Economic research shows that entrepreneurs provide valuable economic benefits to societies. Entrepreneurs spread innovation, create jobs, increase productivity growth and produce spillover effects that improve long -term regional employment growth. Fostering youth leadership and entrepreneurship skills is an essential investment to meet the increasingly advanced needs of the expanding African economies, to reduce youth unemployment and underemployment and to foster innovation.
YELEAP youth entrepreneurship and leadership programmes share four main elements, namely : .
1. Teaching entrepreneurship skills; providing opportunities for youth to apply newly gained skills; offering mentorship from local entrepreneurs, and fostering peer networking opportunities that help youth exchange ideas, innovate and continue to grow their entrepreneurial skills.
2. Combining education and skills application to enable participants apply entrepreneurship skills in an ongoing process that builds their experience levels and provides opportunities for greater learning.
3. Developing an understanding of local context, key stakeholder relationships and buy-in, screen and select candidates for training, developing training programmes for mentors, developing sustainable programme operations and measuring impact.
4. Designing programmes that address multiple barriers to employment, such as combining skills training with access to capital, are most effective at combating youth unemployment in Africa. Access to micro-finance (small-scale lending), is crucial for entrepreneurial success because individuals, and youth in particular, often lack savings or other capital required to start businesses. Youth also face more obstacles to obtaining credit than older individuals with longer work histories and higher savings. Therefore, a ‘best practice’ for educational entrepreneurship training programs is to develop relationships with micro -finance institutions to facilitate access to small-scale lending for YELEAP programme participants. .
YELEAP’s focus areas arguably provide the most positive impact of all programmes promoting youth employment in developing countries and increase youth employment in Nigeria as well as other parts of the continent. Entrepreneurial training increases chances for starting successful businesses by developing critical business skills and behaviours and are associated with reduced business failure rates, increased profits, higher savings and growth of small and medium-sized businesses in Nigeria. Research from programmes supporting entrepreneurs and leaders in other developing countries find such programmes are associated with increased income and a greater likelihood of currently operating a small business. .
Youth Entrepreneurship and Leadership Project (YELEAP) recognises and supports the power of entrepreneurship to unlock human potential, create jobs, inspire wealth and invigorate the greater African economy and community. Entrepreneurship education has the mandate to equip the youth with functional knowledge and skill to build up their character, attitude and vision. It has vital role in developing eco-system that promotes innovation and developing entrepreneurial culture, which drives wealth creation and gives further push to innovations. This necessitates all-inclusive focus and proactive policy interventions in favour of entrepreneurship and leadership. .