Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday said that the N25 billion Employment Trust Fund (ETF) set up by his administration has successfully empowered over 4,000 small and medium scale businesses in the last two years as a means to boost the economy of the State.
Ambode, who spoke when he received a delegation from Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on a courtesy visit at the Lagos House in Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria said deliberate efforts had been made by his administration to aid businesses and encourage budding entrepreneurs in the State.
Alluding to the fact that the State boasts of a burgeoning population of youths, the governor said that driving entrepreneurship growth was a sure way to engage the youths meaningfully to enable them contribute their quota to the growth of the economy.
“There is no way under this economic recession that we have found ourselves that we can actually employ all the people under that age bracket. So the best thing is to create a framework that would allow them to dissipate their energy and creativity into the things that they would love to do.
“That’s why we set up the Employment Trust Fund with a budget of N25 billion to be able to touch those younger ones that would not necessarily have the capital to recreate their skills and so far so good in the last two years we have done almost about 4000 entrepreneurs and we are doing more,” he said.
Welcoming the partnership prospects with MIT, Ambode said he was excited that the Legatum Center had finally discovered the importance of the African continent as a key part of the map to driving innovation as well as entrepreneurship and Lagos as one of its major city partners.
Besides, the governor said that the setting up of the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment was in consonance with the ideals of the Legatum Center, assuring that his administration would do all it could to sustain the partnership beyond entrepreneurship.
“I am committing the State Government that we would continue to support this, we would make sure that we would support this. I am excited that in the next two days, you would be finding new entrepreneurs that can come into this enterprise bracket. We would also like to support in any way that we can promote these younger ones.
“I am happy to see the CEO of Wecyclers, Mrs. Billkiss Abiola here; recycling is something that is dear to my heart, even before becoming Governor, I visited the place and I can tell you that I was excited about the skill set brought to bear. We’ve supported a whole lot of entrepreneurs also and we would continue to do that,” the governor said.
Earlier, in her remarks, Executive Director, MIT, Mrs. Georgina Flatter said the team was in Lagos to liaise with entrepreneurs in the State and build sustainable partnerships going forward.
She said the MIT team had spent the last few days touring eco systems and visiting entrepreneurs and ventures across Lagos, describing the experience so far as most inspiring.
“We visited Billlkiss’ recycling site yesterday and saw the amazing job that she’s been doing in the city and how she is bringing huge value to the eco system and this is why we are here, to understand your entrepreneurs and see how we can build partnerships and strengthen this partnership with your entrepreneurs through seeing the great work that people are doing.
“We can start to understand what role we can play to support them. I also like to thank you for the service that you are providing, we can see the good work that this government is doing to support the entrepreneurs,” Flatter said.