Empowering entrepreneurs of tomorrow
Youths across Edo State this week, June 12-14 gathered at SIO Events Center, GRA, Benin City, to explore entrepreneurial opportunities in Nigeria. The 3-days workshop tagged Youth Empowered was organised by Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company. Urhokpota Reporers’ Richard Okundia was there and filed this report.
No fewer than 500 youths in Edo State have benefited from this year’s ‘Youth Empowered’, a training programme organised by the Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company.
The workshop aimed to equipping Nigerian youths with life and business skills for their personal development as well as enable them to transition to meaningful job positions.
The first day of the workshop saw participants divided into groups of 20 participants, mentors assigned to them and grilled on life skills. In his welcome message, the Regional Public Affairs Manager, East/Central, Nigeria Bottling Company, Ekuma Eze, informed participants that Youth Empowered represents a wave of self discovery going on simultaneously across the 28 countries Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company is operating and that Nigeria is the only African country among them.
He urged the participants to develop brilliant business ideas as the group with the best proposal will be funded to take off immediately.
Declaring the workshop open, the Executive Governor of Edo State charged participants to take the training seriously. He promised to support the initiative by sponsoring two additional business propoposals from the pool of best proposals from the workshop. Noting that of the two proposed firms, the state intends to support, one would be exclusive for women.
Lectures on the first day focused on career and life skills and was facilitated by Ekundayo Odele who took the participants on an introspective session on having a short, medium and long term goal. She also focused on CV writing, Interviewing and networking skills with some simulation exercises.
Samuel Obafemi facilited the days that followed.
Day 2 focused on skills of project and time management, identifying business opportunities, communicating the opportunity and using the business model canvas. With the help of the mentors, groups used the business model canvas to bring to life their Various business ideas.
Day 3 started with a crash course on financial literacy, negotiation and sales skills where the facilitor used videos and simulations to help participants appreciate the course.
The workshop climaxed with the proposal pitching challenge by representatives of the various groups.
At the end of the challenge, Group 4 under the mentorship of Esohe Esther Idehen emerged winner of the 2018 Youth Empowered Benin.
They sold the uniqueness of coconuts with their ‘Hetty Coconut Hub’ idea.
Some participants at the end of workshop expressed their opinions of the workshop.
Precious Ojike, a Business Administration and Management student of the Federal Polytechnic Auchi expressed satisfaction with the organisers, adding that the workshop has helped her grasp practical knowledge of her field of study. On self re-discovery she said, “I came here with the mentality that it is better to pursue employment careers. With this training, I am going back home well equipped to set up events management firm”.
Justice Eromonsele, a graduate of Sociology said that the workshop has exposed him to the world of business. “I’m delighted to have learned how to work in a team and this knowledge has eluded me prior to this workshop” he said. Another participant, Tina Osagiede, a postgraduate student at the University of Benin said the programme has helped sparked off entrepreneurial traits in her. Commending the organzers she said, “This is a worthy project my NBC to curb youth unemploymen, I encourage other organizations to borrow a leaf from this initiative”. She planned to disrupt research laboratory industry with her newly acquired innovative ideas upon completion of her postgraduate degree. Ehi Ijie, a piggery farmer expressed delight with the organisers and solicit for increment in the number of ideas that receive funding. “It’s disappointing group seven did not get to win the challenge, we nonetheless hope to pursue to a logical conclusion the idea we conceived in this workshop” he said. Andrew Ogiamen, a cassava farmer who is also a member of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture thanked NBC for helping to reduce the weight of unemployment on government shoulder. “At a time like this, government can not do it all, I appreciate NBC for its capacity building efforts” he said. He promised to use knowledge gained to better position his business for greater success.