Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has lauded International Breweries Foundation, the social investment vehicle of International Breweries Plc, for awarding grants of over N73 million to 90 deserving young entrepreneurs through its Kickstart initiative.
The vice president, who was represented by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, said the initiative was a commendable one that can be replicated by other private sector players to augment government’s empowerment programmes to help reduce unemployment and empower Nigerians economically. According to him government can take key learnings from the way Kickstart is structured, which ensures integrity of the programme.
Delivering his address at the event, Osinbajo said: “The very thorough process by which Kickstart selects its heroes, beneficiaries, the training, the bootcamp, and mentorship are all very commendable and it is something we as government can learn from when we open it up to genuine beneficiaries.”
In his speech, Chairman of the Advisory Board of International Breweries Foundation, Peter Bamkole, said, “Indeed, we envision the initiative as the nursery of innovation in business, where we plant, nurture and transfer by way of training, granting and mentoring. We are optimistic that every successful beneficiary will pull others out of unemployment because every job they create will take about three other people out of the job market.”
Bamkole said the 2019 Kickstart, which was pan-Nigeria, has revealed the hunger for a national programme as applications were received from all 36 states and the FCT. He added that the acceptance “has reinforced our belief in the potential of Kickstart to impact and influence the youth population in the country.”
In his presentation, entitled Harnessing the Potential of the Youth for National Development through Innovation, Employability and Social Investment, Professor Kingsley Moghalu, while commending International Breweries for such an impactful initiative as Kickstart, noted that indeed the nation must begin to invest in its youth in the areas of education, skills acquisition, vocational training, as well as encouraging science and technology if the country must achieve sustainable growth and development. Moghalu further recommended that “we can replicate the Kickstart programme on a very large basis, we can work with the private sector in doing that”.
The beneficiaries were effusive in their praise of the Kickstart initiative. They particularly commended the integrity of the programme in picking candidates based on merit, the impactful training in the bootcamp, the one-year mentorship, and most importantly the grant. According to a beneficiary Aishatu Adekoya, who is into snail farming, “my Kickstart journey has been amazing and interesting. The training was intense and the coaches were amazing. I want to assure that I will use this grant to grow my business. I say a big thank you to Kickstart and thank you to International Breweries Foundation.”