1200 women across the six geo-political zones of the Federation received grants from the Federal Government on Monday as President Goodluck Jonathan launched the send phase of the you-win programme.
The selected women received grants ranging from N1million to N10million to engage in different businesses.
Making the presentation at the launch in the Presidential Villa, President Jonathan appealed to the private sector and the international community to support the programme.
He noted that the second phase of YouWin was targeted at young women entrepreneurs and was initiated to focus on harnessing the brilliant ideas, innovative acumen and drive that vibrant young Nigerian women possessed.
He said 1,200 award winners would be selected across the six geo-political zones, which would receive between N1 million to N10 million and benefit from several training Programme.
Imploring relevant stakeholders including international development partners, and private sector to join hands with government in the execution of the programme, Jonathan said, “I urge all stakeholders including our youths and their leaders in the private sector as well as international and development partners to join hands with us as we expand this laudable initiative and give fresh hope to our young People.
“People may ask why government talks about YouWin, of course we know that the present administration is committed to creating jobs for Nigerians. And job could be created through direct employment by government and her parastatals and agencies but, we believe that a more sustainable approach of job creation is encouraging the private sector.
“And to do that, we need to build young entrepreneurs that will be able to employ five or more people and that multiplier effect will give us more job opportunities than even government expanding the parastatals that will make them less productive. That is one of the cardinal points of this YouWin Programme, give opportunity to sone who will employ others”.
The President said after the first phase in which both men and women benefitted, they focused on women in the second phase in line with the global trend on empowerment of women and children.
“We must come up with programmes that will help women and protect and save lives of children, thatis at the UN level. So we must do things tha other nations will copy us, we should not only be copying from others”, he added.
Jonathan further explained that women are better managers in terms of using small monies to create opportunities.
He charged the beneficiaries of the programme to make judicious use of the funds when made available to them.
The President also assured that the process of selection of beneficiaries would be on merit and devoid of the usual “godfatherism” syndrome.
Finance minister and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had earlier recall that the maiden edition of YounWin Business Plan competition was flagged off October last year, saying the programme planned to attract ideas and innovation from Nigerian youth entrepreneur had progressed well and yielded fruits.
She said, “Since disbursement commenced in July, about 933 of the 1200 beneficiaries of the first batch of YouWin award winners have received the first tranche of about N1,03 billion of their award funds and are already implementing their approved business plans.
“The few yet to receive will do so by the end of next week. As we will hear from some of the awardees today, many are
already creating jobs for fellow youths as a nresult of their YouWin grants.
She said with the assistance of the UK’s DFID and SMEDAN, they have developed mechanism for capturing information on jobs created under the scheme, and would be reporting the numbers to the public on regular basis.
The Minister added that the second edition of the programme would identify 1,200 young female entrepreneurs to join the first cohort as YouWin awardees.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Salamatu Maina, said the programmed heralded another landmark of the administration’s quest to economically empower the Nigerian women, particularly the young females.
She called on women with business ideas to maximize the opportunity by brimnging up innovative business proposals that would qualify them for thee grant.
Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson said the process of selecting awardees were in three stages; the launch, the evaluation and the final selection stages.
“During the first stage which starts today, please look out for adverts in the mass media, talking about the application process. What you need to do at this stage is log on to the website, to register”
“You will submit the summary of the business concepts, these summaries will then be assessed and the selection process will be done over a period of about six weeks from today the 3rd of September. Check that you are eligible between the ages of 18 and 40 years and Please ,make sure you stand out. Your application must be innovative, unique, feasible, practical and must have the potentials for job creation”, she said.