Addressing a gathering of young entrepreneurs and government officials at the ceremony marking the initiative’s third anniversary, which held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the President reiterated that YOU WIN was founded to tackle the growing unemployment rate.
Nigeria had a high percentage of unemployed youth of about 35 per cent at the beginning of his administration.
“The YOU WIN programme is unique in the sense that it depends on the Nigerian youth to create jobs for the Nigerian youths,” he explained.
He reminded the gathering of his promise to make available a minimum of 80,000 jobs through the programme and announced that over 26,000 direct jobs have been created across 6 geo-political zones.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Finance, Okonjo Iweala, said the government initiative allowed Nigerian youths to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. The YOU WIN programme was created to “empower our youth to start or expand existing businesses and to create jobs, not only for themselves but for their peers.”
The programme is implemented as an annual business plan competition in which winners win grants up to the sum of 10 million Naira (about 64,000 dollars).
The first cycle of the initiative received less than 24,000 applications while about 65,000 applications were received in the second run.
Okonjo-Iweala said that the success recorded was indicative of the trust youths now have in the country via the YOU WIN programme. ‘They believe in YOU WIN,” she added.
President Jonathan inspected an exhibition of businesses which winners of the Youth Enterprise With Innovation Nigeria, YOU WIN, programme have established.
At an exhibition, beneficiaries of the first batch of YOU WIN showed the President what they had achieved with the grants they got from the government.