Business leaders, top government officials, captains of industries, and budding entrepreneurs converged for the Kickstart Entrepreneurship Summit organised by International Breweries Plc at the Civic Center in Lagos.
This year’s event was organised to support businesses with practical tips to ensure survival beyond the current global challenges, hence, the theme: ‘Building a Sustainable Business in a Tough Economy: Key insights for MSMEs.’
The Kickstart Entrepreneurship Programme by the company’s CSR platform, International Breweries Foundation (IBF), was designed to upscale the skills of young entrepreneurs and further demonstrate International Breweries’ commitment to the development of the Nigerian youth while supporting the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
International Breweries Plc, a proud part of Anheuser Busch InBev (AB InBev), the world’s largest brewer with over 400 beer brands and producers of Trophy lager and Stout, Budweiser, and Hero lager amongst others decided to support the government’s long-standing commitment in addressing the challenge of unemployment in Nigeria through the youth-focused economic empowerment scheme—Kickstart.
Speaking at the event, Managing Director, International Breweries Plc, Hugo Rocha, who gave the welcome address stated that IBF is supporting the government to bridge the unemployment gap by tapping into the abundance of potential inherent in emerging youth business leaders he described as game-changers Nigeria urgently needs.
He said, “We recognise economic empowerment as a means of solving unemployment, poverty, and insecurity whilst being a key driver of development; this is why we have invested time, energy, and significant funds into providing training, mentorship, and grants for budding entrepreneurs between 18 and 35 years.”
In his speech, Chairman International Breweries Advisory Board, Peter Bamkole, explained that 708 young entrepreneurs across a wide range of business sectors have benefitted from Kickstart and 571 jobs have been created through the social investment scheme.
Describing the youths as “our future,” Bamkole stated “the Advisory Board visualised the long-term impact and its benefits for Nigerians if Kickstart succeeded in supporting the government to eradicate poverty. We are therefore happy at the successes of many young entrepreneurs that have been empowered by our initiative.”
One of the beneficiaries, Onyinyechukwu Eric-Mbah who runs Orchard Blends, a healthy food retail business explained that the N500, 000 grant she received from the initiative enabled her to purchase equipment in record time—boosting her business as a result. Activities to commemorate the occasion kicked-off with an Alumni Workshop during the Global Entrepreneurship Week: on November 16—22, 2020.
The theme of the workshop: ‘Networking for Business Growth,’ saw past beneficiaries of Kickstart share stories and learning points on their entrepreneurship journey.
CEO, Wavelength Integrated Oil and Gas Services, Oneal Lajuwomi, and Director, Advapro Ltd, Helen Ofili spoke to attendees on the need to network and employ brand storytelling to connect with their audience and showcase their business.
The main speaker at the Summit, Chairman Economic Advisory Council, Federal Government of Nigeria, Dr Doyin Salami expounded on how businesses can thrive in a tough economy.
While addressing the youths, Dr. Salami said Knowledge, Competence, Patience, and Pro-activeness were important for successful entrepreneurs.
“Notwithstanding the difficulties, there are opportunities to add value for entrepreneurs who are observant enough to explore the gaps in the environment. Attempting to do everything is a recipe for disaster.”
Other speakers and panel discussants include the representative of the Vice President, Senior Special Assistant on Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship, Dr Osagie Nurudeen; Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment, Mrs Boladele Dapo Thomas; CEO, SO Fresh, Olagoke Balogun; Senior Lecturer and Director, Entrepreneurship Centre, Federal University of Technology, Minna, Prof. Olalekan Busra; Lawyer and Media Host, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu; Founder & Principal, OSC College of Fashion, Sola Babatunde, and Chief Marketing Officer, Loose Media, Ized Uanikhehi.