Fidelity Bank Plc has entered into partnership with Empretec Nigerian Foundation to empower 300 youths with entrepreneurial skills in the FCT.

The bank’s Managing Director, Nnamdi Okonkwo, in a statement, said the initiative was part of the its entrepreneurship support intervention for state governments.

He explained that it was also a way to support Micro Small Medium Enterprises to empower Nigerian youths with requisite entrepreneurship skill needed to thrive in today’s highly competitive business landscape.

Empretec Nigeria Foundation is part of an international network of enterprise support institution and programmes under the UNDP Africa region.

It is a flagship capacity-building programme of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and is expected to promote entrepreneurship and MSMEs with a view to facilitating sustainable development and inclusive growth.

Okonkwo noted that the training programme, which commenced on September 25, had been reciprocated in Lagos State and Calabar, the Cross River State capital.

He said: “The Bank has once again reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to build a new breed of entrepreneurs, especially among Nigeria’s boisterous youth population.”

The Fidelity bank boss, who was represented by the bank’s Group Head, Specialised SME, Ndubuisi Onuoha, said the training was designed essentially to assist young entrepreneurs build capacity needed to survive today’s business world.

He said: “The lender’s decision to embark on the programme was borne out of the need to resolve the issue of failed business start-ups in Nigeria.

“Studies have shown that only 20 per cent of MSMEs survive beyond their fifth year of operations.

“In view of this, the programme is aimed at building stronger and well informed entrepreneurs who have unparalleled management skills and can obtain and manage funds efficiently if needed.

“The bank, through a meticulous selection process, has identified young and budding entrepreneurs with great prospects of becoming the next ‘Dangote’, to be part of this training.”

Okonkwo assured that the Bank would provide participants with necessary support required to sustain their businesses.

He also expressed the bank’s commitment to help entrepreneurs take advantage of the myriad of opportunities prevalent in the Nigerian economy.

Also, the Head, Business and Strategy, Empretec Nigeria Foundation, Bright Osakwe, expressed gratitude to Fidelity Bank for its continued support for entrepreneurship development.

Osakwe, however, explained that so far the foundation trained about 3,000 Nigerians and intended to step up its efforts in this regards.

Also, the bank’s Head, Abuja II, Halilu Malabu, urged participants to take advantage of the free training programme to enable them to become dominant players in their industries.

Malabu also advised selected participants to repay the bank’s faith in them by building successful businesses..