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A ground-breaking initiative.

I have just come across a truly groundbreaking initiative and would like to share this information with your readers, especially those youths in Nigeria who might benefit from it.

The FATE Foundation is a non-profit, private sector led organisation created in 2000 with the express aim of harnessing the potential of Nigeria's youth to directly attack the high rates of unemployment and poverty in our country.

Fola Adeola, the MD of GTBank, founded the organisation that, by 2005, had sponsored the establishment and growth of 1,000 businesses. FATE aims to create 5,000 businesses by 2015. These businesses will lead to the creation of 50,000 jobs in Nigeria.

Since FATE's inception, it has worked and continues to work with global corporations, institutions, and organisations. Its approach to wealth creation in Nigeria is innovative for seven primary reasons.

First; while most enterprise development organisations focus on rural populations, FATE seeks to engage with urban youth, a vulnerable and an often-neglected segment of society.

Second; historical business development initiatives in Nigeria have either been championed by the government or by international agencies. However, FATE is a private sector led initiative, created and funded by Nigerians who are concerned about the state of the nation.

Third; most training programmes offered by organisations in urban Nigeria are cost prohibitive because they rely on 'career trainers'. In addition, they are often theoretical and sometimes prove ineffective when applied in the nation's harsh economic terrain.

But FATE relies on volunteer instructors, mentors, and consultants, and it is able to minimise its costs structure, while providing world-class training to individuals who ordinarily would not be able to afford it. In addition, its primary reliance on local entrepreneurs and mentors ensures that the instruction and support provided by FATE is relevant, realistic and dynamic.

Fourth; FATE's Mentoring Programme is the first of its kind in Nigeria. The youth are given the opportunity to interact with entrepreneurs who have achieved success through hard work, innovation, enterprise and strong business ethics. These mentors are expected to devote at least 38 hours over the five-month period to their participants during which they are expected to cover three major topics--personal development, entrepreneurial skills and business etiquette.

Fifth; most microfinance institutions that support youth development programmes use the traditional group-based lending and training approach, which often limits the diversity of the businesses that they are able to support. In addition, many of these efforts are uncoordinated and do not provide their beneficiaries with the breath and depth of support that they require to establish successful businesses.

By offering a comprehensive set of services to its participants, FATE ensures that these individuals receive the support that they need to establish sustainable businesses. FATE also offers one-on-one support to these entrepreneurs as they attempt to create marketable business plans and tailors its services to fit their unique needs.

Sixth; while most entrepreneurs focus on debt financing, FATE not only provides extensive training on the equity option, but also creates avenues for its participants to raise substantial financial support through semi-annual investors'-forum and business-plan competitions, the first of their kind in Nigeria. Finally, FATE seeks to transform the Nigerian business landscape by sharing its world-class training materials, publications and training procedures with microcredit and entrepreneurial development organisations throughout Nigeria. In addition, by offering training programmes to the staff and beneficiaries of these organisations, FATE can ensure that it has widespread impact.

You can learn more and sign up for a regular newsletter at

Akin James

Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
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Title Annotation:It must be FATE
Author:James, Akin
Publication:African Business
Geographic Code:6NIGR
Date:Oct 1, 2008
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