June 23, 2024

Enhancing development through empowerment of 800 entrepreneurs in A’Ibom

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Enhancing development through empowerment of 800 entrepreneurs in A'Ibom

As a deliberate act to ensure the development of Akwa Ibom and reduce poverty, Gov. Umo Eno recently presented cheques of N500,000 to 800 entrepreneurs to boost their businesses and improve the state economy.

Eno, who comes from an entrepreneurship background believes that empowering the private sector is the surest way to develop the economy and empower its citizens.

Giving out N500,000 to 800 small businessmen equals N400 million investment to enhance the state economy is part of the governor’s campaign promises to Akwa Ibom people.

Eno, during electioneering campaigns, had promised the Akwa Ibom business community that he would certainly encourage them to do their business without raising capital.

The governor had earlier established Ibom Led as an incubator to train young businessmen on the techniques of doing business successfully.

The governor also prepared the young entrepreneurs by allowing the Bank of Industry (BOI) to establish a new branch in Uyo with an equity contribution of N2 billion to keep their system buoyant for credit facilities to other investors.

However, in two batches, 800 young business entrepreneurs were churned out as ambassadors of the government in the ARISE agenda to put the state in the right footings for small-scale businessmen as a pivot micro index for economic development.

While presenting the cheques, the Governor congratulated the beneficiaries for successfully going through the programme and described them as Ambassadors of the Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme, (EAP).

“I like to say here that whether this programme will continue or not depends on you because you are the ambassadors of this programme.

“You are not all new in businesses or entrepreneurship. I am not concerned about the little seed that’ll be put in your hands, but the training you’ve received.

“The state governor while taking them through some business tips, said, “Everything you need to succeed is in your hands. For now, don’t be politicians, just be entrepreneurs. This is an opportunity for you to have a primary address. If you have a primary address, politics is secondary.

“People will respect you for what you can do. This little money is a seed and if you plant it well, it will bring a mighty harvest.

“I remember that, in this state, I opened my hotel with just five rooms, and a few years later, we had grown exponentially.

“The first thing is that you must make up your mind to succeed and, in that determination, there will be a place of sacrifice and self-denial.

“People will tell you all things, don’t mind them. Your time will soon arrive. Above all, this community has been created; stay around the community and don’t try to impress people.”

In her keynote address, during the presentation of cheques, the Head of the Alumni Directorate and Support Services of Enterprise Development Center at the Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos, Ms Nnena Ugwu, advised the beneficiaries to cultivate the culture of discipline, commitment and focus to enable them to succeed in their different business ventures.

One of the beneficiaries of the N400 million business grant to entrepreneurs, Jones Okon Akpan, a person living with a disability was highly grateful to the governor and promised to make judicious use of the grant.

Akpan, who is into shoe manufacturing sees an opportunity in his in disability.

Akpan, who crawled to receive his cheque from the governor during the presentation of cheques, caught the attention of the guests at the ceremony, who donated an extra N1 million to assist him in his shoe-making business.

The Special Assistant to the Governor on Research and Documentation, Dr Essien Ndueso during the graduation of the young entrepreneurs charged them to translate skills and knowledge acquired during their three months’ training into their businesses for the success of the vision of the present administration in the state.

The governor had assembled 470 business owners across 31 local government areas in the state for three months of intensive training on various rudiments of business as a means to kickstart entrepreneurship development in the state.

The governor’s aide said such a gesture of the governor will reduce the burden of unemployment, and poverty and promote the economy.

Some of the participants said courses in the three-month training include; Business Development, Business Etiquette, Legal and Regulatory compliance in business dealings as well as Networking and Collaboration.

Others include Digital Tools, Personal Finance Planning, Sales and Marketing Strategies, Access to business funding, Pitching and presentation skills.

“With N500,000 business grants, some of us who had business already on ground will invest more in our businesses.

“We would also have access to Bank of Industry loans as Governor Umo Eno has given N2 billion for the bank to take off in the state.

“I have learnt more about uninformed business decisions that made me lose money in millions in the past.

“I have learned more about record keeping in business.

“The Ibom-LED success story is a stark reminder of how long the road towards building a new crop of young Akwa Ibom entrepreneurs is but how necessary it must be that as a government and a people we travel it, especially as the state is blessed with a generation of young, industrious, hard-working, creative, talented and passionate youth desirous of creating small businesses but lack seed capital, training and access to market and network.”

An American Scholar, George Gant in his, ‘Development Administration: Concepts, Goals and Methods’ opined that development must begin with human beings to take care of infrastructure, that’s what Eno is doing in Akwa Ibom by empowering young entrepreneurs to develop the state and boost the economy.

We hope that the beneficiaries of the N500,000 grant will properly manage the fund, and soon produce young millionaires in Akwa Ibom.

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