At least 490 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have won varying amounts of non-interest loans under the Kwara State social investment programme to grow their enterprises.
The 490 young business owners got between N1.5m and N2m each at a symbolic ceremony on Tuesday in Ilorin, the state capital, where Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq handed them the cheques.
The 10 main winners, who pitched different business ideas ranging from printing, fashion, waste recycling, and agriculture value chains, were Hussein Ahmed (N1.5m); Azeez Akeem (N1.5m); Soliu Lanre (N2m); Oladunni Olaide (N2m); Femi Peter (N1.5m); Sanusi Adeshina (N2m); Ali Michael (N2m); Kareem Naimat (N2m); Adebayo Tinuola (N1.5), and Abdulrauf Abdulraheem (N1.5m).
The winners emerged from a process involving 15,708 applicants following different layers of screening by jurors drawn from among private sector and public service top players.
The interest-free loans were given through Kwapreneur 3.0, a third in the series of the youth-focused initiative of the AbdulRazaq administration to support young people to thrive.
AbdulRazaq said: “This is another success story and a boost for small scale businesses in the state. Our administration will not relent in making Kwara State a better place to live and invest.”
Director General of Kwara State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP), Abdulquowiy Olododo, said: “Kwapreneur is a non-interest loan scheme that is designed for young entrepreneurs in Kwara State to support new young businesses and help existing businesses to expand. The overall objective of the scheme is to ensure we encourage youth entrepreneurship to create the next generation of Job creators to see that Kwara State becomes a business-driven economy.
“Series of stages have been passed in screening the applications we received based on key criteria to determine the final beneficiaries for Kwapreneur 3.0.
“It is also interesting to know that as we have witnessed a significant increase in the number of applications is the same way we have seen a substantial increase in the number of beneficiaries for Kwapreneur 3.0, with a total number of 490 beneficiaries, compared to the 170 and 100 beneficiaries in Kwapreneur 1.0 and 2.0 respectively.”
Courage Balogun, one of the beneficiaries of Kwapreneur 1.0, who gave a goodwill message, described Governor AbdulRazaq as a lover of the youths, testifying that the governor’s passion for Kwarans, particularly young entrepreneurs, transcends religious, ethnic and political boundaries.