A total of thirty members of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, have won cash prizes and business grants totalling N10 million in the 6th edition of the expanded Unity Bank flagship business plan competition known as Corpreneurship Challenge.
Unity Bank is currently in 10 states of the federation where three winners each emerged from the Batch B Orientation course in the Corpreneuship competition held last week.
The states that the winners emerged included Lagos, Ogun, Benin, Abuja, Akwa Ibom, Kano, Sokoto, Enugu, Osun and Kwara.
As in the previous editions, the cash prizes included a N200, 000 business grant for third place winners; N300, 000 business grant for the second place and a star prize of N500, 000 for the winners.
Some of the winners included Yahaya Muhammad, Alade Ayinde and Omolola Kehinde in Kano NYSC camp, while Chiamaka Nweke, Nduke Oduobuk and Victoria Adesope emerged as the winners in the Enugu State camp.
In Lagos, Aliu Haira Abimbola, Uzoechi Ihuoma Augustus and Adesanolu Lukmon Abiodun emerged winners to claim the cash prizes.
One of the winners in Abuja, Ebingha Ogbe John appreciated Unity Bank for the opportunity, which she said, has helped her to showcase her business to the world. “I thank Unity Bank for making my project, Mama’s Ally Crashfish to come alive in this Abuja,” She said.
The initiative continues to attract increasing interests among the corps members, as over 2000 applications were received but only 100 were shortlisted for the pitching sessions from where the thirty winners emerged.
The contestants’ business plans which ranged from software solutions, fashion, fish production, poultry farming, bee farming, retail chains, piggery to beverages were assessed on originality, marketability, future employability potential of the product and knowledge of the business.
Recall that Unity Bank started the Entrepreneurial Development Initiative in 2019, to specifically target corps members, as part of efforts to contribute to job creation in Nigeria. It continues to gain traction, growing bigger and better in grooming corps members having successfully ran several editions of the scheme in partnership with the NYSC Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development, SAED.
The Bank has invested overN80 million in the initiative, which has now produced 58 winners since it was launched.
Speaking during the finale in FCT NYSC camp, the Divisional Head, Retail, SME Banking and E-Business Directorate, Unity Bank Plc, Mr. Olufunwa Akinmade, said the competition has proved to be a great tool for empowering fresh graduates in the country.
“The corpreneurship challenge is a creative entrepreneurial development initiative by Unity Bank in conjunction with the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC. It is aimed at driving job creation through entrepreneurship.
“With rising youth unemployment in the country, it is just common sense to consider the entrepreneurship alternative”.
“As the corps members join the labour market after their youth service, not every one of them will get the opportunity for a paid employment. But with what Unity Bank is doing, many of them will get the support they need to start a small business and even become employers of labour”.
“We encourage the corps members to take seriously the opportunity that the Unity Bank Corpreneurship has provided. And to those that have emerged the winners today, we ask them to utilise their grants judiciously. Unity Bank remains committed to empowering the youth through initiatives such as this, as we know that the bedrock of the economy is entrepreneurship.”
The Zonal Head, North West, Unity Bank Plc, Mr. Mustapha Idris Baba, implored the winners to judiciously utilise the funds to support the business venture that got them the grant.
This edition follows the expanded Corpreneurship Challenge which started in the 5th edition in June this year. The programme looks set to expand nationwide, empowering corps members to explore entrepreneurship alternatives in the face of rising youth unemployment in the country.
Unity Bank Collaborate to Fund N15.5bn Equipment for Julius Berger
Unity Bank Plc, in company of other banks has facilitated a credit facility of N15.5bn for the acquisition of trucks and equipment to Julius Berger Plc.
The group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of SCOA Nigeria Plc, Dr Massad Boulos, has appreciated the gesture.
A statement from SCOA said that SCOA presented 33 MAN platform trucks and equipment to Julius Berger to be deployed for the construction of the 380 kilometre Abuja-Kaduna-Kano roads.
The banks that funded the acquisition were Unity Bank Plc, Heritage Bank Limited, Zenith Bank Plc, Providus Bank Limited, Wema Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc, Union Bank Plc and Coronation Merchant Bank Limited.
