The Youth Entrepreneurship Summit set Lagos agog on Tuesday, 12th of July, 2016. The landmark event, conceived to empower emerging entrepreneurs and young professionals in Nigeria by linking them up with established business leaders and stakeholders, held at the Eko Hotel & Suites Conference Centre, Lagos. The summit was jointly organised by Zenera Consulting and Palm3 Strategy. Captains of Industries and business leaders across different sectors graced the occasion.

The event was conceived to tackle malaise of youth unemployment and financial exclusion during a challenging year of high inflation, unemployment and recessionary pressure. The summit, with the theme “Nigeria Beyond Oil: Advancing SMME Development Through Entrepreneurship”, covered plenary sessions, coaching clinics and interactive workshops that addressed where the youths stand in the SDGs–with emphasis on social ventures and innovation–amidst challenges they face such as unemployment, education, health, poverty, among many others.

Meka Olowola, Chair of the Youth Entrepreneurship Summit and Zenera Consulting’s Managing Partner kicked off the opening session with a call to action on the youth of Nigeria to add value to the nation and help transform vision into action. He posited:

“We must constantly innovate and have the conviction to transform our visions into action to create a future for our nation through entrepreneurship which has at its roots solutions to the current problems faced by Nigeria.”

Bank of Industry, event sponsors, represented by its Acting Managing Director, had this to say to the youth participants:

’’Nigeria’s Youths are a force that have to be properly valued. The empowerment of young people, particularly young women, is an essential component of any people-centered development agenda. We recognise this as a bank that moves Nigeria’s economy forward and have invested in the Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund (GEF) which endows N2 Billion for serving members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to venture into businesses and become employers of labour rather than job seekers”

The bank further stated further its approach to tackling the youth capacity building challenge was to focus on young aspiring entrepreneurs between 18 and 35 years with viable business ideas through its Youth Enterprise Support Programme (YES Programme) which creates a learning platform to train young aspiring entrepreneurs in entrepreneurship and business management that will ultimately translate into improved efficiency and productivity.

The event also engaged public regulators and the organised private sector for cross-fertilizations of ideas ranging from branding imperatives, financial intelligence, harnessing the power of digitalized technology in business as well as entrepreneurial positioning that gives viability to MSMEs to access capital for solid scalability and export potentials in business initiatives.

YES 2016 was proudly sponsored by the Bank of Industry (BoI), Paga, Nedcomoaks Limited, Protection Plus Services Limited among other brands in Nigeria.