By Favour Nnabugwu
Forty-eight members of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, won cash prizes totalling N16.5million in the Unity Bank’s business plan competition, Corpreneurship Challenge.
The winners emerged during the final business pitch of the contest, which took place simultaneously across four orientation camps in Lagos, Ogun, Edo, and FCT, according to a statement issued by the NYSC Director, Press and Public Relations, Mrs. Adenike Adeyemi.
The contestants’ business plans, which ranged from agriculture, craft and fashion design; education, to shoemaking, were assessed on originality, marketability, the future employability potential of the product and knowledge of the business.
Speaking during the a virtual interaction with the winners in Abuja, the Unity Bank’s Managing Director, Mrs Tomi Shomefun, said the competition was to encourage more youths with clear entrepreneurial intentions to expand or start profitable ventures.
She, however, revealed that the bank would expand the initiative to six more locations viz; Akwa-Ibom, Kano, Sokoto, Bayelsa, Enugu and Osun States.
According to her, “The grants are not a loan and we want the money to be directed towards profitable ventures. However, never despise the days of little beginning, but hope for greater heights. Take the seed grant that has been given to you to develop yourselves and the society”
Shomefun said, “We started Corpreneurship in 2019, with a launch in Lagos and in three other states which included Edo, Ogun, and Abuja. Today, we are expanding it to six additional locations; Akwa-Ibom, Kano, Sokoto, Bayelsa, Enugu and Osun States.”
In his remarks, the NYSC Director-General, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim, said the initiative would create opportunities for self employment and wealth creation and also reduce the increasing number of unemployed graduate youths.
He added that salaried jobs are scarcely available, urged the corps members to be determined, focused and avoid cutting corners.
Ibrahim further said, “My appeal to you is to be determined, remain focused and fan into flame the training that you have acquired for your empowerment, as it would later translate to societal development,” he said.
Also, the Director, Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development Programme, Mr Hilary Nasamu, advised the corps beneficiaries to adhere strictly to the template of their business proposals.
Nasamu said the scheme would continue to monitor their progress on a quarterly basis, urging them to strive to have two employees within the first eighteen months and four employees within the first two years.
“This is a grant without interest. You must continue to dedicate yourselves to this opportunity and don’t forget to seek experts’ advise at all times,” he added.