Government dignitaries, heads of agencies, and captains of industries were in attendance at the sixth edition of the youth enterprise empowerment scheme, Kickstart Initiative Awards Ceremony which held in Lagos recently.
The corporate social investment scheme initiated by the International Breweries Foundation, the CSR arm of International Breweries Plc, a proud part of the world’s largest brewers - AB InBev gave out grants totalling 60 million naira cash to 50 young entrepreneurs across Nigeria as well as training, mentoring and ancillary costs worth another 40 million naira 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.
With agriculture, circular packaging (recycling), water stewardship, renewable energy, retailing and others as this year’s focus areas, individual winners received grants ranging from 400,000 naira to 3 million naira, and for the first time, the people living with disabilities category was introduced to the list of awardees.
In his welcome address, Managing Director, International Breweries Plc, 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”.
L-R: Senior Institution Funding Adviser West Africa, Sightsaver, Jumoke Alagbe; 2021 IBPLC Kickstart Entrepreneurship Awards winner, Isaiah Daniel; People Director, International Breweries Plc, Marilyn Maduka and 2021 IBPLC Kickstart Entrepreneurship Awards winner, Abayomi Soetan at the 6th International Breweries PLC Kickstart Entrepreneurship Awards held in Lagos.
Continuing, Rocha said, “in the past six years, our Foundation has awarded close to 400 million Naira (N400m) 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.
According to Bamkole, “Kickstart Initiative is committed to empowering youths within the age bracket of 18 to 35 years to be productive, independent and, more importantly, successful employers of labour.
L-R: Her Excellency, the First Lady of Ogun State, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun; Lagos State Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Hon. (Mrs) Yetunde Arobieke; MD/CEO, International Breweries PLC (IBPLC), Hugo Dias Rocha and Principal Consultant, AD Consulting and Keynote Speaker, Olajumoke Adenowo at the 6th International Breweries PLC Kickstart Entrepreneurship Awards held in Lagos.
To ensure this happens, we do not leave them to wander off on their own after the programme because we recognise the vital role of mentorship in business. We assign mentors to guide them on their entrepreneurship journey and help them navigate the pitfalls in business.”
An elated Olatubosun Abiodun, a circular packaging entrepreneur who received the grand award of three million naira (N3M) said, “I will use the grant and training to improve my business, hire more staff and contribute to achieving a cleaner environment. I cannot appreciate the Kickstart initiative and International Breweries Plc enough for this gesture.”
L-R: Honourable Member, Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon. Noble Igwe; MD/CEO, International Breweries PLC (IBPLC), Hugo Dias Rocha; Her Excellency, the First Lady of Ogun State, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun; 2021 IBPLC Kickstart Entrepreneurship Awards Grand Prize winner, Olatubosun Abiodun; Chairman Advisory Board, International Breweries Foundation, Mr Peter Bamkole; CEO/Co-Founder, So Fresh, Olagoke Balogun and Legal & Corporate Affairs Director, IBPLC, Mrs Temitope Oguntokun, at the 6th International Breweries PLC Kickstart Entrepreneurship Awards held in Lagos.
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.
While appreciating the Kickstart Initiative, she said, “What I see here is that we have looked at a problem and decided to fix that problem and not just turn and abandon it. We need more initiatives like this that provides jobs for the youths and other companies need to borrow a leaf from International Breweries Plc.”
L-R: Bruno Zambrano, Finance Director, International Breweries PLC (IBPLC); 2021 IBPLC Kickstart Entrepreneurship Awards winner, Stella Chimenem-Amadi and Marketing Director, International Breweries Plc, Tolulope Adedeji, at the 6th International Breweries PLC Kickstart Entrepreneurship Awards held in Lagos.
Another awardee, Abayomi Soetan, CEO, Wheelchair Dreemz, said “I am happy to be receiving the needed support as I now know how to pitch my business. The grant is a new lease of life for my business, and I thank International Breweries Plc for their generosity.”
Legal & Corporate Affairs Director, International Breweries Plc, Temitope Oguntokun acknowledged the Small and Medium Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) as well as communities in ensuring the success of this year’s Kickstart Awards Ceremony. “We are happy about the cutting-edge creativity passionately delivered by some of our country’s brightest young people who will support Nigeria in driving economic development on the back of transformational entrepreneurship. We are also excited about our contribution to the lives of 463 youths from all the six-geopolitical zones and 23 states across Nigeria who have been upskilled in training in partnership with the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC).
5G: Nigerian government expresses excitement about smart cities, self-driving cars coming into Nigeria
Lagos State Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Honorable Yetunde Arobieke lauded Kickstart’s commitment to empowering tomorrow’s business leaders. According to her, “Kickstart initiative is countering the propensity for the youths to engage in criminal activities. Today, we have a lot of young men and women who are into advanced fee fraud and other unwholesome activities which is why I am impressed to see young people participating in Kickstart owning their own business in their drive to be law-abiding citizens and leaders of tomorrow.”
On her part, Wife of the Executive Governor of Ogun State, Her Excellency, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun, expressed delight at the model and impact of the Kickstart programme. According to her, “I chose to be here for the Kickstart event because it is an initiative I appreciate. Youth empowerment is crucial to the growth and progress of any country and I urge beneficiaries of this programme to make the best use of the opportunity they have been provided.”