In a move to show renewed focus on entrepreneurship, the Government of Nigeria has rolled out ‘Mara Mentor’ a mentoring app designed to ‘enable, empower and inspire’ young business leaders across the country.
The app, launched in partnership with the Mara Foundation, a social enterprise set up to support budding young entrepreneurs in Africa, the Government aims to to bolster the SME sector and boost job creation and further developing and diversifying the region’s economy.
The announcement took place during the Democracy Day celebrations in Abuja on Thursday, led by His Excellency President Goodluck Jonathan (GCFR) and Ashish J Thakkar, Founder of Mara Group & Mara Foundation.
His Excellency President Goodluck Jonathan (GCFR) said: “I am a firm believer in youth empowerment and support any efforts to drive our youth agenda forwards. The Mara Mentor app is a fantastic initiative, and I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Mara Foundation and its Founder, Ashish J Thakkar, for choosing Nigeria for the pilot launch in Africa.”
The Mara Mentor launch event was hosted at the Abuja International Conference Centre and attended by HE President Goodluck Jonathan (GCFR), along with Minister of Youth Development, Boni Haruna, Minister of Communication Technology, Omobola Johnson, and partners supporting Mara Foundation’s activities. A number of Nigerian celebrities were also in attendance, including Pat Utomi (Professor of Economics at Lagos Business School), Waje Iruobe, Chris Ubosi (CEO of Beat FM) and Chude Jideonwo (Editor of Y! Naija and CEO Red Nigeria).
Mara Mentor is a Mara Foundation initiative that has been developed to empower young people in Africa by providing them with a dynamic technology product tailored to meet their needs. With more than 650 million mobile phone subscribers and a large population of youth looking for new ways to communicate, faster and cheaper, Mara Mentor is looking to tap into the thriving Africa technology opportunity.
According to Ashish J Thakkar, Founder of Mara Group & Mara Foundation, “Entrepreneurs are the backbone of our economy, and we must support them in any way we can to ensure they become the job creators of tomorrow.
“I know from my own experience that starting your own business is tough. What our youth needs is practical, real-world advice to help them develop the necessary skills and knowledge-base to get their business off the ground. Mentoring is a crucial part of this, which is why we have developed Mara Mentor – a one-stop-shop for entrepreneurs that has been developed by Africans for Africans.
“We are delighted to have the support of His Excellency Goodluck Jonathan (GCFR) whose vision, like ours, is to build a sustainable and diversified economy that is powered by our youth.”
Mara Mentor will be running a number of localised activities over the next few months such as campus storms, workshops, competitions and Mara One-on-One networking events. The Mara Mentor app is available to download for free from leading online app stores including iTunes, Blackberry, Android and Nokia. Users will also be able to access the online tool by visiting mentor.mara.com.