Remarks by His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR On the Occasion of the 3 rd Edition of the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWiN) Programme Monday 25th November, 2013
1. Let me warmly welcome you all to the 3 rd Edition of the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWiN) Programme. YouWiN! was borne out of our administration’s desire to vigorously confront the growing unemployment rate among the vibrant youth population in our country.
2. When we came into office in 2011, youth unemployment in the country stood at a staggering 35%. We considered this unacceptable, and in response, we launched a number of initiatives, which included YouWiN!, to help create jobs for our citizens.
3. The YouWiN programme is unique in the sense that it depends on Nigerian youths to create jobs for Nigerian youths. The programme supports enterprising young men and women to establish and grow businesses that enable them employ their peers and others. I promised that this programme will create at least 80,000 jobs.
4. I am happy to report that so far, over 26,000 direct jobs have been created across our six geopolitical zones in various sectors of the economy. This includes 22,000 from YouWiN 1 and nearly 5,000 from YouWiN 2 (YouWiN Women) which commenced disbursement just in September.
5. Let me reiterate that I believe strongly in the youth of this country. They are not only vibrant; they are intelligent, resilient and hard working. When provided the right environment, tools and opportunities, they will transform the economic future of our great country.
6. In its short run, there have been so many winning stories from the YouWiN programme. The success rate in implementation and in operation is commendable. The exhibition by a few of the awardees which I have just reviewed, confirms that our youths are indeed, industrious and highly talented.
7. With targeted support, the products and services on display here will compete with the best in the world. They will not only serve our domestic needs, they are potentially export revenue earners for this country.
8. I am exceedingly pleased to learn that some of our youths who received only training and capacity building support, without financial grants, have proven their entrepreneurial skills by starting their own businesses and employing other youths. These commendable efforts challenge us to do more for our youths in the areas of entrepreneurship and job creation.
9. It is also encouraging that the programme retains its significance as a uniting platform for beneficiaries from all across the country. The synergy formed, the relationship forged and the networking opportunities created, will last well into the future, to the benefit of the nation.
10. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the YouWiN! Programme demonstrates this administration's commitment to reward, merit and performance. YouWiN! Grant recipients can confirm that they received the award without ‘knowing’ anybody. There is no 'godfatherism' in this programme. Nigeria is the godfather to every one of us.
11. By the end of this 3rd cycle, YouWiN! would have provided entrepreneurship opportunities for 3,600 enterprising youth and created jobs for tens of thousands. The experience and lessons of YouWiN! can now serve as a template for similar entrepreneurship and job creation programmes around the country.
12. Our commitment is to build on the impressive progress we have made. We all agree that many more of our youths need our help and support. YouWiN is a productive and result-driven programme through which concrete outcomes are being achieved.
13. I would like to urge all well-meaning Nigerians, State Governments, Local Governments, Corporate Entities, Civil Society and our International Partners, to join hands to build on the gains of this programme.
14. Finally, I thank all members of the YouWiN! Implementation Team, for discharging your roles with a sense of mission, purpose, commitment and patriotism. We are proud of you.
15. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it is with pleasure that I declare open, the 3rd Edition of the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria ( YouWiN) Programme. I implore all young Nigerians who fall within the ages of 18 - 45 years to apply.
16. I thank you all.