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​UNIDO-Hewlett-Packard (HP) Global Partnership Programme partners with Nigeria Entrepreneurs Forum in  Entrepreneurship & IT Training for Youth in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

"Young people can play a greater role in micro-enterprise development, which is one of the best ways to create jobs. Training offers a taste of professional life, making the transition from education to business much easier." Gabriele Zedlmayer, Vice President of Corporate Marketing, HP Europe, Middle East and Africa. 

Context In most developing countries, micro- and small scale enterprises account for a significant share of the private sector and are important drivers for job creation. However, they often operate below their potential since business owners lack the relevant entrepreneurship, management and IT skills to develop and become more efficient. Entrepreneurship training is thus increasingly being recognized as an important element in tackling unemployment and triggering economic growth. Moreover, it strengthens the social inclusion of marginalized people (the very poor, youth, women, minorities) as it enables them to engage actively in productive economic activities. 

Strategy Since May 2008, UNIDO has been partnering with Hewlett Packard (HP), one of the world's largest technology companies, to implement a global programme for entrepreneurship and IT education. Together, UNIDO and HP equip aspiring and existing entrepreneurs in developing countries with hands-on business and IT skills to start, run and grow their enterprises. Building on the successful deployment of the "Graduate Entrepreneurship Training through IT" (GET-IT) programme in Africa and the Middle East, in 2010 the UNIDO-HP partnership reached a global coverage including Asia and Latin America. Today at the core of the partnership lies the global Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs (LIFE) training programme which is available in several languages and covers selected topics in the areas of marketing, operations, communication and finance for different stages of entrepreneurship, from imagining to innovating.

The LIFE trainings are provided by carefully selected partner organizations(Nigeria Entrepreneurs Forum)  who receive a HP technology package, access to the LIFE curriculum and to various online tools and a cash grant. Selection of partner organizations is based on a scoring system, which, inter alia, includes gender equality factor. Also, designated LIFE trainers are enabled to take part in a training-of-trainers course to become certified and thus to pass on their knowledge to the students. 

The UNIDO-HP partnership programme is implemented in collaboration with MEA-I (Micro-Enterprise Acceleration Institute) and EDC (Education Development Center). In June 2012, HP introduced HP LIFE e-Learning - a free, online training programme that builds on the existing programme. The courses are interactive, helping many more entrepreneurs and small business owners learn IT and business skills in their own time, at their own pace.

Current results Establishment of 122 LIFE centers in 15 countries (Algeria, Brazil, China, Colombia, Egypt, India, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda and United Arab Emirates).

Certification of over 310 LIFE trainers Training of approximately 50,000 students face-to-face Creation of over 20,000 jobs Following the completion of the LIFE training many of the beneficiaries –of which a large percentage are women and youth - have established a business and thus started to generate their own income, contributing to job creation and economic growth in their countries. 

The global LIFE center network was further expanded in 2012. Linkages with other UNIDO entrepreneurship initiatives, such as the Entrepreneurship Curriculum Programme (ECP) and the Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Programme (EDIP) will be created to maximize the benefits for entrepreneurs. Furthermore, UNIDO will develop an environmental training module for the LIFE curriculum with the expertise of its Environmental Management Branch. For more information on this project click here . 

Entrepreneur Success Stories Lucy Wahome dreamed of using her sewing and knitting talents to build a business in her community. But she needed help getting started. Through HP LIFE training she learned how—and where—to set up her business for the best chance of success, choosing a site in a busy Nakuru shopping center. In addition, Lucy sells her products wholesale, using her new skills to establish and manage her distribution channel. Lucy also learned bookkeeping skills and new ways to market her shop to attract customers. The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has embarked on capacity strengthening of SMEs as well as entrepreneurship development and support institutions across the country through its UNIDO HP Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs (LIFE) project. 

The UNIDO HP LIFE project is designed for entrepreneurs and small business owners to develop their business and IT skills. The project aims to empower mainly young men and women with practical entrepreneurship, IT and business development skills. Target beneficiaries include university graduates, undergraduates, students in technical and vocational institutions, aspiring and existing entrepreneurs.To achieve this objective, UNIDO has so far completed the first phase of a specialized training for 41 Trainers out of which 10 are certified as Master Trainers. The Trainers were drawn from 15 entrepreneurship development institutions in both private and public sectors organisations, two universities and two banks from sixteen States plus FCT. 

The UNIDO Representative to ECOWAS and Regional Director, Nigeria Regional Office Hub, Jean Bakole according to a statement, said UNIDO was delighted to partner the selected institutions to support the Federal Government's current economic diversification initiatives. He said, "Entrepreneurship and industrialization are key ingredients for tackling poverty and stimulating inclusive and sustainable economic growth and employment. On behalf of our Director General , Mr. LI Yong, I want to reaffirm UNIDO's commitment towards supporting on-going efforts of the Government of Nigeria in diversifying its economy through partnership with the public and private sector institutions in order to strengthen the SMEs and industrial sectors of the economy Nigerian.

UNIDO is ready to support the Federal Government Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) in facilitating job creation by implementing entrepreneurship training programme to strengthen the SME sector in Nigeria." The National Project Coordinator for UNIDO HP LIFE in Nigeria, Francis Ukoh, said the training aimed to strengthen entrepreneurship development institutions with the right skills to provide the needed support for aspiring and existing entrepreneurs. Ukoh said , "Entrepreneurship constitutes a vital engine for economic, social, practical and all round development of any country therefore, a combination of ICT and Business skills using the LIFE curriculum is to introduce entrepreneurs into innovative approach to enterprise creation. All the selected institutions for the entrepreneurship development programme are UNIDO's partners and they have direct access to the target group, provide the training facilities and trainers and engage in the regular reporting and monitoring of the project. "In order to enable their professionals to become certified HP LIFE Master Trainers and Trainers, the training institutions nominated candidates to take part in the LIFE Master Training (MToT) and Training of Trainers (ToT). The goal of the training was to provide the future "LIFE Trainers" with the technical and facilitation skills and knowledge necessary to introduce the LIFE curriculum and to offer LIFE trainings as part of their on-going training services to entrepreneurs."

I am one of the HP LIFE Trainer, and we will be hosting a workshop for start-ups and existing business owners to come take advantage of this great opportunity, Nigeria ia ours to grow, we should be able as an entrepreneur to grow the economy inwards instead of looking outwards, with the UNIDO HP-LIFE programme we hope to achieve that dream someday. thanks

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