IB Plc Empowers 50 Nigerian Entrepreneurs with N60m

THE International Breweries Foundation, the corporate social responsibility (CSR) arm of International Breweries Plc, has awarded a combined sum of N60 million to 50 promising entrepreneurs at the 8th edition of its renowned Kickstart Initiative.

This comes alongside the training of 330 young entrepreneurs by IB PLC during the same year.

The kickstart Initiative, designed to promote and empower Nigerian youths aged 18 to 35, encourages entrepreneurship through rigorous business training, mentorship and provision of grants.

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The event brought together individuals, industry leaders, top government officials and agencies, and an array of Nigerian youths.

Managing Director, International Breweries Plc, Carlos Coutino expressed the importance of the Kickstart Initiative to the organisation.

“The young, business-minded men and women who have been empowered with knowledge through the training they received are also going to be mentored by some of the best minds in the entrepreneurship space, and the grant they will receive will serve as seed money for their businesses. This makes me very proud,” Coutino said.

The Kickstart Initiative has been a beacon of hope, touching countless lives through its commitment to successfully helping young Nigerians navigate the entrepreneurship journey.

This, in turn, has contributed significantly to transforming the landscape of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.

Guest Speaker at the event, Mr Paul Onwuanibe, who is the Chief Executive Officer and founder of Landmark Group, took the Kickstart awardees through critical business case-studies from personal experience and those of entrepreneurs who had built global brands.

He encouraged the young entrepreneurs to be persistent in order to succeed in business.

His words: “As an entrepreneur, you need to work hard, demonstrate resilience, and surround yourself with the right people in the pursuit of your goals.”

In his remarks, the Chairman Advisory Board of International Breweries Foundation, Peter Bamkole, emphasized the foundation’s unwavering commitment to youth empowerment in Nigeria.

“Kickstart has remained steadfast in its mission to empower the leaders of tomorrow. 330 selected applicants of Kickstart received entrepreneurship training in a partnership between IB PLC and the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC); 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,” he noted.

The event celebrated the presentation of grants to 50 successful graduates, further expanding the ranks of empowered entrepreneurs who have benefited from the Kickstart Initiative.

Aside the Kickstart, International Breweries runs other empowerment platforms that support bridging the unemployment gap, such as the Retailer Development Programme which adopts a train-the-trainers approach to help retailers enhance their business acumen; the Technical Apprenticeship Programme to bridge the technical skills gap in the country and create a reliable and sustainable pipeline for critical positions within the technical functions, and Hero Igba Boi, which offers seed capital, mentorship, and business grants to apprentices who are in their final year of training.

The selected applicants of Kickstart received free training during a 2-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.

Legal and Corporate Affairs Director, International Breweries Plc, Temitope Oguntokun, reaffirmed the organisation’s commitment to Kickstart.

She highlighted the positive impact of the programme, including the award of grants to 425 young entrepreneurs, empowerment of over 2,000 direct beneficiaries and over 3,000 indirect beneficiaries, creation of 672 jobs, and an investment exceeding 600 million naira over eight years.

“The profound impact of our programme can be observed in the countless lives that have been touched by Kickstart. Beyond the confines of the Kickstart Initiative, our commitment to empowerment is woven into the fabric of International Breweries Plc as we remain unwavering in our commitment to nation-building through youth empowerment,” she said.

The Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Uzoka-Anite, who was represented by the Director, Industrial Development, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adewale Bakare, commended IBPLC for the life-changing initiative.

“I commend IB PLC for this initiative which has over time promoted creativity and entrepreneurship skills in our youth,” she said.

Ogun State First Lady, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun, who has been a consistent supporter of the Kickstart Initiative commended IB PLC for continuing its tradition of empowering Nigerian youths to become gainfully employed and self-sufficient.

According to her, youth empowerment was critical to nation building and government must continue to show support to organisations like IB PLC who had dedicated their resources to championing the cause of young people in the country.

Reiterating the agency’s commitment to the Kickstart Initiative, the Zonal Coordinator of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Bunmi Kole-Dawodu who represented the director-general, lauded IBPLC for its impactful initiative.

Benue State indigene and Kaduna-based Atsegha Vesega who emerged as the grand prize winner of 3 million Naira at the event, expressed profound gratitude to IB PLC 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.”

The 2022 winner, Babatunde Adebayo, 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 generated an annual revenue of over 50 million Naira.

The International Breweries Foundation collaborated with SMEDAN and EDC to facilitate crucial aspects of the Kickstart initiative, including training and boot camps.