Entrepreneurship programme designed to provide skills for youths in Akwa Ibom has started with a target of 250 persons. The commencement of My Entrepreneurship Goal Programme (MEGP) was announced by Governor Udom Emmanuel in response to the EndSARS protest in the state. Speaking on the commencement of the programme on Friday in Uyo, Governor Udom Emmanuel's aide on marketing and brand management, Mr Ime Uwah, said the first and second batches of the programme had 187 participants, while the third is targeting 250 youths. Uwah explained that the programme does not provide funding or star-tup capital for participants but budget base assistance like the registration of existing businesses, access to grants and payment for specific skills acquisition, among others. He stated that MEGP was only for youths with existing businesses that is about two years old, adding that the process of registration and selection for the programme was transparent. He advised interested youths to apply online using the link provided, saying the programme which was done on quarterly basis was stalled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He revealed that the proposed training for 3,000 youths in each of the three senatorial districts in the state per quarter was yet to commence, adding that the training is to be handled by the Ministry of Trade and Investment. "The Ibom 3000 have not started. It is with the Ministry of Trade and Investment. "What we do as the director, marketing and brand management is the eligibility programme. The entrepreneurship programme has started and we are in the second week now. "My Entrepreneurship Gold Programme is targeting 250 participants. We did a prequalification interview. We look at people with existing businesses and also start-up. By start-up we mean a year to two years, not at ideation level. That's what we look out for during the pre-qualification interview. "The process is transparent and there's a link online people can access; apply online and you'll be called for the interview. During the interview, the things we look out for is to know that you're in business and it has been there for a year or two. "Our programme does not provide funding or start-up capital like that, we provide budget base assistance. In terms of funding, we assist; we provide information on available funds. We provide information through our network. "For the two batches that we've done, we have a network of all the participants and these ones are going to be part of that network now. "We pay to provide specific skills acquisition. Now is a basic entrepreneurial education. There're some people that would want to go into creative art or ICT in case of web design, we have to pay for that specific skill that is required. "This is the third batch which is 250 while the first and second batch we've done about 187. We do it every quarter and we're supposed to do it in second quarter of this year but because of C ovid-19 we were not able to do it. "That's why we are doing it this last quarter and we will do it second and third quarter of 2021, so it is a continuous programme, he stated.