In a bid to support youth entrepreneurship, the Kwara State Government has awarded interest-free loans to 170 young business owners operating in the state.
This was disclosed by the Executive Governor of the state, Mr AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq during a capacity building and training workshop in the state capital, Ilorin.
AbdulRazaq said the loan was tailored by the state government to empower young people and drive inclusive growth. He commended the youngsters for their brilliant ideas and their courage to have their pitches assessed by an independent panel of judges, assuring them of continuous government’s support and mentorship as their businesses grow.
He urged the young entrepreneurs to use the funds judiciously and repay the loans for others to benefit from the scheme.
Commenting on the recent development, AbdulRazaq said: “We made sure this is not business as usual. It is fair, open, thorough and nonpartisan. A total of 170 businesses out of 7,202 applicants emerged from a rigorous screening process. The exercise included online applications, verification of businesses/ideas and physical interviews. It is an unprecedented experience to see our young people pitching for funds for businesses. This was not the case before. But I am glad to note that our administration has succeeded in encouraging enterprise and dignity by introducing ‘Kwaprenuers’.
“This initiative aligns with the global demands for sustainable youths’ engagement and empowerment to widen the economic base of the state. I do not doubt that this crop of young people will succeed with the arrays of training they have undergone on business management, growth and development, strategies and sustainability, among others. This will ultimately make them become employers of labour to drive improved revenue and economic development of the state.
“We appreciate Fidelity Bank and Wootlab Innovations for their support every step of the way. Our plan remains to build on the success of the first phase, thereby promoting commerce and trading, as part of our grand strategy on youths engagements and inclusive growth. However, its fundamentals are dictated by the global economic realities, revenue projections, and the sincerity of the beneficiaries to repay the non-interest loans as and when due. Our commitment to prudent management of public resources remains unshaken.
”We will at all-time prioritise the welfare of the people who have entrusted us with their mandate, while every segment of our society is accorded their right and privileges. I congratulate all the successful businesses and wish them the best,” AbdulRazaq said.
Appreciating the state government for the laudable initiative, one of the beneficiaries, Mr. Femi Olanrewaju, added that he was ready to change the economy of the state and the nation through his fish farm business.
Another beneficiary, Mr Mutolib Issa, a locust beans producer, thanked the governor for the opportunity to benefit from the loan. Issa said the loan would go a long way to help him improve the production of locust beans popularly known as ‘iru’ in the state.
Naijabusiness.com.ng understands that the winners got between N250,000 and N3 million to start or strengthen their businesses. The loans were awarded under ‘Kwapreneurs’, a state government’s entrepreneurial platform designed to support initiatives of people under 35 years.
The initiative was coordinated by the Kwara Social Investment Programme office alongside Fidelity Bank.