Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, Thursday, disclosed plans by his administration to establish a viable platform which will identify young entrepreneurs for the purpose of supporting and promoting their enterprise.
The Governor who spoke at the Biannual Access Leadership Conference 2015 held at the Eko Hotels and Suites, with the theme, ‘Leading in a Transformational World-The Imperative of Innovation’, said the initiative tagged, ‘Pitch@Lagos’ has already received support from former President Olusegun Obasanjo, President of Dangote Group of Companies, Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Access Bank by way of sponsorship. “It is no longer in doubt that Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs) hold the key to realizing our full potentials for growth and development”.
“The history of the Asian Tigers is well known. It is also a fact that while most big business corporations started as Small Medium Enterprises, developing economies still pay special attention to the survival of Small Medium Enterprises in various sectors of their economies”, he said.
He said the challenge of any government is to create an enabling environment that will enable the entrepreneurial spirit to thrive.
While alluding to the fact the theme of the conference was apt, Governor Ambode said that quest for transformation resonates with the present reality of human existence urging participants to continue to undertake meaningful innovations to transform their environment. “Indeed, we live in interesting times. We live in an era where our ability to influence the society depends very much on how we are able to bring innovative ideas to bear on our responsibilities”, the Governor said.
He said his administration has already taken the bull by the horn by creating an Office of Transformation, Innovation and Creativity to champion the vision of improving the ease of doing business in the state. “We have embarked on several projects using the most innovative ways and technologies available. Within a very short time from now, those who wish to conduct transactions with Lagos State in areas including, but not limited to, property and land, should be able to do so using e-facilities”, he said.
The Governor, who also spoke at the 7th Annual Bankers Committee Retreat on the theme, ‘Creating enabling environment for Small, Medium Enterprises Growth’, urged the Committee to maximise the potentials of SMEs as major catalyst for economic growth.
He said that the growth of SMEs have been stunted by challenges such as infrastructural deficit and lack of access to capital, urging the banking sector to do much more than they are currently doing to actualise the full potentials of the sector if the goal of diversification will be achieved. He said his administration is committed to supporting young entrepreneurs with business ideas to create wealth and generate employment through the establishment of the Employment Trust Fund, which will see the government commit N25 billion in the next three years.
“We will soon complete the legislative process of inaugurating our Employment Trust Fund Board of Trustees through which our youth and entrepreneurs particularly in the social enterprise sector will be supported with start-up funds”. “As a government, we are committing N25 billion in the next Three Years to the Fund. May I use this platform to request for your partnership as we frontally mitigate the negative effects of our bulging youth population”, he said.