Firm targets 400 young entrepreneurs for training, funding
This year’s edition of the award-winning entrepreneurship initiative, known as Kickstart, has announced the commencement of applications from young entrepreneurs.
International Breweries, organisers of Kickstart, revealed that the online portal, which opened last Friday, will receive applications from Nigeria-based entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 years.
The group said the initiative, championed by the International Breweries Foundation (IBF), has positively impacted the lives of numerous budding entrepreneurs through mentorship, training, and provision of grants to run their businesses.
Speaking at this year’s launch, Legal and Corporate Affairs Director, IB Plc., Temitope Oguntokun, said the idea behind the initiative was to empower young people economically, thereby contributing to their quota to bridge the unemployment gap in the country.
She added that they were partnering with the Small and Medium Enterprises Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) of the Pan Atlantic University to train 400 youths in different businesses, skills, and leadership development modules.
She also urged young business owners to take advantage of the platform that Kickstart provides and its antecedents in the youth empowerment space. ‘’The success and credibility of Kickstart are the hundreds of our alumni, which is proof of the positive impact over the years,’’ she said.
Young entrepreneurs with business interests in agric, retailing, circular packaging (recycling), technology and renewable energy, among others should apply on the Kickstart portal and successful applicants will receive intensive mentorship and training by seasoned entrepreneurs in their various fields while acquiring the necessary skills required for entrepreneurship during a two-day boot camp before receiving the grants to grow their businesses.
Applicants, who scale through the application phase will proceed to a pitch-fest segment where a panel of judges will appraise submitted proposals before selecting the final winners. The winners of the pitch-fest segment will receive multi-million grants at the awards ceremony, which will hold in Lagos later in the year.
Chairman of the Advisory Board, IBF, Peter Bamkole, said, “This initiative is part of our commitment towards fulfilling our vision of contributing to a future with more cheers for our youths. Launched as an entrepreneurship development platform, the initiative has over the years taken a more pan-Nigerian status due to its wide reach and acceptance. It focuses on enterprise growth for young entrepreneurs.
Bamkole said with a total of over N385 million invested, Kickstart has given grants to 325 beneficiaries and generated 571 jobs with 1,208 direct beneficiaries. Last year, in line with its diversity and inclusion agenda, International Breweries for the first-time recognised People Living with Disabilities (PLWD). Three of the 51 grantees were from this category, while 48 per cent of the grantees are female, based on merit. In addition, applicants must be able to communicate (read, write and speak) in English language and must reside and have their business operations within Nigeria.
“All participants must ensure that all ideas and concepts outlined are their original works and participants are under no agreement or restriction that prohibits or restricts their ability to disclose or submit such ideas or concepts for the competition.”