As members of Leadership Initiatives' [LI] International Business Internship Program, Emily, Christopher, Eva, Mae, Ellie, Emma, and Ella from Ridgefield High School have been working with LI to help create & sustain businesses in Bauchi State, Nigeria. To transform lives, the team & LI are working to build a business development center. At this center, vulnerable men and women will receive training in life-skills, vocational skills & business to empower and equip them to escape extreme poverty.
According to the World Bank, Nigeria's poverty rate is currently at 46% due in part to weak human capital development and under-investment in rural regions. Nigeria currently ranks 152 of 157 countries in the World Bank's Human Capital Index. A large number of uneducated, out-of-school, and unemployed youth combined with a lack of employment opportunities has created a cycle of poverty in Northern Nigeria. The Leadership Initiatives Business Education Center aims to break down these barriers.
To ensure the realization of entrepreneurial empowerment necessary to enhance economic growth and development, there is a need to first train new business owners in basic business skills. The Leadership Initiatives Business Education Center will train community leaders to open and operate their own businesses, utilizing community resources and promoting sustainable development across their respective villages, towns, and cities.
Communities will have successful businesses to use as models for sustainable growth and independence. The projects will showcase entrepreneurship, both social and private, and provide templates for how communities across the developing world can overcome development obstacles. Leadership Initiatives' Business Education Center aims to utilize the potential of local leaders and underserved communities in order to create cost-efficient and small-scale examples of effective grassroots development.