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Norrenberger launches N500m entrepreneurship fund for Nigerian startups

Norrenberger Pensions grows assets by 17%, contributors, by 5%

Norrenberger, an integrated financial services group has unveiled its entrepreneurship fund, targeting 5,000 youths with a N500 million start-up grant.

Tony Edeh, managing director, Norrenberger who disclosed this during the entrepreneurship fund symposium, in Abuja on Thursday, said that the program is aimed to empower young graduates while reducing unemployment, creating wealth, and ensuring national security.

According to Edeh, most entrepreneurs fail in businesses due to funding challenges, knowledge gaps, and product/market dislocation.

He said, “We know that funding accounts for 40 percent of why entrepreneurs fail, there’s also a knowledge gap which accounts for about 20 percent and product/market dislocation, whereby you want to produce a product that the market does not need. This accounts for 40 percent of failed entrepreneurs.

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“So the only way we can contribute our quota towards eradicating insecurity, and instability is for us to empower our youths, when we empower them, we empower the private sector and when we empower the private sector we empower Nigeria’s ability to create jobs not just for the young, but for all.”

Speaking further, Edeh explained that the company has continued to collaborate with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to identify youths with bankable business ideas, adding that three candidates with the best ideas will be selected in this batch of the program.

“The reason why we are starting with corp members is that we feel that part of the foundation has been made while they were in school. And so what we want to do is to empower them to rejig their innovative spirit and to enhance their ability to compete in the marketplace. Overall, we feel strongly that if we do these things, it will help reduce unemployment, create wealth, and ensure security for ourselves.”

Read also: Norrenberger supports retirees’ plan for financial security

In her remarks, Phala Vanessa, Nigeria country director, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said that one of the core objectives of the United Nations was to promote the creation of decent jobs for citizens.

She explained that many small businesses are struggling with poor access to funding, meanwhile, there are quite diverse ranges of funding opportunities ranging from government grants, to venture capital, angel investors, invest investors, crowdfunding platforms, business incubators, and accelerators and also some competition that are specifically targeted to entrepreneurs.

“The challenge is that they are operating in an informal sector. Where there are several decent work deficits and opportunities to access businesses to access funding to access markets have always not been available to them. That is why we are making a very conscious decision to expand and work with women entrepreneurs in the informal sector and begin to see how we draw them into the formal sector so that they can be able to enjoy many of these decent work opportunities that exist.

Read also: Norrenberger makes inroad into Nigeria’s insurance, pension sectors

“Now in terms of funding opportunities. I mean, securing funding is also a very competitive intervention and also time-consuming. So for entrepreneurs, one needs to dedicate sufficient time to understand what is available, and what opportunities are out there. You need to research, you need to investigate because most of the information is now available online.

For Ibrahim Aliyu Bala, chairman, board of directors, Norrenberger, promoting entrepreneurship is a vital tool and driving force behind economic growth and societal transformation. He said it represents the spirit of audacity, the courage to question the status quo, and the relentless pursuit of solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.

“The path of entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart, but it is a path that can lead to extraordinary fulfilment and impact. As we set sail on this journey together, let us remember that the true measure of our success will not be the profits we accumulate, but the lives we touch and the positive change we bring to the world,” he said.