The Nigerian society and the world at large, have in the recent times, been enmeshed in the mud of youth unemployment and an uncertain future for the next generation.
However, a lot of well meaning Nigerians and big companies are beginning to copy their counterparts abroad by keying into creation of means of employment for the millions of graduates churned out by both private and government tertiary institutions yearly.
Non Governmental Organizations have also aligned with the network of salvaging the society with various types of youth empowerment. One example is the Tony Elumelu Entepreneural scheme, which has stepped into that area of charity and it is working out with very good results.
Another company in the procession of helping the country reduce unemployment is SABMiller industry, makers of grand malt, beta malt, milk stout, hero beer, etc.
The company located at the commercial city of Onitsha has launched an entrepreneurial programme tagged ‘KickStart’ for youths under the ages of 18 to 35yrs.
The programme, which was launched a fortnight ago, is geared towards empowering the next generation of entreprenuers in the five south eastern states of Anambra, Imo, Ebonyi, Enugu and Abia.
It would no doubt help a lot of youths with budding business ideas bring their dream to life. It would also help youths, who are already running a small scale business but need financial support expand their business.
According to the Chairman of SabMiller industry, the traditional ruler of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe, “The aim of the programme is to develop a local culture of business entrepreneurship among young people in the South East by encouraging and promoting business skills, managerial awareness and material support through training programmes, mentorship and provision of business grants as start –up capital and for expansion.
“The programme would bring refreshment to people. It is part of the company’s social corporate investment initiative towards poverty alleviation and sustainable enterprise development in its areas of operation.
“The end objective is to ensure that our youths in the South East with bright business ideas, have an opportunity to turn these ideas into reality, which will in turn reduce unemployment, by engaging them meaningfully through an entrepreneurship programme that will encourage them to bring their dreams to life.
“We have heard so much about the planned diversification of the Nigerian economy, wherein our over-independence on crude oil will be a thing of the past and this initiative is one sure way of diversifying the Nigerian economy.
“We are not unaware that there are expectations from the communities around our areas of operations, particularly in Anambra State. We recognize that Intafact Beverages, as a major business venture in the South East, has to maintain an enduring relationship with people of the region.
“In an economy weakened by the effects of a global slump in oil prices, the SABMiller Hero’s Foundation Kickstart not only comes as a breath of fresh air, but indeed offers strong prospects for an economic rebound for our country which is in dire need of multiple investment platforms.
“There is renewed hope that this initiative will not only grow the local economy of the South East region, but will indeed, generate a paradigm shift in wealth creation as the multiplier effects will be quite impressive and far-reaching.”
The programme, which will run as a yearly programme, cover all the states in the South East geopolitical zone and is billed towards recruiting hundreds of youths, who will automatically become bosses themselves and in turn, offer employment to others.
With about twenty four million Nigerians currently unemployed, the SABmiller enterpreneurial programme will be a source of respite for the youths and relief to the federal and state governments which bear the bigger burden of providing for its citizens.
For Mr. Emeka Chikelue, the SABmiller youth empowerment programme