• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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IYF, LEAP Africa to drive economic growth, job creation with $100,000 ‘Enterprise Fund’


The International Youth Foundation (IYF), and LEAP Africa are to invest an estimated $100,000 in the next generation of young innovative leaders to drive economic growth, job creation, and social development across Africa.

The $100,000 Youth Enterprise Fund, (YEF) made possible through the support of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, seeks to empower ten Nigerian social innovators/young entrepreneurs with necessary resources and $10,000 financial backing each to turn their ideas into reality.

The IYF and LEAP Africa recently organised a pre-qualifying pitch for the Youth Enterprise Fund which aims to reward social innovators with grant and capacity building focused on specific needs and requirements of each social enterprise, to deepen the impact of their work across Nigeria.

Read also: Insecurity, media pose threat to youth development in Nigerian economy – experts

Kehinde Ayeni, executive director, LEAP Africa, raised a question to challenge the audience to reflect on the core principles of innovation and its inherent connection to disruption.

She highlighted the importance of innovators being disruptors, stating that, “Irrespective of how developed a nation is, there is the necessity for disruptors. We need disruptors to alleviate poverty in Nigeria as we cannot continue to rely on the government,” Ayeni stated.

Ronnie Murungu, the regional director for Africa and the Middle East, IYF, who joined virtually stated that the IYF has been championing the importance of social entrepreneurship for over two decades.

According to Murungu, such an initiative birthed the collaboration with LEAP Africa ten years ago. “We collaborated on the design of the Social Innovators Programme, since then, we have marvelled at how LEAP Africa has not only sustained the programme but improved it”.

The Youth Enterprise Fund is targeted at LEAP Africa’s Social Innovation Programme alumni to facilitate the expansion of social enterprise development and promote youth involvement in the Nigerian social entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Among other things, the fund will also empower social innovators to evolve from the cap-in-hand model, relying on grants for running their enterprises, to building business models that scale their innovations, leading to sustainable change.