A N10 million business grant has been given by retail lender Unity Bank Plc to thirty National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) participants in the tenth iteration of the bank’s renowned Corpreneurship Challenge, an initiative for entrepreneurship development.
Following their participation in a business pitch that was held recently across ten state NYSC Orientation Camps (Katsina, Kano, Kwara, Imo, Rivers, Delta, Sokoto, Edo, Akwa-Ibom, and Osun), the winners—including up-and-coming entrepreneurs creating inventive solutions in several business value chains, such as honey production, rice, and snail farming, among others—claimed top positions.
Azegba Chimuanya Perpetual, who presented a business plan focused on honey production, received the N500,000 top prize at the NYSC Orientation camp in Ikot Itie Udung, Nsit Atai, Akwa Ibom State. Meanwhile, Iyorwa Kater Israel, a promising commercial rice farmer, was awarded a N300,000 grant. In a same vein, Egelonu Emmanuel Friday received a N200,000 grant to help fund his snail farming enterprise.
Twenty-seven more winners, representing a variety of economic sectors like as fish production, poultry farming, fashion, soap and cake making, printing, pig farming, beverage manufacturing, and so on, were also identified from the other nine states.
Thousands of active NYSC Corp members apply for the Unity Bank Corpreneurship Challenge, which has demonstrated its tremendous social value as a platform for entrepreneurship growth and employment creation since its beginning. These company plans are then assessed according to their uniqueness, marketability, product’s potential for future employment, and business acumen.
Unity Bank’s Head of Retail and SME Banking Group, Dr. Opeyemi Ojesina, stated during the grand finale in Akwa Ibom State that the Unity Bank Corpreneurship Challenge has earned its pride of place in Nigeria as one of the nation’s foremost business incubation platforms and entrepreneurship development.
“We have seen the tremendous impact this program has had on youth empowerment and job creation in the country over the past five years that Unity Bank has sustained this Corpreneurship Challenge,” he said. Furthermore, I think that the program’s creative approach to entrepreneurship has made it possible for us to smoothly combine financial assistance, mentoring, and skill development to promote the development of aspiring business owners.
“Essentially, the initiative tackles the distinct obstacles encountered by small and medium-sized businesses, as they acknowledge this industry as the foundation of economic growth,” he continued. Additionally, customized financial solutions that enable corp members to realize their business goals serve as an example of Unity Bank’s dedication to financial inclusion.”
Underscoring how Unity Bank understands that true empowerment goes beyond financial assistance to hone entrepreneurial skills, Ojesina went on to explain that “the mentorship provided to participants adds unparalleled value, as it connects corp members with seasoned professionals who provide insights, guidance, and a roadmap for success.”
The Bank has received national attention for the Corpreneurship Challenge because of its influence on job creation and youth empowerment. Additionally, the program continues to spark enthusiasm among corps members, drawing over 2000 applications and participation in each iteration.
The initiative, which is in collaboration with the NYSC Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development, SAED, is highlighted by a business pitch presentation that gives participants the chance to showcase their business ideas and enter to win a business grant worth up to N500,000. Since the program’s inception, Unity Bank has contributed more than N100 million, and it has resulted in 148 winners.