Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
No fewer than 44 budding entrepreneurs received the sum of N84.5 million business grant at the third edition of International Breweries (IB PLC) Hero’s Foundation Kickstart Programme Awards that held, on Tuesday, at Onitsha, Anambra State.
The winners were selected among the 120 successful participants who were invited to a rigorous one-week business training at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Business School, in Awka, after which they submitted their business proposals.
The proposals were scrutinised based on the strength and sustainability of their business ideas by a team of judges led by Prof. Chukwuma Osisioma who carefully selected the final winners of the programme.
Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, in his address, thanked International Breweries Plc for continuing to train, empower and encourage young entrepreneurs in the country, saying that the state created a ministry of youths and wealth creation to empower the youths in their various chosen areas for the reduction of unemployment.
Governor Obiano, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Nkem Okeke, said that successful entrepreneurs were not born but they were created through wonderful initiatives like this one.
“We expect that you hit the ground running and proceed to build profitable businesses with the excellent business training, funds and mentorship you have received.
“The Hero’s Foundation has taken upon itself the mission to instill the culture of entrepreneurship in our youth by empowering them with much-needed training and funds to start-up new businesses or expand already existing ones.
“This brilliant purpose has pleased the governor, as well as fellow members of his administration because bridging the gap between the youth and productivity is a project we embark on with sincere passion,” Okeke said.
Chairman of the Foundation and Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe, while welcoming guests to the ceremony, expressed joy that the Foundation was able to run another successful Hero’s Foundation Kickstart programme which he said succeeded in reducing crimes and criminality as well as drug addiction by the idle youths on the streets.
He urged all the awardees to use their business grants and all they have learned during the business training to create value for themselves and the society.
In his words, “I urge you all to absorb everything you have learned during the business training and apply them to your businesses as you move forward.
“Running businesses is not for the faint-hearted, especially in Nigeria. I urge you all to keep pushing, do not relent make the most of this amazing opportunity you have been gifted to create value for yourself and for the society.”
The Hero’s Foundation Kickstart programme is a Corporate Social Investment (CSI) of International Breweries Plc aimed at instilling a culture of entrepreneurship among Nigerian youths.
The programme kicked off in 2016 with the five core eastern states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo but it has since expanded to include Benue, Edo and Delta State. This year, the programme further cast its net to include youths in Bayelsa and Rivers states.