By Daniel Essiet, The Nation
The Association of Micro Entrepreneurs of Nigeria (AMEN) said it is ready to work with the government to develop business opportunities to help tackle youths unemployment.
Its President,Prince Saviour Iche, said the nation cannot afford to lose another generation of young people to unemployment and under achievement.
Addressing the annual business meeting of the association in Lagos,Iche said the association is ready to mobilise young Nigerians,including those serving in the National Youth Service Corps(NYSC) to take on small business ventures.
He said the association encourages and supports the development and success of new small and medium sized business firms, through collaboration and by providing productive contacts among operators.
According to him, poverty will never be overcome unless small and medium enterprises flourish.
To this end,he said his association is mobilising every family in Nigeria to own a business.
He said the association wants to stimulate initiatives, innovation, entrepreneurship, rapid technology transfer, and adaptability to the economy.
He said the association wants to pursue programmes which foster enabling environment favourable to small business to carry out their activities.
The Centre Manager,Matori Business Support Centre,Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria(SMEDAN),Mr Yinka Fisher, said his agency is ready to support the establishment of successful entrepreneurial enterprises.
He said creating high potential entrepreneurs that can generate economic growth and development on a much larger scale requires delivery of regular training to invigorate entrepreneurship and innovations capable of solving business management problems.
Fisher said one of the most effective ways of building sustainable small businesses is bycreating a linkage between them and commercially viable Microfinance Institutions (MFIs).
For this reason,he said SMEDAN is working with the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) to provide small entrepreneurs access to essential financial services to help them grow.
Micro finance institutions, he noted, will be able to finance creditworthy low-income entrepreneurs,who otherwise would have no access to mainstream banks.
He said SMEDAN is ready to provide technical assistance to help the CBN launch sound MFIs with capacities to assess entrepreneurs skills.
Through its support for application and linkages among entrepreneurs,Fisher said SMEDAN is committed to facilitating economic development, and the agency aims to further expand the effects of entrepreneurship on GDP growth and jobcreation.
Speaking during the meeting, the General Secretary,Mr Frederick Okeleme,said it is focused on building on the achievements and broadening the scope of activities.
He said the goal of the association is the creation of a large, diverse community of local entrepreneurs capable of promoting sustainable development.
Okeleme said the association is working with every relevant agency to address challenges that 1are hindering small scale operators growing into strong and profitable enterprises.