Fidelity Bank Plc, top Nigerian lender in strategic partnership with Empretec Nigerian Foundation, on Monday, commenced a graduate entrepreneurship training programme for 300 youths in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). This initiative, which is part of the bank’s entrepreneurship support intervention for state governments and Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) seeks to empower Nigerian youths with requisite entrepreneurship skills needed to thrive in today’s highly competitive business landscape.

Having conducted similar programmes in Lagos State and Calabar, the Cross River State capital, the bank has once again reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to build a new breed of entrepreneurs, especially amongst Nigeria’s boisterous youth population. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the graduate entrepreneurship programme, the Fidelity Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nnamdi Okonkwo said that the 6-day intensive training programme is designed essentially to assist young entrepreneurs build capacity needed to survive in today’s business world.

Okonkwo who was represented by the Bank’s Group Head, Specialised SME, Ndubuisi Onuoha, said the lender’s decision to embark on the programme was borne out of the need to resolve the issue of failed business start-ups in Nigeria. “Studies have shown that only 20 per cent of MSMEs survive beyond their fifth year of operations. In view of this, the programme is aimed at building stronger and well informed entrepreneurs who have unparalleled management skills and can obtain and manage funds efficiently if needed”, he stated. The bank, through a meticulous selection process has identified young and budding entrepreneurs with great prospects of becoming the next ‘Dangote’, according to him.

Whilst assuring that the bank would provide participants with necessary support required to sustain their respective businesses, Onuoha pointed out that Bank remains committed to helping entrepreneurs take advantage of the myriad of opportunities prevalent in the Nigerian economy. Speaking in the same vein, Head, Business and Strategy, Empretec Nigeria Foundation, Bright Osakwe, expressed unreserved gratitude to Fidelity Bank for its continued support towards entrepreneurship development.

He said the Foundation has trained about 3, 000 Nigerians and intends to step up its efforts in this regards. The Bank’s Head, Abuja II, Halilu Malabu, urged participants to take advantage of this free training programme to enable them become dominant players in their respective industries. Malabu also advised selected participants to repay the Bank’s faith in them by building successful businesses. A flagship capacity-building programme of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Empretec is expected to promote entrepreneurship and MSMEs with a view to facilitating sustainable development and inclusive growth.