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UNDP, National Youth Commission and Restless Development unlock the potential of young entrepreneurs

By Abu Bakarr Kargbo

With support from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the National Youth Commission, Restless Development Sierra Leone has been implementing the Business Development Services in Newton 3 mile. The Business Development Services program seeks to nurture entrepreneurial culture among young people in the community through professional business skills thereby creating means for profit oriented and sustained business venture. This could help in creating self employment and reduce unemployment rate in the Country. The Business Development Services is meant for young people, ages 15-35, male/female, educated and uneducated, in business and out of business; and it is a six month pilot project that has come to an end.

The training of one hundred and eighty two young people to become successful entrepreneurs has successfully come to an end.  On 29th January, 2013 the last set of beneficiaries were certified at Commissioner Anthony Koroma Hall, Newton 3 mile. The certification ceremony was chaired by the District Youth Officer Alhaji Fofanah. Other dignitaries include the representative from banking institutions, community stakeholders, deputy country director of UBDP and team, country director of FAO and team, commissioner of National Youth Commission and team, Australia AID representative and country director of Restless Development Sierra Leone.

 

An overview of the project was given by the programme coordinator Mr. Samuel Young. He said they have completed the training on Advance Enterprise Management, Business IT Skills and also they have implemented General Business Advices sessions, Mentorship and Coaching sessions, Business information sharing session and Business mapping successfully. He confirmed that 182 young people were trained on advance enterprise management and 67 of them on Business IT.

Young people who have gone through the training process gave testimonies.

My name is Abdul Karim Mans-Kanu, I am one of the beneficiaries of the business development services project that is funded by UNDP in collaboration with National Youth Commission and implemented by Restless Development Sierra Leone. This project has helped my business to standout among my competitors. Before joining BDS training I was only doing printing and photocopying for my customers. After the business IT training I can now design souvenir, birthday cards, greeting card and Christmas card. This skill has helped to add value to what I was doing and as a result more profit.

I have been finding it very difficult to start up a business because I was having problem with market research. Before now I will sit in my house and prize all the items that I need to make rich cake. I was always under prizing as a result I could not buy anything when I am in the market. During the training I learnt about market research which has enabled me with the skill to do window shopping before budgeting for me business. Said my Aminata V Sesay

Mr. Jamie Bedson, the Country Director of Restless Development made a statement on the goals of Restless Development and their continual support and commitment towards youth development. He congratulated all the partners for their support and beneficiaries for going through the course.

The deputy director of UNDP, Mr. Mohamed Abchir confirmed that he is please with the partnership with National Youth Commission and Restless Development. He confirmed the continuity of the project in Western Area Rural District.

Mr. Anthony Koroma, the commissioner of National Youth Commission reminded the audience about the beginning of the Obasojo center and the projects that are ongoing in the center. He motivated the certified trainees to put their learning into action.

The programme manager, Youth Livelihood and Employment Programme of Restless Development, Mr. Mohamed Alpha Jalloh gave an update on the business plan competition. He told the audience that 88 of the trainees submitted business and 33 of them have been shortlisted for verification. After the verification 10 of them will be answer as the winners as against Tuesday the 5th February, 2013.

Magretta Gbondo one of the beneficiaries gave the vote of thanks

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