BusinessDay

Foundation pledges N10m grant to support 100 micro businesses

To enhance entrepreneurship among Nigerians, the Gbenga Aiyeremi Foundation (GAF) has unveiled plans to support 100 worthy micro-businesses in the country with N100,000 grant each.

Speaking on the initiative, Gbenga Aiyeremi, the organisation’s founder, said as an entrepreneur who had bootstrapped many startups, nothing stresses an operator more than the lack of funds.

“Being our maiden edition, our budget, for now, can only support a provision of N100,000 for 100 entrepreneurs. We are focusing on micro-businesses, where we believe that such an amount will have the most impact. We hope to make this a yearly support for the ecosystem,” he said

“I strongly believe the success of this first edition will help attract more funds to support more entrepreneurs.”

Aiyeremi inaugurated the scheme as part of activities to mark his 40th birthday and years of working in the entrepreneurship space.

“I am starting the Gbenga Aiyeremi Foundation (www.gaf.ng) with the sole purpose of supporting micro-entrepreneurs in the form of grants, skill acquisition, and mentorship. All my adult years, I have always been an Entrepreneur. So, it has always been business for me. Hence it is a no-brainer that I want to dedicate the rest of my life to God and supporting thousands of entrepreneurs to become successful, ” he said.

According to him, contrary to the popular belief that the biggest challenge facing the Small Medium Scale Enterprise (SMEs) is finance, experience has shown that mentorship is as germane and important as finance to the success of small businesses.

On how beneficiaries of the fund would be picked, he said:” We have outsourced the selection processes to a foremost recruitment firm in Nigeria.

The main criterion is to look out for applicants that are able to demonstrate convincingly how N100, 000 will transform their micro-businesses. We will also be looking at the capabilities of the business owner.

Read also: FSI reiterates commitment to drive inclusive financial solutions for MSMEs

Those who would benefit from the initiative, he said include operators in branding, data science, graphics design, digital entrepreneurship, business analysis, strategic HR analytics and front-end web development.

Further, Aiyeremi lamented the unfriendly business environment in the country, adding that Nigeria occupying 131st position out of 190 countries ranked for ease of doing business says it all.

He urged the government to pay attention to the needs of the SME ecosystem as the small business sector is responsible for most of the economic success achieved by the developed nations of the world.

“It takes more than skills to survive in the unfriendly business environment of the country. If you are running a profitable business, then you are lucky.

Aiyeremi who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Workbay Technology, Nigeria and Canada, added that aspiring entrepreneurs need focus and tenacity of purpose to survive in the Nigerian environment.

“The journey to success is not a straight and smooth one. Your resolve will be tested on all fronts, so you must keep your eye on the ball and persistently determined to achieve that end goal” he said.