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Awka: Friday, August 12, 2016;

SABMiller Hero Foundation has concluded the training of 120 young entrepreneurs drawn from the South-East geopolitical zone of Nigeria in the ongoing Kickstart programme, which is aimed at helping young people to imbibe the culture of entrepreneurship and build their businesses from idea to reality.

The five day intensive training workshop, which was held at the Chike Okoli Centre For Entrepreneurial Studies, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka Anambra state between August 8 and 12, focused on business idea/concept development, business growth, record keeping, financing and bridging finance gap for MSMEs/SMEs.  The modules of the training included Introduction to Entrepreneurship; Generating Business Ideas (Opportunities, Identification and Selection); Marketing Strategies; Financial Strategies; Organisational Strategies; Risk Analysis/Why Businesses Fail; Networking; and Coaching and Mentoring and How to write a Winning Business Plan.

The Director, Chike Okoli Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies, Prof. Ngozi E. Anyikwa, commended the SABMiller Hero’s Foundation for initiating the Kickstart programme, saying, “training exercise was designed to equip the participants with the needed skills and direction to profitably manage and expand their start-up enterprises within the local realities peculiar to their environs.”

The participants were also taught how to use the strengthened Credit Reporting System and the newly-established National Collateral Registry, in a presentation titled, ‘Addressing the SME Finance Gap: The Role of Financial Infrastructure.’ The National Collateral Registry (NCR) and Credit Reporting System were described as two basic financial infrastructures that will help to bridge the MSME finance gap. While the NCR enables MSMEs to access loan facilities with their movable assets, the CRS helps lenders assess the risk inherent in giving loans to MSMEs based on the credit report.

The Deputy Director and zonal Coordinator of South-East Operations for Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Mr. Levi Anyikwa, commended the participants for their robust contributions during the workshop. “They shared wonderful and practical ideas that will make good impact on the economy. With this training exercise, I see a lot of them running successful business enterprises,” Anyikwa said.

The participants commended the organisers for the initiatives and urge them to make the workshop an annual programme for youth development.

One of the participants, Cyril Chikwelu Odenigbo, described the training as “eye opener for the youth in the South East of Nigeria. We had awesome experience to take back home, we had quality resources persons with practical experience to share.” Another participant, Edom Thelma Chinemanu, described the programme as a good gesture from the SABMiller Hero’s Foundation. “I hope other companies will emulate them,” she said.

The Corporate Affairs Director of SABMiller Otunba Michael Daramola said the Hero’s Foundation’s commitment to youth development is unwavering and that the company will continue to support entrepreneurship among young people. He further said since the programme was officially launched in March, 2016, the Corporate Social Investment (CSI) initiative of Interfact Beverages Limited has received a lot of commendation from the state government, cultural organisational and trade groups. This, he said was a good motivation to do more.

Over 1700 applications were received from the five states in the zone proposing business ideas that span furniture, welding/fabrication, agriculture, video/photography/media, fine and visual arts, event planning, transportation, education, waste management etc.

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