How our ETF lifted 4000 SME operators in Lagos – Ambode
The Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, has explained how the N25 billion Employment Trust Fund (ETF) launched by his administration has so far empowered over 4000 operators of small and medium scale enterprises in the last two years as a means of boosting the state’s economy.
The governor made this known while receiving a delegation from the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who were on a courtesy visit to him in Lagos.
Ambode, who said the whole idea of lifting SME operators was geared toward encouraging budding entrepreneurs, many of whom are youth, said the state was blessed with a “burgeoning population of youth”, adding that driving entrepreneurship growth was a sure way to engage the youths meaningfully to enable them contribute their quota to the growth of the economy.
There is no way under this economic recession that we have found ourselves that we can actually employ all the people under that age bracket. So the best thing is to create a framework that would allow them to dissipate their energy and creativity into the things that they would love to do.
“That’s why we set up the Employment Trust Fund with a budget of N25bn to be able to touch those younger ones that would not necessarily have the capital to recreate their skills and, so far so good, in the last two years we have done almost about 4000 entrepreneurs and we are doing more,” the governor said.
Welcoming the partnership prospects with the MIT, he noted that the Legatum Center had finally discovered the importance of the African continent as a key part of the map to driving innovation and entrepreneurship with Lagos as one of its major city partners.
He added that the setting up of the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment was in consonance with the ideals of the Legatum Center, and assured that his administration would do all it can to sustain the partnership beyond entrepreneurship.
“I am committing the state government to continuing to support this. I am excited that in the next two days, you will be finding new entrepreneurs that can come into this enterprise bracket. We will like to support in any way that we can promote these younger ones.
“I am happy to see the Chief Executive Officer of Wecyclers, Mrs. Billkiss Abiola here. Recycling is something that is dear to my heart, even before becoming governor, I visited the place and I can tell you that I was excited about the skill set she has brought to bear. We’ve supported a whole lot of entrepreneurs and we would continue to do that,” the governor said.
The Executive Director, MIT, Mrs. Georgina Flatter, said the team was in Lagos to liaise with entrepreneurs in the state and build sustainable partnerships. She explained that the MIT team had spent the last few days touring eco-systems and visiting entrepreneurs and ventures across Lagos.
“We visited Billkiss’ recycling site yesterday and saw the amazing job that she’s been doing in the city and how she is bringing huge value to the ecosystem, and this is why we are here, to understand your entrepreneurs and see how we can build partnerships and strengthen this partnership with your entrepreneurs through seeing the great work that people are doing,” she said.