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Press Release: Initiative launch: “the College of Practical Skills and Start-up Centre”

18 December 2018

Providing start-up capital, training and jobs for African youth

Private companies and public institutions collaborate to stimulate economic growth and address the root causes of migration

Vienna, 18.12.2018 - Today the High-Level EU-Africa Forum 2018 in Vienna prompted the start of the "College of Practical Skills and Start-Up Centre" initiative. It is characterised by the combination of two elements: training and education as well as providing start-up capital and practical assistance to young entrepreneurs. This initiative will create jobs for youth, with a specific focus on women. By giving opportunities to Africans in their own countries, it will address irregular migration and ‘brain drain’.

"The Nigerian College of Practical Skills and Start-up Centre" is the initiative’s pilot project and aims to create 1,600 new jobs and 500-800 new businesses in Nigeria. The project will establish a training facility to equip up to 1,000 Nigerian youth, including at least 300 young women, per year with practical and directly marketable skills. Most of the successful trainees will be employed or self-employed after graduation through opportunities provided by the project or partner companies. The Start-up Centre will offer business advisory and start-up capital to youth willing to establish their own businesses.

The initiative is developed by ICMPD and supported by the private and public sector. The partners are the Coca-Cola Company, Umdasch Group Ventures, Austria’s federal promotional bank (aws), the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKO), Leeway Investment GmbH, Rotary, Backaldrin, Godfrey Okoye University, the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna-Centre for Development Research (BOKU-CDR), MODUL University Vienna GmbH and Jäger Architektur ZT GmbH. The initiative is open for other partners to join.

The “College of Practical Skills and Start-up Centre” demonstrates the commitment of the private sector in supporting innovative projects towards future prosperity in Africa. The initiative will roll out in Nigeria, but its key outcomes will be scalable and replicable in other African countries. The project aims to develop and implement a self-sustaining dual educational concept based on European standards and certifications and will establish a technical training facility for Nigerian youth.

“Stable solutions must always be based on multiple columns. In this sense, cooperation between public institutions and the private sector is a necessary approach to address the root causes of migration. ICMPD is proud to have brought together these two sectors for “the College of Practical skill and Start-up Centre” ICMPD´s Director General, Michael Spindelegger summarised at his presentation.

“As an organisation that has been investing continuously in Africa for more than 90 years, we have long recognised both its great promise and the importance of supporting job creation across the continent,” said Melina Androutsopoulou, Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability Director, EMEA, The Coca-Cola Company.

“We consistently see that cross-sector partnerships lie at the heart of progress, and we look forward to building on our experiences from sustainable development initiatives that have already economically enabled more than one million women and youth in Africa this decade alone.” “As Austria’s federal promotional bank we are very glad to support the Start-up Centre in Nigeria. We will provide expertise for the implementation of the Startup Capital Fund and share our know-how in validating business ideas. Young, innovative start-ups will substantially increase business opportunities and provide employment to the youth in Africa in future” outlines Bernhard Sagmeister, Managing Director of Austria’s federal promotional bank, aws.


Download the Press Release here