International Breweries Foundation has given out a combined sum of N60 million as seed capital to 50 promising entrepreneurs in line with its commitment to empowering Nigerian youths to be self-sufficient and employers of labour through its Kickstart initiative.
The Foundation, which is the corporate social responsibility (CSR) arm of International Breweries Plc (IBPlc), also trained about 330 young entrepreneurs by taking them through rigorous business training, mentorship, and the provision of grants.
Speaking at the eighth edition of the initiative held in Lagos recently, Carlos Coutino, managing director of International Breweries Plc, said the Kickstart Initiative has been a beacon of hope, touching countless lives through its commitment to successfully help young Nigerians navigate the entrepreneurship journey.
He said the initiative has contributed significantly to transforming the landscape of Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.
According to him, young business-minded men and women who have been empowered with knowledge through training will also be mentored by some of the best minds in the entrepreneurship space while the grant they will receive will serve as seed money for their businesses.
Peter Bamkole, chairman advisory board of the International Breweries Foundation, said the foundation remains unwavering in its commitment to youth empowerment in Nigeria.
Bamkole said Kickstart has remained steadfast in its mission of empowering young entrepreneurs as 330 selected applicants were given entrepreneurship training in a partnership between IBPLC and the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC).
This, he said, was followed by a further shortlist of 73 youths trained during an intensive two-day boot camp in various entrepreneurship skills before proceeding to participate in a competitive pitch for grants which informed the selection of the final awardees.
On her part, Temitope Oguntokun, legal and corporate affairs director of International Breweries Plc, listed the positive impact of the programme to include the award of grants to 425 young entrepreneurs, the empowerment of over 2,000 direct beneficiaries and over 3,000 indirect beneficiaries, the creation of 672 jobs, and an investment exceeding N600 million in over eight years.
Paul Onwuanibe, chief executive officer/ founder of Landmark Group, took the awardees through critical business case studies.
Onwuanibe encouraged young entrepreneurs to be persistent in order to succeed in business, adding that as an entrepreneur, they need to work hard, demonstrate resilience, and surround themselves with the right people in the pursuit of their goals.
Atsegha Vesega, a Benue State indigene and Kaduna-based entrepreneur, who emerged as the grand prize winner of N3 million, expressed profound gratitude to IBPLC and the International Breweries Foundation for the Kickstart platform.
“My company, Ralph Green and Grow Service Ltd sources biodegradable palm wastes from local farmers and converts the waste into nutrient-rich organic fertilizers which we sell back to the farmers. I can’t even describe how happy I feel to be the grand prize winner,” Vesega said.
Babatunde Adebayo, the 2022 winner, who runs Eco-circular Solution Limited, and the 2017 winner, Olanrewaju Faleye, owner of Olanreforward Foods, both shared their growth stories after receiving training, mentorship and the grant.
Helped by the grant he received, Babatunde upgraded to modern equipment and currently employs nine staff while Olanrewaju explained that his business generates annual revenue of over N50 million.