Boulos said, “I commend Unity Bank, their MD and the members of the executive management; and the entire team of banks who have worked closely with us on this project.”
Mr Ralph Brendicke, the representative of the MD of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Dr Lars Richter, said the trucks and other equipment would help the company expand its field capacity and increase the speed of execution leading to timely completion of the highly anticipated project.
The MD/CEO of Unity Bank Plc, Mrs Tomi Somefun, represented by the Directorate Head, Lagos and South West Zone, Mr Wale Ogunride, was quoted as saying, “We looked at the strategic importance of this project and how such infrastructure could contribute to stimulating economic activity and decided that Unity Bank must play its part.
“Unity Bank will continue to provide support to such projects as we have been doing in other critical sectors of the economy such as agriculture.”
In a separate statement, the Executive Director of Wema Bank, Mr Oluwole Ajimisinmi, was quoted as saying that his bank was delighted to be one of the institutions to support SCOA in the project.
He also encouraged and solicited for more local content in order to create more jobs.
NBS Report: Nigeria’s Inflation Rate Dropped Further to 17.01% in August
Nigeria’s inflation rate has dropped by 0.37 per cent to 17.01 per cent (year-on-year) in August, from the 17.38 per cent recorded in July.
This was disclosed in the Consumer Price Index report just released by the National Bureau of Statistics.
According to the report, composite food index also dropped to 20.30 per cent against 21.03 per cent in July.
“This rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of bread and cereals, milk, cheese and egg, oils and fats, Potatoes, yam and other tuber, food products n.e.c, meat and coffee, tea and cocoa,” the report read in part.
At the same time, the country’s urban inflation rate fell to 17.59 per cent year-on-year, from 18.01 per cent recorded two months ago, rural inflation rate tapered to 16.43 per cent from a previous 16.75 per cent, while core inflation, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce dropped by 0.31 per cent to 13.41 per cent in from 13.72 per cent recorded in July.
“The corresponding twelve-month year-on-year average percentage change for the urban index is 17.19 per cent in August 2021. This is higher than 16.89 per cent reported in July 2021, while the corresponding rural inflation rate in August 2021 is 16.03 per cent compared to 15.73 per cent recorded in July 2021,” the report further stated.
Dangote Partners NCDMB on Oil Sector Research, Development
Dangote Refinery has announced a partnership with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board on the promotion of research and development in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.
According to a statement from the firm, Dangote refinery was a platinum sponsor of the second edition of the NCDMB Research and Development Fair and Conference 2021 in a bid to show its commitment to the project.
The statement also said that Dangote refinery was able to showcase its 650,000 barrel per day project and the research and development activities it had carried out during the construction of the refinery at the fair.
The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr Simbi Wabote, commended the company’s support for the fair. He expressed the need for companies in the Nigeria oil and gas sector to start nurturing the growth of the country’s home-grown technology rather just being wholesome consumers of other people’s innovations.
Wabote was quoted as saying, “Analysis of global practices of Research and Development revealed that the combined R&D spend of just five countries makes up 63.5 per cent of the entire global R&D spend. These five countries, namely USA, China, Japan, Germany, and India were also observed to have accounted for over 50 per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product.
“Africa, on the other hand, accounted for less than one per cent of the global R&D spend while its GDP is only three per cent of the global GDP. You will agree with me that there is a nexus between the spend on Research and Development and economic prosperity,” the Executive Secretary added.
The minister, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, also called on industry stakeholders and youths across the country to take advantage of the NCDMB R&D centre to bolster adaptation of existing solutions and also come up with new ones to address major challenges in the industry.
The Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, represented by his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo was quoted as saying that the theme for the fair captures stakeholders’ collective commitment to aggressively drive innovation and position the oil industry on the path of an integrated energy sector, where field development and production solutions are sourced through local capabilities.
He emphasised the need for private sector operators to invest in research and development. “It is important, however, to clear up a certain misconception: The funding of research is not the sole responsibility of National Governments; rather, big spenders on research and development globally come from the private sector,” he added.