The Anabel Leadership Academy is a strategic business unit which is dedicated to developing leadership potential in professionals and young people.
“I think it’s very crucial for us to have a holistic solution to poverty and unemployment and from where we stand as the Anabel group [and] leadership academy, we believe very strongly that the solution to unemployment is self-employment,” Nichola Okoye, CEO, Anabel Leadership Academy.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the unemployment rate in Nigeria increased to 23.90 per cent in 2011 from 21.10 in 2010. The rate averaged 14.60 per cent from 2006 until 2011, reaching an all-time high of 23.90 per cent in December 2011.
“People need to become entrepreneurs, there are not enough being created in the economy by the large companies. The large companies have limited capacity to create jobs anyway and in most economies around the world, it’s the small and medium businesses that provide the bedrock for the millions and millions of people to be engaged in meaningful labour and meaningful service,” he explained.
While there have been increased efforts to support small and medium enterprises in the country this year, the sector still has a long way to go. In addition to this, the enormous deficit in skills among graduates across the country has added to the problem.
“Skills [are] a big problem but from what we have studied and the young people we have engaged in, there are major problems. One is skills of course, and we tackle that at the leadership academy. [Another] is funding, where is the fund to support a young micro entrepreneur or a small scale businessman or woman going to come from?” he said.
As a result of this, the academy created a separate initiative which is called, ‘Empower Nigeria’. The initiative provides young people with the support they need to start their businesses.
“The third most important element is, the business ideas. You have a lot of government programs saying they’ll fund your ideas, you have telecoms companies saying bring your ideas but the truth is that, not every young person has a business idea,” he added.