How Gov Eno Tackles Unemployment, Poverty Through Entrepreneurial Revolution In Akwa Ibom

The alarming rate of unemployment and poverty in Nigeria especially among youths have left much to be worried as they’ve been identified as the causal factors for insecurity and other social vices in the country.

The menace if not checked would plunge Nigeria deeper into already battered economic and social crisis.

Akwa Ibom State however, has had its fair share of unemployment and poverty issues as the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its previous reports put it as one of the states with the highest unemployment and poverty rate in the country.

Worried by the ugly narrative, the governor of Akwa Ibom State, Pastor Umo Eno channeled his energy into entrepreneurial development of Akwa Ibom youths since assumption of office in May 2023 believing that such would address issues of unemployment and boast the economic status of the people.

To achieve that, he took a proactive step of teaching the youths how to fish than giving them fish by supporting the entrepreneurs in training and expanding their production capacities through the Ibom Leadership and Entrepreneurial Development(Ibom-LED)

Just recently, 800 entrepreneurs in the state under the state’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme (EAP) smiled home with the sum of Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N500,000) for their business startups having undergone 3-months mandatory training on desired fields at the Leadership and Entrepreneurial school in Ibom E-Library, IBB Avenue, Uyo.

Out of the 800 beneficiaries, 400 were trainees of the last quarter( first batch) in 2023 while the remaining 400 were of the first quarter( second batch) in 2024 which implies that if the programme is sustained, Akwa Ibom government will effortlessly train over 2000 entrepreneurs by the end of the year (2024).

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That is to say that the expected fruits of this gesture shall be obvious within the next two years, no matter the economic environment in Nigeria as the governor is positioning the youths to tackle any economic situation the country brings in the nearest future.

While giving out the cheques, the governor said his determination to encourage them was borne out of his desire to create employment in diverse ways,knowing that aside government jobs or political appointments, the people can be gainfully employed through their skills.

He directed that trainees who had products that needed NAFDAC certification, licenses and registration should be assisted to acquire them.

The governor further directed that the trainees at the Ibom-LED Tailoring & Shoe making Hub should be responsible for the production of over a million school uniforms and shoes for pupils and uniform and boots for the men of the Ibom Community Watch in the state.

His words, “I like to say clearly here that whether this programme will continue or not depends on you because you are the ambassadors of this programme. You are not all totally new in businesses or entrepreneurship. I am not concerned about the little seed that’ll be put in your hands, but the training you’ve received.

“Everything you need to succeed is in your hands. For now, don’t be politicians, just be an entrepreneur. This is an opportunity for you to have a primary address. If you have a primary address, politics is secondary.

“People will respect you for what you can do. This little money is a seed and if you plant it well, it will bring a mighty harvest. I remember that, in this state, I opened my hotel with just five rooms, and few years later, we had grown exponentially.

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“The first thing is that you must make up your minds to succeed and in that determination, there will be a place of sacrifice and self denial. People will tell you all manner of things, don’t mind them. Your time will soon arrive. Above all, this community has been created; stay around the community and don’t try to impress people. As a government, we’ll continue to support you. This is just the beginning.”

In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Entrepreneurial Development and Programmes Director, Ibom-LED, Mr. Ime Uwah, he explained that the participants have undergone training covering key facets of entrepreneurship such as; Business Development, Record Keeping, Sales and Marketing Strategies, Product Development and Innovation, Legal and Regulatory Compliance, Networking and Collaboration, Pitching and Presentation Skills, Access to Funding and Resources.

He said the beneficiaries upon completion of training were officially inducted into the alumni community of Ibom-LED, a platform where membership creates a meeting and melting point between the trainees and would-be-investors, with host of benefits, including expert mentorship, networking opportunities, funding avenues, comprehensive support, and heightened exposure in the business landscape.

In his remarks, the team lead of Ibom Leadership and Entrepreneurship Development, Pastor Imoabasi Jacob, appreciated the Governor for the vision, commitment and support for the Akwa Ibom business community and assured that given the quality training to the beneficiaries, the grants will yield the desired dividends.

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Presenting a keynote address, the Head of Alumni Directorate and Support Services, Enterprise Development Center, Pan-Atlantic University (EDC) Lagos, Ms Nnena Ugwu advised the beneficiaries to cultivate the culture of discipline, commitment and focus to enable them succeed in their different business ventures.

Also speaking, the Director General of the Umo Eno/Akon Eyakenyi campaign, Chief Assam Assam SAN, appreciated the Governor for keeping to his campaign promises, and advised the beneficiaries to see the seed money as a spring board that will put them in the global map of entrepreneurship.

In their separate messages of appreciation, the General Manager of Ibom-LED, Mrs. Ekaette Umoh, and the Alumni President for Batch 1, Daniel Esetang, appreciated the Governor for the vision which according to them has translated to a life-time empowerment for 800 Akwa Ibomites assuring that the grant will be judiciously used.

Meanwhile the State Commissioner for Economic Development, Emem Bob has urged the people to key into the entrepreneurial programmes of government to enable them benefit from it saying that compilation of Data base of the SMEs in the state as directed by the governor would soon come to a close.