Young people experience higher levels of unemployment than any other age group. In Nigeria, the national unemployment rate for those aged 15 to 24 years is consistently double than that of the average national rate for 15 to 64 years of age.
Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWiN!) is an innovative business plan competition aimed at job creation by encouraging and supporting aspiring entrepreneurial youth in Nigeria to develop and execute business ideas.
YouWiN! is a collaboration between the Federal Ministries of Finance, Information and Communication Technology, Youth and Sports, Women Affairs and Social Development; the World Bank; and the organized private sector that launched an annual Business Plan Competition (BPC) for aspiring young entrepreneurs in Nigeria, in line with the Federal Government’s drive to create more jobs for Nigerians. The program is implemented in partnership with Nigeria’s private sector and donor agencies who provide funding support to the program.
The main objective of the YouWiN! Program is to generate jobs by encouraging and supporting aspiring entrepreneurial youth in Nigeria to develop and execute business ideas. The program provides such youth with a platform to showcase their business to business leaders, investors and mentors in Nigeria
Implementation of program
YouWiN! attracts ideas and innovations from young entrepreneurial aspirants from universities, polytechnics, and other post-secondary institutions in Nigeria, and provides a onetime equity grant for $1,200 to selected aspiring entrepreneurs to start or expand their business concepts and mitigate start up risks. Award recipients are supported by YouWiN! to register their businesses with the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria (CAC). They are also expected to sign a grant agreement with the managers of YouWiN! and operate accounts using their registered companies with any of the participating commercial banks prior to funds disbursement.
YouWiN! expects to generate 80,000 to 110,000 new jobs for currently unemployed Nigerian youth over the three years; provide business training for up to 6,000 aspiring youth entrepreneurs spread across all geo-political zones in Nigeria; encourage expansion, specialization and spin-offs of existing businesses in Nigeria; and enable young entrepreneurs to access a wide business professional network and improve their visibility.
The requirements of the YouWiN! program requires potential beneficiaries not only to be literate but also have proficiency in computer literacy and business management. This means that uneducated, rural and some youth with disability will require further support in developing and submitting their business plans. YouWiN! Management has also been accused of influencing the selection of beneficiaries based on nepotism or political reasons. Efforts are been made to partly address these challenges by instituting an online registration system called YouWiN! Connect.
YouWiN! has directly supported over 5,000 youth to create, sustain or upscale their businesses across various value chains in Nigeria. As part of activities to further support the growth of the 3,900 businesses on the program, YouWiN! organized the 1st YouWiN! ‘Made in Nigeria’ Exhibition in Lagos, Nigeria in December 2016 to connect beneficiaries to local and international markets in order to expand their market.
The program should be strengthened and replicated across rural communities to help create businesses for rural and peri-urban youth. Best practices from the programme should be documented and shared to influence policy change on youth entrepreneurship and employment
YouWiN! is currently implemented across Nigeria and can be replicated in other countries. Success and impact will depend on political will, joint implementation and monitoring, and immense support from donor organizations and private sector actors.
Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWiN!)
Date: November 20, 2017