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Plymouth University helps drive youth enterprise agenda in Nigeria

A British university has used its enterprise expertise to help train 6,000 budding entrepreneurs in Nigeria as part of a national competition to promote business and economic sustainability in the country.

Plymouth University worked with Enterprise Educators UK, and counterparts at Lagos Business School, to support the Youth Enterprise with Innovation (YouWin) initiative, funded by the Nigerian government.

YouWin is working to create tens of thousands of jobs for young people in Nigeria, and has already seen 24,000 people submit business ideas as part of the competition.

Bill Rammell, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Plymouth University, and strategic lead for internationalisation at the institution, said: “There is an inherent link between higher education and economic growth, and this is a great example of how a UK university can use its expertise to deliver innovative, enterprising “can do” training and guidance to support business sustainability in international markets.”

Plymouth was approached by the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID) to provide training and quality assurance services for the competition. The University’s Business School, supported by the Institute for Sustainability Solutions Research (ISSR) and Enterprise Educators UK, sent teams to Abuja and Lagos to run the workshops and assessments.

Dr Robert Newbery, who teaches entrepreneurship at the Plymouth Business School and who led the quality monitoring team, said: “Everything about this project is on a huge scale: the logistics, the training, the sheer number of applicants and most importantly, the commitment of the individuals and organisations involved.”

Kate Beresford, who manages the Enterprise Educators UK network and was also a member of the quality monitoring team, added: “Our members have vast experience of delivering a broad range of enterprise education initiatives in the UK and elsewhere and we were delighted to be invited to contribute to this exciting and inspiring initiative.”

YouWin is a collaboration between the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Communication Technology (CT), and the Ministry of Youth Development in Nigeria. It is set to continue on an annual basis over the course of the next three years and will ultimately produce 1,200 successful candidates, who will be eligible to receive business grants and mentoring.

International Development Minister Stephen O'Brien said: "We are delighted to bring the very best of British expertise together with the Nigerian Government on their innovative 'You Win' project. They are transforming lives by supporting young entrepreneurs in Nigeria.

"This initiative will nurture 1,200 of the best business ideas, drive job creation and provide an income for many new workers so some of the world's poorest families can beat poverty for themselves."

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