Corps members get N1 million SME funding in ‘Corpreneurship’ challenge
Three Corps members, currently undertaking their National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme, in Lagos State, have emerged winners in the maiden edition of a Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) challenge, ‘Corpreneurship’.
The event, which took place in the state’s NYSC Camp, empowered the winners with the sum of N1million, as the first runner-up received N500,000, while the second and third runner-up received N300,000 and N200,000, respectively.
Speaking to newsmen, the first runner up, Abigail Adebayo, a 25year old graduate of Medicine and Surgery from Bowen University, said she ventured into clothing business because she couldn’t rely on the salary she was being paid.
“Currently, I am a medical doctor. I felt that the economic situation in this country is not so good, and I couldn’t rely on the salary I am paid by the hospital I work for, so I decided to go into the clothing business.
“I started with N9,300 and made a profit of N50,000 in my first month. When I heard about this opportunity I decided to grab it so that I can expand my business. Words can’t express how I feel,” she said.
On the competition, ‘Corpreneurship’ was derived from the words ‘corps’ and ‘entrepreneurship’, and is a novel entrepreneurship development initiative of Unity Bank Plc, aimed at promoting the entrepreneurial capabilities of corps members during their one-year compulsory service to the nation.
Group Head, Retail & Small Medium Enterprises, Unity Bank, Fafunwa Akinmade, said 75 participants registered for the challenge and submitted their business plans out of which 10 contestants made it to the final.
According to him, the programme is driven by the Bank’s aim to add value to the youth market in NYSC, noting that Corpreneurship is a business competition going on in four locations – Abuja, Lagos, Edo and Ogun States.
“What happened is that in each of the camps, we invited the corps members to write their business plans and to defend it. From the top 10 business plans, we picked the best three at an independent panel of judges, and the winner has just won a business grant of N500,000. The second person won N200,000, and the third person won N300,000.
“The money is going to be disbursed into their accounts and there is going to be a direct touch with our branch and regional managers, to know the ways through which we are going to help them manage the money by giving them business advice.
“This is going to go on again. This is 2019 batch C stream one, we are doing this with stream two in two weeks, and the next two streams in 2020. After this, we are looking at throwing it to 10 more states or 36 states across the federation,” she said.
On his part, the Lagos State Coordinator, NYSC, Sunday Aroni, said the initiative is a very laudable one, adding that NYSC expects this kind of services from corporate bodies that have benefited from the service.
He said: “As we are all aware, today’s white-collar jobs are no longer there. Even those who are on the job have to be on their toes to ensure that they remain on the job. But with this opportunity as we can see today, this shows that we have talents and initiatives.”