347 young Nigerian entrepreneurs have been trained and certified by the Connak Foundation, a non-profit organization, with some receiving starting grants ranging from US$5,000 and less.
The grant was followed by an 11-week intensive online entrepreneurship training course organized by the Foundation to mark its 10th anniversary.
In a statement from Pffficer’s chief executive, Ms Carol Emeka Sunday, the foundation said the training and scholarship underscore Connack’s vision of “tackling youth unemployment”.
“The Connak Foundation stands ready to build the economic capacity of youth to become agents of change in their communities; leading to the birth of the Connak Foundation Entrepreneurship Initiative (CoFEI),” it said.
According to the statement, 9,711 participants (6,629 men and 3,077 women) from across the country were recruited for the training, after which an evaluation was conducted for the most qualified.
The program was divided into two parts, online training, after which 450 participants were selected for a boot camp in Umuahia, Abia State, Southeast/South-South; Lagos for the southwest and Abuja for the northern part of Nigeria.
Boot camp activities included worship, sports, lectures, business proposal presentation by each participant, as well as presentation of Entrepreneur Education Certificates with Central Bank of Nigeria/NMFB registration number.
“Each boot camp was allocated 150 people for entrepreneurship training where they had to stay at the camp for seven days and be mentored by a facilitator who would provide them with business ideas.
“At the conclusion of the presentations given by the moderator, participants are expected to present their business plans in the presence of the jury, who will rigorously review their business proposals and determine if they qualify to win the $5000 grant offered by the Connak Foundation for their to support business ventures.
“Certificates were issued to each participant at the end of the bootcamp training. The grant presentation would be held at a later date for the successful entrepreneurs,” the statement added.
The statement gave details of the experience at the boot camps, saying: “In Abia, 150 participants were summoned to the Umuahia Boot Camp, held at Trinity Theological Institute Afaraukwu. However, only 140 participants reported to camp. Five participants were disqualified for their mischievous behavior at camp. In the end, only 125 participants reached the end of the training.
“In Lagos, the Lagos Bootcamp was held at the NYSC Camp in Iyana-Ipaja, with over 92 participants registering for the camp. Participants were grouped starting with the letter AD. Each participant presented their different business propositions after three days of intensive lectures by the lead presenter Dr. Emeka Unachukwu.
“In Abuja, a boot camp was held at the Federal Treasury Academy, Orozo, with 131 participants; 26 women and 105 men. However, one participant left the boot camp voluntarily to pursue other urgent matters.
“Connak Foundation sponsors visited the participants and encouraged them to do their best to receive the scholarship and use the money made available to them for their businesses. They have also given them to understand that the certificates issued to them have been recognized by the Central Bank of Nigeria, which will enable them to receive loans from the bank,” it said.