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Investment in Youth Development – A Sustainable Strategy and Alternative for Economic Diversification

“A young population if empowered and well developed will be a resource that will lead to innovation, economic growth, support good governance and drive political reforms.”

To say the future of Nigeria belongs to the youths, is simply restating the obvious. Though as most comedians have jokingly implied – we keep hearing the same names from our history books in current political conversations, leaving us to wonder, when really will the future be ours… is it after it has been mortgaged by present and recent leaders through bad debts, looting, inadequate budgetary allocation and substandard development policies across various sectors?

However, the aim is not to lament, as we believe that there is hope and have expectations from the new government. The way forward is to seek out opportunities in the midst of supposed chaos. Nigerian youths make up a sizeable chunk of the Nigerian population an estimate of over 70million youths within the age of 15 – 40years. According to Wikipedia, Nigeria has the highest youth population in Africa.

Besides our natural resources, a major attraction for foreign investors is our numbers, as they visualize market availability and opportunity when they think of Nigeria, and so should we. All stakeholders – youths, local brands, key organisations and policy makers should also view the youth numbers as potential to be harnessed, as a sector for investment and as a tool to be employed to attain economic growth rather than for violence and mere statistics to incur more foreign debts.

Hence to ensure any sustainable development inview of the dwindling oil revenue, government needs to develop initiatives to empower the youths both economically and socially as we seek avenues for economic diversification.

Our call is also to the Nigerian youths to view themselves as a major resource with the capacity to produce value and solution for our numerous challenges as a nation. This entails viewing our challenges as opportunities and leveraging on avenues to develop, especially employing the benefits of technology to advance ourselves – so we are able to benefit from empowerment initiatives.

Visionary Impact Netwox – as a brand committed to socio-economic development and empowerment of our fellow youths, we decided to lead by example by kicking off the social funding contest “Fund Ya Hustle” to provide step-up grant for youth owned startups in a bid to encourage others into starting businesses based on the ideology of value addition and solution-oriented thinking.

Finalists of the contest will receive promotional and business support while the winner – Mr. OluFemi Dimu of Money Tree Team – who was selected based on solicited votes by the finalists via social media will be rewarded with a non-refundable cash grant of N100,000 to scale up the business.

Cross-section of Finalists and Project Team

Cross-section of Finalists and Project Team

Following the impact of this pilot project which garnered major participation despite minimal funding, the next Contest will feature grants to street hustlers – the hawkers of major consumer brand products mostly whose goods and startup capital is as low as N5,000. These set of youth entrepreneurs, on a large scale won’t be opportuned to benefit from grants to scale up their Hustle (business).

We are hoping more brands and individuals will see reason to lend support to the project and encourage Nigerian youths to venture into legit Hustle (businesses) and ventures. If youths have purchasing power, then it will also help to boost our economy, as more youths will be encouraged to ply the route of entrepreneurship, thus leading to job creation, competition which leads to better quality of goods and services, eventually Naija-made brands can stand favorably with foreign products. The possibility in terms of all-round impact is huge.

L-R: Toluroc Martins – Brand Strategist, TalkRoc ‘Inno, Mr. Olatuyi – Head Consultant, Career Mentors Nigeria and Project Director, Visionary Impact Netwox.

The recently held press event to unveil the winner had key speakers in the likes of Mr. Toluroc Martins of TalkRoc ‘Inno who spoke on “the youth as a brand and how to attract necessary investment“. The keynote speaker on the ” Need for value and solution oriented thinking amongst youths as a key denominator for economic empowerment” was in the person of Mr. Kayode Olatunyi of Career Mentors Nigeria.

Major highlight of the event was the launch of the 234central.com initiative which is an online space for trendy, enterprising and skilled Nigerian youths to Connect: Share and Achieve. It is via this online platform that all empowerment projects will be activated. 

The aim is to provide social support for members and social-impact organisations to help drive sustainable development. The 234central initiative leverages on the power of media and technology as a tool to promote our core message – “Think Value, Think Solution”.

The project though personally funded is the brain child of Ms. Cynthia Asoegwu who serves as the Project Director and founder of Visionary Impact Netwox, and is ably supported by Global Education Media and Career Mentors Nigeria.

Further socio-economic empowerment projects have been lined up to kick-off in the coming year designed for members of the community on www 234central.com though not restricted. For more updates connect with us on social media @234central for both Instagram and twitter & Facebook.com/234central

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Visionary Impact Netwox is a service based social enterprise leveraging on media and technology, with the aim to promote socio-economic development of youth, women and the community at large. www.visionaryimpactnetwox com

As a social enterprise, our objective is to provide social-support services which  include Digital Business Management, PR and marketing services, as well as project development consultancy and management for organisations, brands and individuals, from which revenue gained is employed to facilitate our impact based projects.

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