Why We Organised Summit On Youth Entrepreneurship – Matthew | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe

Small Business

Why We Organised Summit On Youth Entrepreneurship – Matthew

Posted: Jul 22, 2016 at 3:33 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Ndiana Matthew is the executive director of Strategy and Innovation at Palm3 Strategy. Recently the company organised a summit on youth entrepreneurship in Lagos. He spoke with Ikechi Nzeako at the summit.


What are the objectives of the Youth Entrepreneurship Summit Nigeria?

The country is facing not only a leadership crisis but also faces a larger macro-economic slump. The global economy is in recession and Nigeria is struggling to recover from low oil prices. The money market has tumbled and we need to innovate and diversify the economy and make it less dependent on oil. And that is why the theme of the summit is “Beyond oil”.

Micro, small and medium enterprises are the building blocks of the economy of the country and there is need to strengthen that sector.

The sector has taken a big hit as a result of the slump in the economy and the only way to bolster the sector is to invest in people. I call it people capital and what that means is that government needs to empower entrepreneurship, especially the youth.

However, we do not have to wait for government, we can empower ourselves. That was why we brought people who have seen it all; people who are experienced in entrepreneurship to inspire and teach the young people here how to become successful entrepreneurs. Some of the young people think that it is only money that they need to start a business; we are teaching that what they really need is idea that can work for them.

We also taught that they could get experience by doing volunteer work. Most ideas shared at the event came from shared relationship and were not paid for.

Why is the emphasis on youth entrepreneurship?

The emphasis on youth entrepreneurship is because when you start early to cultivate entrepreneurial skills and habits, you have a potential to create greater impact and wealth than if they start in later stage in life. We are trying to stop young people from being inducted into cults and bad groups. We are trying to give them a vision and hope for the future. I have failed in business and in other spheres of life and I have bounced back. We are telling them to take action and not be afraid to fail. The important thing is to be on the move and do something. They can always learn from their mistakes.

What is your assessment of the business environment in the country?

Assessment of the business environment in the country is from my own perspective; I am an entrepreneur and I see opportunities in the country. We heavily subsidised the event for students and we taught students that if they could spend money on recharge cards and other things, they could spend N5,000 to learn how they can create their own jobs that can take them to the top in society. I see opportunities in the fact that there are issues in electricity supply in the country. We offer free advisory services and if any of the businesses become big, they will patronise us and we will make more money.

Why are you organising the seminar when the environment is tough for business?

I have a passion for helping the youth of Nigeria. I have benefitted from many mentors who have done a lot for me and I am grateful to them. There is need for me to give to the younger ones coming behind me. There is need to invest in the youth because they are the future of the country.

Let me share an experience I had recently. I came from South Africa and at the airport, about 1,000 young men jostled to help me clear my goods. These men were idle and depended on luck to make a living. These young men are not registered agents, they are just rent seekers; they do not have offices.

I cried in my heart when I saw this. This is unacceptable in Nigeria that has massive human and material resources. These young men could be in farms or elsewhere adding value and making more. I need to go and tell them that they are not on the right path. This is one of the things that drive me to act.