By Godfrey Ofurum
provides them with start-up kits to start their own businesses
A total of four-hundred and seventy-two (472) women and youths from five locations in Nigeria, namely, Lagos, Abuja, Ota, Kaduna and Aba, have benefitted from the 2022 edition of the Nigerian Breweries Plc Empowerment Programme.
The beneficiaries were trained in 20 skill areas, including fashion, hairdressing, cosmetology, baking, auto mechanic, barbing, shoe making and tiling and provided with start-up tools after the training.
Fifty out of the 472 participants, from Aba, who completed the 12 weeks training and acquired skills in one of the following vocations, namely fashion, hairdressing, cosmetology, baking, auto mechanic, barbing, shoemaking and tiling, were provided with start-up kits to start their own businesses.
The 50 beneficiaries in Aba were selected from Eziukwu, Obuda and Umunneoma communities.
Hans Essaadi, managing director/chief executive officer, Nigerian Breweries Plc, in a speech at the graduation ceremony, which held simultaneously in 6-locations, explained that the initiative drives home the firm’s corporate philosophy to Win with Nigeria, by supporting youths and women on their journey to entrepreneurship, employment generation and financial independence.
Represented at the Aba leg of the graduation ceremony, by Ayo Ajayi, manager, Aba Brewery of NB Plc, Essaadi, explained that the Nigerian Breweries Youth and Women Empowerment Programme commenced in 2019 with a pilot scheme in Awo-Omamma, “our brewery host community in Imo State.”
He stated that 105 youths were selected from the seven villages that make up the community were trained across five skill areas and equipped with start-up tools to commence their journey into entrepreneurship.
In 2020, he explained that the programme was expanded to four more brewery host communities, namely Ama in Enugu State, Kakuri in Kaduna State, Ota and Ijebu-Ode in Ogun State.
And a total of 347 persons benefited from the training and received start-up tools in their relevant fields of training.
He noted that the 2021 programme impacted 441 youths and women across 20 skill areas in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Kakuri in Kaduna State, Lagos State, Ibadan in Oyo State and Awo-Omamma in Imo State.
The programme was further expanded this year (2022) with 472 youths and women from six locations nationwide benefiting.
“Aba specifically graduated 50 participants who completed the 12 weeks of training and acquired skills in one of the following vocations: fashion training hairdressing, cosmetology, baking, auto mechanic, barbing, shoe making, and tiling.
He congratulated all the graduands and urged them to put all they have learnt to maximum use.
According to Essaadi, “Abia State is a hub of successful business across all known sectors. This is what our empowerment programme seeks to also achieve. It is our hope that the graduands from this programme will succeed as they commence their journey to financial independence and job creation”..
He thanked the host communities for giving his company the opportunity to give back to the people, who have supported them since they commenced operations 75 years ago.
Sade Morgan, corporate affairs director, NB Plc, advised the beneficiaries to follow in the footsteps of the 873 past graduates, who have benefitted from the programme and are now making a mark in their respective professions.
To the graduating set of 2022, she expressed delight that they believed in this programme and stayed committed till the end. “With your graduation today, the true test of your entrepreneurship begins as you head into a competitive Nigeria market,” Morgan said.
She urged them to be diligent and honourable in their dealings and build a strong network as that will lead to greater sales.
She also urged them to focus on quality and constantly try to learn new things to boost their businesses and more importantly, ensure that their finances are always kept in good order, as this will help their businesses to thrive.
Modestus Nwaulu, executive director, SEDAC Foundation, project implementing partner for the
Aba project, thanked Nigerian Breweries Plc for joining hands with the federal and state governments in reducing youth unemployment in Abia State and Nigeria.
He observed that the problem of youth unemployment is a major issue among African countries, especially Nigeria.
Quoting the National Bureau of Statistics, he said that the unemployment rate in Nigeria, during the reference period, Q4, 2020 was 33.3 percent, an increase from 27.1 percent recorded in Q2, 2020.
Also, for the period under review, Q4, 2020, the unemployment rate among young people (15-34 years) was 42.5 percent up from 34.9 percent.
He stated that these rates were the highest when compared to other age groupings, noting that solving the problem of youth unemployment is one that requires the effort of public, private and development partners.
“This is why we must thank Nigerian Breweries Plc for complimenting the effort of the federal and Abia State government in reducing youth unemployment in the state.
“Through Nigerian Breweries Plc Youth Empowerment Programme, thousands of young people have secured dignified employment across Nigeria,” he stated.
The Nigerian Breweries Plc Youth Empowerment Programme (NBPlc YEP) is a unique innovation of the Nigerian Breweries Plc in reducing youth unemployment, poverty and hunger in Nigeria.
The programme involves building the capacity of young people for sustainable livelihood and employment through entrepreneurship, apprenticeship and provision of start-up kits.
The entrepreneurship aspect of the training helps the participants to understand what starting a business means and the things that are required in starting a business. On this, the participants were taught how to develop business plans for their businesses.
The second phase was the one-on-one apprenticeship by a business mentor from the community where the participants had intensive practical sessions for three months, while the last phase was the graduation ceremony where the participants were issued certificates of participation and provision of start-up kits to start their businesses.
Eze Okechukwu Onwukwe, traditional ruler of Umunneoma autonomous community in Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State, one of the benefiting communities, thanked Nigerian Breweries for including his community in the programme.
He observed that equipping youths with skills will stop them from getting involved in crime and prayed NB PLC to sustain the programme, which according to him, would endear the firm more to the people.