Another batch of 50 youths trained and equipped were lifted into the business world last Tuesday by oil Giants, Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC Joint Venture With this last batch now, the Anglo-Dutch company has equipped over 5000 youths between the ages of 18 and 35 in a self-sufficiency scheme known as LiveWire.
Each of the 50 beneficiaries went home with princely sums of N300,000 to start their own businesses, even as the company’s officials promised more financial support in the next one year.
The flag-off of the ceremony took place at the Atlantic Hall of Hotel Presidential on Aba Road in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Most of the previous beneficiaries were elated and expressed appreciation at the top level training they got together with the funds that went with it.
Twelve highfliers from the previous 2012 batch were also handed another N200,000 each as a mark of encouragement while the best three best trainees for 2013 were given special awards for their edge.
According to the General Manager, Sustainable Development and Community Relations of SPDC, Nedo Osayande, LiveWire which began in 2003 has pushed out over 5000, with over 2000 so far benefitting from various financial assistance that have turned them into top level entrepreneurs with a harvest of success stories recorded so far by the scheme.
Osayande said: “These young entrepreneurs are now business owners. They are creating employment opportunities for other youths and contributing to the reduction of youth employment and restiveness in the region”.
He further that said LiveWire has won recognition at home and abroad for its live-transforming capability.
“In 2011, the programme received the African Leadership Magazine Award and some of the beneficiaries have gone ahead to win other awards including the Central Bank of Nigeria Entrepreneurial Award. The Go Trade Enterprise Linkage Award in 2010 also enabled some of them to make international trade visits to London and Dubai”.
He said the scheme was in line with the company’s business principles encapsulated in their social development policies of contributing to economic empowerment and job creation for youths in the Niger Delta.
On how the beneficiaries emerged, the Osayande said over 1000 applied for the 2013 version, but that only 300 were selected before written tests reduced the number to 50.
The lucky ones further underwent a week-long training in the hands of some of the best hands in entrepreneurial skills.
‘’Those with the ability to produce bankable business plans were selected. But it does not end here. This group will upon successful performance”.
Three model entrepreneurs brought to the stage to give motivational tips, were greeted with warmth and huge applause as response.
Belema Ogbuigwe, the executive director, Centre for Information and Development, a pioneer recipient (2003), thrilled the newcomers on how she managed her capital, waded through storms and emerged as a thriving business magnate with employees.
She admonished the 68 million youths all over Nigeria must create jobs for themselves instead of waiting on relations or the Government.
Information from National Mirror was used in this report.