Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa has given starter-packs to some Deltans in keeping to his promise of empowering beneficiaries of the state’s job and wealth creation programme- Skill Training Enterpreneurship Programme (STEP).
This development has elicited reactions from the beneficiaries and their families, as they expressed joy and commended the state government.
One of the beneficiaries, Favour Oseoghene Dennis, from Isoko South local government area of the state, said the empowerment pack would enable her start her fashion and textile design enterprise.
Just like her colleagues, she received the following as starter pack: one industrial sewing machine, one industrial weaving machine, a generator, a cutting table, one electric iron and ₦96,000.00 micro credit to enable her pay for her shop in Ughelli, her choice location for the business.
As the items were presented to her in Asaba, her mother, Oletu Ewoma, threw caution to the wind as she danced round joyously in appreciation of what the state government has done and for the opportunity given to her daughter.
“I am dancing because I did not expect this kind of starter-pack for my daughter. I did not have money to train her in school. I would not have been able to buy all these for her. God has used Governor Okowa to establish her.
As her mother, I will guide her to ensure that she applies the knowledge acquired and these items to improve herself and that of our family,” she enthused.
Another beneficiary, Kelvin Athora from Udu local government, trained in audiovisual and photography under the Green STEP, expressed gratitude to the state government for the opportunity, affirming that the starter-pack would help him to earn a living and to train other youths.
Akpduado Glory, from Ughelli South, trained in fashion and textile design said she worked as a sales girl because her parents had no money to establish her in the fashion business after her training.
She exclaimed she was relieved of her worry when she got engaged in the programme and resumed training January this year as a Brown STEP trainee.
On and on the commendations rolled as all the 107 STEP graduates received their starter-packs, bringing to 219, the total number of STEPreneurs so far established in the 2019/2020 programme cycle of job and wealth creation programme.
In line with COVID-19 prevention guidelines, they were categorised into groups of not twenty persons and scheduled to receive their starter packs either in the.morning.pr afternoon sessions in Asaba.
This was after they had completed their three or four months under the Green STEP and Brown STEP categories respectively, and the starter-packs presentation lasted for three days, from Wednesday, July 22.
The chief job and wealth creation officer, Eric Eboh, a professor, congratulated the graduands for completing the training successfully, considering how challenging it was for them to go through the various activities in the programme such as the orientation and personal effectiveness training; hands-on training; completion proficiency test and the entrepreneurship and business management training.
Represented by the coordinator of STEP, Onyeisi Nkenchor, Eboh stated that their ability to complete the training successfully in spite of the coronavirus pandemic was occasioned by the state government’s commitment to improving the state economy through entrepreneurship development and their willingness to be trained.
“Despite the harsh economic realities in the state due to the coronavirus pandemic, the governor has kept to his promise of establishing them with starter packs.
“More than 95 percent of you were successful in the completion proficiency test which was a clear indication that you participated actively during training.
Today 107 of you are being established in fashion and textile design; audio visual and photography; hairdressing, makeover and braiding,” he noted.
He disclosed that the starter-pack component was a grant while the shop rent is a microcredit with a six months moratorium payable within 24 months, adding that it was structured in such a way that the loan could easily be repaid.
While advising them to take their businesses seriously and to maximise the opportunity to reduce the unemployment rate in the state, he urged them to keep in touch with the job creation office always.
It would be recalled that the state government’s Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP) and the Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP) have in the past five years engaged over 5,000 Delta youths.