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US Consulate supports 30 emerging fashion entrepreneurs

The US Consulate, Lagos, has launched the third cohort of the Field of Skills and Dreams (VTE) Academy’s Fashion Entrepreneurship Programme for 30 emerging fashion designers in the Niger Delta region.

The gesture has come as part of the US government’s commitment to bolster sustainable economic growth in Nigeria.

Delivering a remark at the opening ceremony of the workshop at the American Corner in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Friday,  US Consulate Deputy Public Affairs Officer, Jennifer Foltz highlighted the role of entrepreneurship as the key driver of sustainable economic growth.

Ms Foltz said  The goal of the 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,” Ms 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.”

Programme implementing partner, Omowale Ogunrinde, urged the participants to direct their passion, imagination, skills and ingenuity towards making a mark on the Nigerian fashion industry. 

“Succeeding in the fashion industry takes a lot more than passion and creativity,” he said.

“You have to be able to think like an entrepreneur. Through the support of the US 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,” Mr Ogunrinde, an alumna of the US government-sponsored International Visitors Leadership Programme, added. 

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.

Ms Inyang explained that she had already 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,” she added. 

Over the last six months, some 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 US 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.

Reporting by Omolara Omosanya; Editing by Daniel Adejo and Tony Okerafor