The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, H.E. Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, and Ashish J. Thakkar, founder of Mara Group and Mara Foundation, have jointly announced their partnership to launch Mara Mentor for supporting young entrepreneurs across Nigeria.
Mara Mentor is an online and mobile platform targeting young people who want to start a business. The program is completely free of charge and available to all entrepreneurs regardless of their position within the business life cycle, from those only starting out with one brilliant idea to more established business owners. The platform allows these entrepreneurs to connect virtually with seasoned business leaders locally and mentors from across the world for advice and guidance.
As part of Nigeria's Integrated Youth Economic Empowerment Program (IYEEP), Mara-IYEEP Nigeria is the first of its kind and will be a formidable base to empower youth throughout the country and ultimately provide a solution for youth leadership and development.
The mentorship program will serve as a provider of non-formal education aimed at bridging the gap between school and life after school, enhancing young people's potential for success by making them approach life as entrepreneurs. Aside from mentoring the youth on the path to entrepreneurial empowerment, the program further aims to provide comprehensive support services for the youth through funding assistance for novel business ideas, incubation centers and workspace, as well as continual business training. Furthermore, the program exudes special consideration and focus on the empowerment of female youth in our society.
These support services are expected to transform entrepreneurs' business ideas into profitable and thriving business entities that will employ other Nigerians and contribute to local, state and national economies.
"We are very excited about the project to bring Mara Mentor to Nigeria. Mara-IYEEP Nigeria will encourage young entrepreneurs to embrace innovative ideas, envision the impossible, and ultimately transform Nigeria. We believe mentorship is the key in addressing the gaps currently preventing these entrepreneurs from successfully starting, scaling and sustaining businesses," says Ashish J. Thakkar.
The mentorship platform is currently accessible online, but will shortly be launched as a mobile application for smartphones with the objective to create a truly active and connected entrepreneurial community for youth across Nigeria.