At least 360 Kwara-based startups owned by young people were awarded varying amounts of non-interest loans on Thursday, with Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq saying building a stronger economy requires extending adequate support to small and medium scale businesses.
The Governor spoke in Ilorin, the state capital, at the fourth (4.0) edition of Kwapreneur, an initiative of the Kwara State Government that gives financial support — ranging from N3m downward — to businesses owned mainly by young people.
The Governor presented cheques of varying amounts to different winners who had earlier pitched their businesses before a panel of judges drawn from different backgrounds in the state.
The event was attended by Rt. Hon. Speaker Yakubu Danladi Salihu, and some other lawmakers of the Kwara House of Assembly; cabinet members; security chiefs; All Progressives Congress (APC) Chairman Prince Sunday Fagbemi; business leaders; artisan groups; and market leaders from across the state.
Some of the star winners included Akingboye Anuoluwapo, who is into Tomato Paste production (N2 million); Sifau Adewoye Mashood, a skincare therapist (N2 million); Bamidele Tinuola Suzan, a Shea-butter producer (N2 million); Peleowo Surura (N1.5m); Saka Shehu Olayinka, local aluminum pot maker (N1.5m); and Saliu Fatimah Adejumoke of Baytu Tejmeel Natural Resources Nigeria Ltd (N1.5m).
A total of N229,565,000 was disbursed under the initiative to the 360 beneficiaries who said it would help to expand their businesses and create more jobs.
“This is the fourth phase of supporting the MSMEs with non-interest funds since the inception of the present administration. This shows our consistency and commitment to boost economic activities and make life worth living for all,” the Governor.
“Our core objective is to encourage self-reliance among young people through entrepreneurship and innovation, especially small-scale businesses that are the life wire of any economy.”
AbdulRazaq congratulated the winners for scaling through a rigorous pitching, and urged them to make judicious use of the funds and pay back so that others can benefit.
“To all of you beneficiaries, I urge you to see this as revolving funds, which are meant to support several startups and initiatives owned by young people. When you make good use of the money and pay back as you should, you would have contributed your own quota to the socioeconomic growth of our state through job creation and poverty reduction,” he said.
“For those who did not get in this round, there will be another day. Stay positive and continue to do your best.”
Acting General Manager KWASSIP Dr. Wasiu Tejidini said in his remark that the programme is having positive impacts in helping to spread prosperity, especially among young people who do not have collateral to access bank facilities.
“Beneficiaries of the previous editions have told the stories of positive change in their businesses,” he said.
“It is in this regard that His Excellency, Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, deemed it fit to further support Kwara-based MSMEs, being fully aware of the challenges facing young entrepreneurs in the areas of status and expansion funds.”
He thanked the Governor for encouraging the youth to be self-reliant.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
December 14, 2023