By Desmond Ejibas
Port Harcourt – The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), has begun its talent hunt with about 100 youths across the country expected to participate in the exercise.
Mr Olawale Fasanya, the Director-General of SMEDAN said at the opening of a five-day Talent Hunt Programme 2022 in Port Harcourt on Wednesday that winners will get the opportunity to work in the entertainment industry.
The programme was themed: ‘Igniting the Passion of Nigerian Youths for Leadership in Business and Entertainment.’
Fasanya, who was represented by Dr Yinka Fisher, a Deputy Director in SMEDAN, said the agency introduced the programme in 2017 to discover young talented entertainers.
“SMEDAN introduced this programme to harness potential of hitherto neglected Nigerian youths, to enable them create wealth, generate employment, reduce poverty and grow the nation’s economy.
“The talent hunt will identify and showcase young Nigerian change agents, deploying their power of innovative talents to make positive social and economic impacts.
“So, in this year’s edition, we are focussing on three areas – acting/dance art, photography/photo-editing and spoken word/presentation skills,” he said.
Fasanya said that participants would benefit from idea pitching, capacity building, industry networking, mentorship and business counselling at the end of the exercise.
According to him, participants will receive kits, grants, prizes, while those who presented unique and outstanding ideas will have their ideas patented.
“One of the unique features of the 2022 edition is our engagement of the service of professionals led by a consulting firm to ensure a hitch-free and more robust programme implementation.
“This year’s award is packaged to reflect the needs of the prospective winners of the competition, so SMEDAN will continue to innovate and enrich the programme content,” he said.
The director-general said the agency had spent about N167.07 million since the programme’s inauguration in 2017, adding that 1,023 young Nigerians had so far participated in the talent hunt.
“A good percentage of this number has benefited financially by way of awards and prizes.
“Past winners of the competition won between N50,000 to N500,000, depending on the performance of the individual,” he said.
Miss Jennifer Bassey, an undergraduate in the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom, expressed delight for her participation in the talent hunt.
Bassey, who enlisted for the ‘presentation skills’ category, said the exercise would enable her to sharpen her skills, towards achieving her dream of becoming a Nollywood actress. (NAN)