As part of ILOs’100years of existence and 60 years in Nigeria, the Abuja Enterprise Agency (AEA) played host to the Director General Guy Ryder who was on a day’s visit to its entrepreneurial complex in Abuja.

The Director General, (ILO) Guy Ryder commended Abuja Enterprise Agency on their laudable entrepreneurial initiatives and achievements in addition implored them to continue the cooperation.

Mr Ryder made this commendation during his visit to the Agency recently to commemorate ILOs’ 60 years in Nigeria.

“There are wonderful examples of successes but we know there are a lot of people out there who need decent work opportunities. There are a lot of young people looking for a place in their world of work, so it’s just doing more. I glad with what they are doing but we need to scale up,” he said.

The ILO boss continued: “I’m pleased that the ILO has been able to partner with the AEA in recent years, to be able to improve capacity of the agency.

“What I like most about this visit is that I have been able to see firsthand the positive results of all this work, particularly women entrepreneurs, who have been able to establish businesses and making a living from it”.

Earlier in his address the Managing Director of AEA Arabi Muhammad Tukur said the agency was established in 2006 as the FCT administration’s vehicle for entrepreneurial development, poverty reduction and wealth creation.

He revealed that the agency, in the last 10 years, has supported 73,450 individuals and businesses (90% of whom are youths) with critical entrepreneurial areas like business clinics, access to finance, counseling, sensitization, workspace and market linkage and many more.

He added that AEA has supported 31,100 rural entrepreneurs in 160 communities of the FCT with capacity building trainings, access to finance, provision of equipment and other critical areas. These are just some of the few achievements the Agency has attained over the years.

He said: “The agency has designed to expand its grants programme to support the provision of work tools which will eliminate drudgery, share new technology to rural entrepreneurs and finance Start-ups, who are confronted with inadequate access to finance.

“We also focus on youth and women development; we have in the past three years trained over 800 youths and women on ICT, skills acquisition programmes covering areas such as shoes production and other leather works, cosmetology, confectionary and entrepreneurial training.

“We are in the process of conducting a financial literacy sensitization programme to increase the number of entrepreneurs who have access to financial services to understand how to properly use the funds they received for their businesses.

“We are also in talks with other partners to upgrade the agency’s ICT hub with additional systems, and other advanced systems to provide the needed environment that can inspire innovative solutions.

We will continue to enhance our engagement with Entrepreneurs in the FCT towards facilitating business growth.

“Our mandate is geared towards accelerating business development in the FCT through designing and implementing of projects, programmes and activities that would stimulate business growth; thereby creating employment and reducing poverty”.

Tukur further revealed, that in line AEA’s five-year strategic plan (2015 – 2020), it has focused its efforts on the rural communities of the FCT. The efforts includes the aggregation of rural entrepreneurs into groups, building the capacity of these groups through cooperative management, business management amongst others and provide them the capital in cash or processing equipment to support the growth of their business.

“This has achieved some level of success and has prompted us to reach to our partners; one of whom is the International Labour Organization (ILO), Nigeria Office, towards scaling up and building new projects in various locations in the FCT”, he noted.

By Ifeyinwa Amulu