Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, has identified the development of entrepreneurship as a major solution to unemployment and various challenges facing the country in the health, housing, agriculture and security and other sectors of the economy.
Speaking at the opening session of the first Ekiti State Entrepreneurship Week, in Ado-Ekiti on Thursday, the Governor said his administration had started implementing policies that will not just support education for the sake of holding certificates but equip holders of certificates to be capable of applying the knowledge gained to proffer solutions to numerous problems confronting the State and Nigeria in general.
Dr Fayemi, noted that the nation’s academic framework had for long produced job seekers without any conscious attention to producing those who will create jobs. He said rather than follow the trend, his administration would encourage an education system which promote harmonious relationship between the school system and the industries.
No fewer than 2,000 young entrepreneurs, drawn from different fields and vocations, would be supported during and after the three-day programme, aimed at re-igniting entrepreneurship spirit among Ekiti people.
Governor Fayemi, in his keynote address to the participants emphasized that the Ekiti economy and future prosperity depend on the ability of entrepreneurs to develop ideas into business initiatives. This, he said, informed the decision of the state government to pursue a knowledge economy.
The Governor said: “It is in realization of this universally embraced panacea to the rising global unemployment that the concept of hosting Entrepreneurship Week on annual basis was conceived. We have seen that many corporate leaders and global technology giants learned more outside the walls of the classroom just because of their innate curiosity to solve certain problems or challenges facing the society or the global community.
“As we gather for this three- day programme incorporating training, capacity building and talent hunt, I am hopeful that through this programme we will be able to note the core areas that need the attention of policy makers and practitioners in promoting and developing entrepreneurship in Ekiti State”, he said.
While restating the importance of entrepreneurship to the restoration agenda of his government, Governor Fayemi said the administration has an unrelenting quest at getting the private sector to take the driving seat in the economic development of the State in order to have a diversified economy, decrease dependence on “insufficient allocations from the federation account, increase IGR and move towards a knowledge based economy”.
The governor urged stakeholders to continue to support youth empowerment programmes that will enhance the potential of “our teeming youth and equally flood our society with more job creators and less job seekers.”
In her remarks, the chairp of the Steering Committee of the Entrepreneurship Week, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, said the planning committee was keen to explore ways in which the unique skills and talents of Ekiti people could be highlighted, not just for showcasing but to attract concrete support and investments.
The Ekiti State First Lady disclosed that a number of the participants of the programme would get various forms of empowerment and employment opportunities from institutions such as the Bank of Industry, AGMEIS and Longrich, while there will be revolving loans for local creative artisans in the pottery, mat weaving and aso oke sectors.
She expressed optimism that the programme would be a permanent feature in the State since “Ekiti people cherish hardwork, dedication and commitment to excellence”.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Commissioner for Investment, Trade and Industries, Mr Olusoga David had urged the participants to make good use of all they would learn from the programme; saying that the programme is aimed at raising entrepreneurs in the State.