By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has rolled out a new initiative for cultivating entrepreneurship development at the grass roots and in schools.
SMEDAN, which is an arm of the Presidency, unveiled the National School Entrepreneurship Programme (N-SEP), for this purpose.
The agency said N-SEP aims to deliver hands-on entrepreneurship and community service education to every primary and secondary school student in Nigeria so as to eliminate poverty, conflicts and massive youth unemployment.
Participating schools will run a ‘School Bank’ conducted by students and facilitated by contributing commercial banks in the country.
This is expected to boost financial literacy and financial inclusion as well as spur investment culture in young people.
It is also expected to create a network of young leaders who will see the challenges in their communities as their responsibilities.
According to SMEDAN’s calculations the expected outcome in the first year of the programme includes a direct impact on about 370,000 pupils.
The programme is projected to create about 3,700 micro businesses and community service projects by participating schools, while about 5,000 teachers will be trained on how to deliver hands-on entrepreneurship and community service education to students in primary and secondary schools.
It also projects to recruit about 18,500 business and civic leaders as Business Advisory Board Members, thereby enhancing community participation.
About 370,000 students bank accounts is projected to be operated along with about 3,700 school enterprise bank accounts to be operated in estimated 3’700 school banks. N-SEP is an initiative of SMEDAN and Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE).
SAGE is an international programme initiated at the California State University Chico, USA. It is currently operating in all the continents of the world and it engages young people in a hands-on learning process on how to create wealth, help others and their communities.
According to SMEDAN, because N-SEP is a comprehensive national program it will be coordinating its planning and activities with the office of the Vice President and various stakeholders, which include state governments, Federal Ministry of Education, Financial Institutions, public agencies and private sector organizations.