Business Incubator for Marginalised Youths Debuts

Monday, August 15, 2011

In 10 years from now, 40 million Nigerians will become job seekers, and most of them would be unskilled hands. What do we do with these job seekers? Generation Enterprise (GEN) raised this question last week in Lagos.

It is GEN’s mandate to solve this problem. GEN, a model that provides an end-to-end solution to youth poverty and unemployment, brought leaders in Nigeria’s public, private, and social sectors together in Lagos to tackle the related issues of youth unemployment and economic development in an innovative new way.

They met at the Public Affairs Section of the US Consulate General’s office in Lagos, to discuss GEN, a non-profit social enterprise run entirely by dedicated students and young professionals from across Nigeria, the US, Germany, and Singapore.

Participants commended the effort of the organisation and made recommendations for improvement. One Folarin Gbadebo-Smith, a former chairman of Eti-Osa Local Government, Lagos State, advised officials of the organisation to link up with local governments whom he said have programmes they could tap into. Some others pledged their organisations could complement GEN efforts.

Generation Enterprise is a small business incubator programme that co-creates scalable businesses with the unemployed and the marginalised youth, and in doing so, integrates these youths into local economies.

Developed by Wharton and Oxford business students, McKinsey Consultants, and Nigerian youth leaders, the organisation adapts lean start-up methodology from Silicon Valley to Lagos’ bottom-of-the-pyramid markets. The goal is to foster new high-growth businesses, generate sustainable jobs, and get youth off the streets.

More than 80 million of the world’s young people are unemployed. Another 150 million youths are part of the “working poor,” eking out meager and precarious livelihoods in the informal economy. This figure is the highest number of unemployed youth ever measured by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and represents the breeding ground for a global social crisis.

Source: Business Day (link opens in a new window)