Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
As many as 20 intending entrepreneurs were empowered with trade tools and cash recently when a non-governmental organisation, Al Nusi Imran Foundation, organised its quarterly empowerment scheme.
Though it is an Islamic organisation, the foundation has continued to empower entrepreneurs, irrespective of their religious beliefs, within and beyond its base in Ogun State.
The promoter of the foundation, who is the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure in the state, Olamilekan Adegbite, had clearly stated that the outfit, established in memory of his late parents, was solely meant to uplift scores of entrepreneurs and artisans in their chosen businesses. He added that religion would not be a condition to be a beneficiary. The criteria would be sincere determination and proof of commitment to building a particular business or trade, Adegbite said.
At the first edition of the empowerment scheme for the 2019 edition, held at the corporate head office of the foundation in Abeokuta, tools and equipment such as sewing machines, deep freezers, bags of rice, laptops and computer accessories, motorcycle spare parts, wooden doors, barbing and cobbler equipment, welding and grinding machines as well as industrial machines were given out to the beneficiaries.
Apart from the tools, cheques were issued to some entrepreneurs to boost their trades.
While expatiating on the rationale behind the empowerment scheme of Al Nusi Imran Foundation, the secretary of the board of trustees of the outfit, Suleiman Fasasi, said the scheme was meant to bring succour to traders and artisans by providing tools to enable them do their jobs and earn a living.
He added that the promoter of the foundation decided to embark on the scheme to discourage begging and loitering around offices of political office holders for pittances that can’t solve their financial challenges.
Fasasi stated further that apart from purchasing equipment for artisans and other trade tools, beneficiaries are also monitored to ensure they sincerely engage in their businesses. He, however, said the foundation rarely gives out cash to beneficiaries as a result of past experiences whereby some beneficiaries spent hundreds of thousands of naira on frivolities.
He pledged that the foundation’s promoter would continue with the empowerment scheme after his tenure as commissioner, noting that Adegbite had started the scheme before he got into political office.
In his admonition at the event, chairman of the foundation BoT, Iliyas Banmeke, told the beneficiaries to make judicious use of their tools, which according to him, cost millions of naira.
Banmeke, a retired Permanent Secretary from the state civil service, reminded the beneficiaries to work diligently and have the mindset of empowering others in the society. He equally urged them, particularly the women, to avoid squandering their money on social engagements.
Also counselling the empowered entrepreneurs, a member of the BoT, Adebayo Azeez, noted that wealth creation in the society starts from the entrepreneurial capacity of individuals and urged the empowered entrepreneurs to strive and grow and sustain their going concerns.
While commending the vision of the promoter, Azeez pointed out that both Islam and Christianity abhor idleness and alms begging, calling on other well-to-do Nigerians to put similar schemes in place to help fledgling entrepreneurs in the country.
A beneficiary, Adeyinka Halima, commended the foundation for its consistent efforts to lift people out of poverty. She said the industrial and sewing machines given her would go a long way to enhance her business.
Another beneficiary, Ogunrinde Moses Iyanuoluwa, said the laptop computer and phone accessories donated to him would boost his phone and computer repair work. He added that he decided to venture into his line of business because he wanted to be self employed and also train other young school leavers.
For Oluwakemi Akanji, the new deep freezer and bottle of drinks bought for her by the foundation was a dream come true. She explained further that her shop was stocked with assorted non alcoholic beverages, which according to her would increase her sales and profit margin.
Saheed Asubiojo, who got welding and grinding machines, said: “This equipment is like my passport to economic emancipation.”