International Breweries Foundation through its youth enterprise empowerment scheme, Kickstart Initiative, has empowered young Nigerian entrepreneurs with N100 million.
The corporate social investment scheme initiated by the foundation, the CSR arm of International Breweries Plc, gave out grants totalling N60 million cash to 50 young entrepreneurs across Nigeria as well as training, mentoring and ancillary costs worth another N40 million to other teeming youths.
Kickstart Initiative empowers young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 and has been activated in the South-Western and South-Eastern parts of Nigeria since 2015 before evolving into a full-scale national programme in 2019.
The managing director, International Breweries, Hugo Rocha said: “for us, the Kickstart initiative is an avenue to bridge the unemployment gap by giving life to the dreams and aspirations of millions of bright and enterprising young people across Nigeria.”
According to Rocha, in the past six years, the foundation has awarded close to N400 million in grants to about 800 beneficiaries and trained close to 1,200 youths on entrepreneurship skills.
Advisory board chairman, International Breweries Foundation, Mr. Peter Bamkole, charged awardees to make good use of the training they received, work with their mentors, and judiciously channel the grant provided to grow their businesses.
An elated circular packaging entrepreneur, Olatubosun Abiodun, who received the grand award of N3 million said: “I will use the grant and training to improve my business, hire more staff and contribute to achieving a cleaner environment.”
Principal consultant, AD Consulting and keynote speaker at the event, Mrs. Olajumoke Adenowo, noted that, the best time to explore entrepreneurship is when one is young as it affords individuals the opportunity to channel all their creativity and energy into building something remarkable, without the distractions that come with age.
On her part, wife of the governor of Ogun State, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun, expressed delight at the model and impact of the kickstart programme.