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Kickstart Initiative Empowers Young Entrepreneurs With Over N100,000m Grants.

 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 Corporate Social Responsibility CSR) arm of International Breweries Plc, a part of AB InBev gave out grants totalling N60 million cash to 50 young entrepreneurs across Nigeria as well as training, mentoring and ancillary costs worth another N40 million 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. 

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With agriculture, circular packaging (recycling), water stewardship, renewable energy, retailing and others as this year’s focus areas, individual winners received grants ranging from N400,000 to N3 million, and for the first time, the people living with disabilities category was introduced to the list of awardees. 

Hugo Rocha, the Managing Director, International Breweries Plc, in his welcome address, said the Kickstart initiative was 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. 

He explained that in the past six years, the foundation had awarded close to 400 million in grants to about 800 beneficiaries and trained close to 1,200 youths on entrepreneurship skills. 

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Mr. Peter Bamkole, Advisory Board Chairman, International Breweries Foundation, 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. 

“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. 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,” he said. 

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An elated Olatubosun Abiodun, a circular packaging entrepreneur who received the grand award of N3 million said he would use the grant and training to improve his business, hire more staff and contribute to achieving a cleaner environment. 

Mrs. Olajumoke Adenowo, Principal Consultant, AD Consulting and Keynote Speaker at the event, noted that the best time to explore entrepreneurship was at the young age. 

He said this afforded individuals the opportunity to channel all their creativity and energy into building something remarkable, without the distractions that come with age. 

Source: independent.ng

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