dreams of Nigerian youth as they navigate the evolving landscape of employment, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

“I am proud of the United States’ many contributions to expanding the skill set of young people, including through this partnership with FSD,” he said.

“Through exchange programmes such as the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs, and the International Visitors Leadership Programme, among others, we support the business leaders of tomorrow with targeted training and mentorship,” he added.

Stevens disclosed that the U.S. private sector is also investing heavily in Nigeria, citing American companies such as Microsoft and Google which he said are providing training to young people who are yearning to enter the job market with 21st century skills.

He applauded, Omowale Ogunrinde, the chief executive officer at FSD for their resilience and commitment to empowering underprivileged and poor young ladies and men with skills, which according to him made the consulate count her worthy to be among the more than 12,000 Nigerian alumni of U.S. government exchange programmes.

 In its drive to provide economic empowerment through skill acquisition by creating new jobs and generating new sources of wealth for Nigerian youth, FSD Academy at Oko Oba- Agege, Lagos graduates 100 students with skills to excel in their various entrepreneurial endeavours.

Omowale Ogunrinde, the founder/chief executive officer at FSD shared her experiences piloting the academy with journalists when she said that the institution has been empowering youth in Nigeria for 21 years and that it is a free training school with campuses across 14 states.

“Today, we are graduating 100 students, unemployed youth sponsored by the US consulate for training in fashion design and solar solutions.

“And we are glad to say that our graduates are all fully engaged. We have 100 percent employment assurance for all our students, verified and confirmed by all our partners,” she said.

Ogunrinde explained that the academy is in partnership with various partners who sponsor the students by off-setting their tuition fees and the eight departments of the academy.

“It is a partnership, the consulate pays their tuition, while FSD takes care of the rest. The same goes for other organisations such as Daikin, and BAS, among others, who identify with us in this empowerment journey.

“For the particular set of students, we gave them free launch. Many of these students were unemployed youth roaming about the street, but today, the story is different,” noted.

The serial entrepreneur said that the academy which started in 2003 has trained over 10,000 people across the country as her contribution towards reducing societal ills by encouraging enterprise development for women in particular through job creation in the service, construction, food manufacturing and small business areas.

She said that the academy’s projects have been carefully designed to help students reach their goals by acquiring practical entrepreneurial and vocational training skills.

“With the support of our local and international partners, we have worked in 14 cities of Nigeria which include; Enugu, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Kaduna, Owerri, Ibadan, Uyo, Mokwa, Yenagoa, Ijebu Ode, Lagos, and Warri, among others,” she said.