Port Harcourt–– As part of its commitment to bolster sustainable economic growth in Nigeria, the U.S. government supports a variety of programs to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship across the country.
On Friday, the U.S. Consulate General launched the third cohort of the Field of Skills and Dreams VTE Academy’s Fashion Entrepreneurship Program for 30 emerging fashion designers in the Niger Delta region.
Delivering remarks at the opening ceremony of the workshop, which was held at the American Corner in Port Harcourt, U.S. Consulate Deputy Public Affairs Officer Jennifer Foltz highlighted the role of entrepreneurship as the key driver of sustainable economic growth.
Foltz explained that the goal of the U.S. Consulate-supported capacity building workshop was to provide participants with the requisite business management skills to start, scale, and sustain viable fashion businesses.
“Fashion is a multi-billion-dollar industry and a huge contributor to the global economy, creating jobs and economic prosperity,” Foltz said. “Nigeria’s unique and innovative fashion designs are making waves in the United States and our goal with this fashion entrepreneurship workshop is to provide the participants with the knowledge, networks, mentors, and access they need to launch and scale successful fashion businesses.”
Program implementing partner and CEO of Field of Skills and Dreams VTE Academy, Omowale Ogunrinde, encouraged the participants to direct their passion, imagination, skills, and ingenuity toward making a mark on the Nigerian fashion industry.
“Succeeding in the fashion industry takes a lot more than passion and creativity. You have to be able to think like an entrepreneur. Through the support of the U.S. Consulate, we are empowering emerging fashion designers to not only thrive in Nigeria’s fashion industry but also to prepare for the global fashion marketplace,” Ogunrinde, an alumna of the U.S. government-sponsored International Visitors Leadership Program, said.
One of the participants, Ruth Inyang, expressed appreciation for the opportunity to advance her theoretical knowledge in fashion design, branding, and small business management skills.
Inyang explained that she has begun implementing some of the fashion design, branding, and marketing techniques and practices she learned during the ongoing workshop.
“My experience at this workshop has been nothing short of amazing. I look forward to learning more from our mentors on how to succeed as a fashion entrepreneur,” Inyang added.
Over the last six months, a diverse group of 100 young Nigerians have participated in three regional capacity-building fashion entrepreneurship workshops in Lagos (40), Enugu (30), and Port Harcourt (30).
The fashion entrepreneurship workshop is a reflection of the U.S. government’s strong commitment to supporting young people in Nigeria as they seek to build a future in which they can be constructive participants in the nation’s economic development.