President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday, said the Youth Enterprise With Innovation In Nigeria (YOUWIN) has created over 26,000 jobs since inception in 2011.
He said the first edition created about 22,000 jobs while the second edition which was focused mostly on women created an additional 5,000 jobs.
Speaking at the Presidential Launch of the 3rd edition, the President also said during the first edition about 24,000 people applied and 22,000 were given the grant while a total of 65,000 women applied for second edition and 5,000 got the grant.
"I am happy to report that so far, over 26,000 direct jobs have been created across our six geo political zones. This includes 22,000 from the YouWiN phase 1 and over 5000 from YouWiN, 2"
" Let me restate that I believe strong in the youth of this great country, they are not only vibrant, they are intelligent and hard working" he said.
He stated that the YOUWIN programme which was unique because it is dependent on the youth to create jobs for their fellow youth, targeted the creation of over 80,000 jobs.
The President added that: "Nigeria is one of those countries that have a very big percentage of young, not just young but vibrant and enterprising young people"
"When we came into office in 2011, the total numbers of unemployment in the country stood at 35% and we considered that as unacceptable and in response! we launched a number of initiatives which included the YOUWiN to provide jobs for our citizens.
"The YOUWiN Programme is unique in the sense that it depends on Nigerian youths to create jobs for other Nigerian youths."
The YOUWIN Programme supports enterprising young men and women to establish their own businesses that will enable them employ others.
The President stated that this is a clear attestation that Nigeria is gradually creating a strong middle class.
"They are quite encouraging and confirm that Nigeria has great youth from interior decoration, through to chemical engineering, ICT and elders electrical engineering, we are all fascinated and we believe that Nigerian youths are taking this country to a great height.
"The products and services on display here can compete with the best in the world, will not only support our domestic needs but they are also potentially export revenue drive for this country," he said.
Reiterating his administration's resolve to end godfatherism in the country, the President noted that beneficiaries have testified that they received the awards without knowing anybody and assured that the project will continue to maintain its objective approach to selecting beneficiaries, adding that " there will be no fatherism in the project"
He further disclosed that the 3rd phase of the project will further provide jobs for another 3600 young Nigerian entrepreneurs and tens of thousand jobs.
He added that this third Phase will allow Nigerians who fall within the range of 18-48 to apply.
The President also used the opportunity to appeal to multi national conglomerates operating in Nigeria and banks as well ask other related institutions to assist government in providing the much needed funds for the enterprising youths.
He also encouraged state government and other stakeholders to join hands and build on the gains of the programme.
In her remarks the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala noted that many of the young Nigerian Awardees have proven that with the right business climate and environment they can excel.
The Minister of Communication and Technology, Mrs Mobolaji-Johnson in her remarks announced that the YOUWIN website will be open Monday for the commencement of applications for the third phase of the YOUWIN programme.