The 2019 edition of Kickstart, an innovative youth entrepreneurship programme that empowers young people with the financial muscle and training to implement different entrepreneurial ventures, was on Wednesday flagged off by International Breweries Plc, a proud member of the world’s largest brewer, ABInBev.
The company also unveiled its new foundation, International Breweries Foundation.
Kickstart was introduced by International Breweries Plc in 2016 to empower young entrepreneurs with the wherewithal to kick-start their business ventures in recognition that the growth of Nigeria increasingly depends on the ability of its enterprising youth population to unlock their entrepreneurial potential.
Kickstart, which was previously only available to youths in the South East and South West, is now open to all youths across Nigeria.
The expansion of coverage followed the newly established International Breweries Foundation, which has consolidated the management of all corporate social investment initiatives of the company.
This edition is focussing mainly on entrepreneurs in the critical areas of agriculture, recycling, manufacturing, healthcare, education, ICT, water stewardship, climate action and crafts among others.
The initiative underscores the company’s support for Nigeria’s attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 8 on Decent Work and Economic Growth and five other related goals.
The Managing Director, International Breweries Plc, Annabelle Degroot, espoused the power of transformational entrepreneurship and explained that Kickstart is funded by International Breweries Plc’s Hero and Trophy brands, even as the company continues its support for responsible drinking.
Degroot also congratulated the members of the newly inaugurated Board of International Breweries Foundation.
The advisory board of International Breweries Foundation, chaired by Peter Bamkole, a well known expert in the development and support of small and medium enterprises, will steer the affairs of the foundation.
Degroot said: “KickStart draws its name from the objective of the initiative, which is to empower young entrepreneurs with the basic essentials to kick-start or start-up their business ventures,” Mrs Degroot said. “Globally, the power of transformational entrepreneurship to impact growth has become increasingly compelling especially in developing economies like ours. Entrepreneurship helps to create new products and business models, even while availing entrepreneurs fulfilling and dignified livelihoods.”
Also, the Legal and Corporate Affairs Director, IB Plc, Otunba Michael Daramola, expressed his happiness that the initiative has turned out more successful than initially envisaged.
Daramola stated that 184 youths had received grants totalling N271.129 million so far from Kickstart and the number of beneficiaries rises to 680 when those that benefitted from the training opportunities are included.
He added that 571 additional jobs had been created with 1,392 jobs projected by 2021.
He said: “We have seen young Nigerians excel in interesting and diverse industries. From arts and crafts to circular packaging, from water stewardship to agriculture, our young Kickstart beneficiaries are blazing a trail in different facets of entrepreneurship in our country.
“And it remains a privilege for us as an organization to be the driver of such an impactful initiative that enables our country harness the power and energy of our young people and deploy them positively towards economically productive ventures.”
To benefit from Kickstart, young people have to apply, stating the nature of their prospective entrepreneurial ventures.
The applications are assessed and the most promising business cases are identified.
Thereafter, the beneficiaries go through an intensive training programme.
Upon completing the training programme, seed capital, up to N3 million each, is made available to successful entrepreneurs, while IB Plc continues to provide guidance and mentorship, helping these young entrepreneurs to establish a strong foothold in the world of business.
The registration portal for kickstart, which is: www.internationalbreweriesfoundation.org, will open on June 24, 2019 for all interested youth across the country.