Anambra State, under Governor Chukwuma Soludo’s leadership, is aggressively reviving the Igbo Apprenticeship System through the One-Youth-Two Skills program. This initiative aims to support over 10,000 youths annually in starting their businesses, adapting the traditional model to suit contemporary needs.
The Igbo Apprenticeship System, renowned for nurturing billionaires like Innoson CEO Innocent Chukwuma and Coscharis Motors CEO Cosmas Maduka, has been transformed under the One-Youth-Two Skills program to attract today’s youths. This modified system intends to equip young individuals with marketable skills, entrepreneurial know-how, and essential contacts, fostering self-employment and business ownership.
The program’s pilot phase successfully trained 5,000 youths in diverse skills and empowered them with a 2-billion-naira startup grant. Additionally, the Anambra State Small Business Agency (ASBA) has reserved working capital funds for scaling up these enterprises.
With a planned expansion to train 10,000 youths in 56 different skills, the program emphasizes a well-rounded curriculum from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Business School. It focuses on managerial, administrative, sales, marketing, and soft skills, grooming potential entrepreneurs.
Distinct from previous schemes, the uniqueness of the One-Youth-Two Skills program lies in training beneficiaries in at least two marketable skills. The strategy concentrates on fostering mass entrepreneurship via apprenticeships, business training, financing, and community-level mentoring.
Addressing challenges that lead to business failure, the Soludo-led administration implements strategies to combat financing hurdles, poor planning, and market obstacles. It offers grants, facilitates low-interest loans, and promotes cooperative setups among beneficiaries to foster shared resources and collective ownership.
To ensure market access, the program establishes linkages between beneficiaries and business opportunities. Additionally, a structured mentoring scheme supports these young entrepreneurs as they embark on their business journeys.
Determined to be job creators, these beneficiaries draw inspiration from successful entrepreneurs in the region, reflecting the renowned Igbo entrepreneurial spirit.
By Nwankwo, Special Adviser to Soludo on Special Projects