50 deserving entrepreneurs received a total of 60 million Naira from the International Breweries Foundation, the corporate social responsibility (CSR) division of International Breweries Plc, during the eighth iteration of its well-known Kickstart Initiative. This accomplishment coincides with IBPLC’s training of 330 young entrepreneurs that same year.
With the goal of empowering and promoting Nigerian youth between the ages of 18 and 35, the Kickstart Initiative offers funding, intensive business training, and mentorship. Individuals, prominent businesspeople, high-ranking government officials and agencies, and a diverse range of Nigerian youth attended the event.
Carlos Coutino, Managing Director of International Breweries Plc, talked about the Kickstart Initiative’s significance to the company. “The grant will serve as seed money for the businesses of the young, business-minded men and women who have been empowered with knowledge through the training they received. They will also be mentored by some of the best minds in the entrepreneurship space.” This gives me great pride,” Coutino remarked.
With its dedication to effectively guiding young Nigerians through the journey of entrepreneurship, the Kickstart Initiative has been a beacon of hope, impacting the lives of innumerable people. Consequently, this has played a major role in changing the face of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in Nigeria.
The Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Landmark Group, Mr. Paul Onwuanibe, was the event’s guest speaker. He guided the Kickstart recipients through important business case studies drawn from his own experience as well as those of business owners who have established international businesses. He advised the young business owners to persevere if they wanted to succeed in their ventures. “As an entrepreneur, you need to work hard, demonstrate resilience, and surround yourself with the right people in order to pursue your goals,” he said.
Peter Bamkole, the chairman of the International Breweries Foundation’s advisory board, stressed in his speech the foundation’s steadfast dedication to empowering young people in Nigeria. “Kickstart’s commitment to equip tomorrow’s leaders has remained unwavering. In a collaboration between IBPLC and the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC), 330 chosen Kickstart applicants received training in entrepreneurship. A further group of 73 young people on the shortlist were then instructed in various entrepreneurship skills over the course of a two-day intensive boot camp. These individuals then took part in a competitive grant pitch, which helped determine the ultimate recipients of the awards, the speaker stated.
The occasion commemorated the awarding of awards to fifty accomplished graduates, thereby increasing the number of self-sufficient business owners who have benefited from the Kickstart Initiative.
Together with Kickstart, International Breweries also manages other empowerment programs that aid in closing the skills gap in the technical field. These programs include Hero Igba Boi, which provides business grants, mentorship, and seed money to apprentices who are in their final year of training, the Retailer Development Program, which uses a train-the-trainers methodology to help retailers improve their business acumen, and the Technical Apprenticeship Program, which bridges the nation’s technical skills gap by creating a stable and long-term pipeline for critical positions within the technical functions.
Prior to taking part in a competitive grant pitch that determined the ultimate recipients, the chosen Kickstart candidates had complimentary training in a two-day boot camp covering a range of entrepreneurship skills.
International Breweries Plc’s Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs, Temitope Oguntokun, reiterated the company’s dedication to Kickstart. She outlined the program’s achievements, which included supporting 425 young entrepreneurs with grants, empowering over 2,000 direct and 3,000 indirect beneficiaries, creating 672 jobs, and investing more than 600 million Naira over the course of eight years.
“The innumerable lives that Kickstart has touched attest to the profound impact of our program. “Our dedication to youth empowerment and nation-building through it is ingrained in International Breweries Plc, even beyond the boundaries of the Kickstart Initiative,” the spokesperson stated.
The Director of Industrial Development for the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Adewale Bakare, represented the Honorable Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Dr. Uzoka-Anite, who praised IBPLC for the project that has the potential to change lives. “I applaud IBPLC for this initiative, which has helped our youth develop their entrepreneurial and creative skills over time,” the speaker remarked.
Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun, the First Lady of Ogun State and a steadfast advocate of the Kickstart Initiative, praised IBPLC for carrying on its legacy of enabling young Nigerians to find gainful employment and achieve financial independence. The government must keep assisting groups like IBPLC that have committed their resources to advancing the interests of Nigeria’s youth, as she stated: “Youth empowerment is critical to nation-building.”
The Director General’s representative, Bunmi Kole-Dawodu, the Zonal Coordinator of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), praised IBPLC for its successful project and reaffirmed the agency’s commitment to the Kickstart project.
Following training, mentoring, and the grant, Olanrewaju Faleye, owner of Olanreforward Foods, and Babatunde Adebayo, who owns Eco-circular Solution Limited in 2022, and Olanrewaju Faleye, owner of Olanreforward Foods in 2017, both winners revealed their growth experiences. With the assistance of the grant he was given, Babatunde updated to new machinery and now has nine employees. Olanrewaju revealed that his company brings in more than 50 million Naira a year in sales.
Key components of the Kickstart initiative, including as training and boot camps, were made possible by the International Breweries Foundation in partnership with SMEDAN and EDC.