EIGHT persons have emerged as the overall winners in the second edition of the entrepreneurship development project organised by the Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation (ZSF), tagged “Business Plan Competition,” to reward young Nigerians with outstanding business ideas.
At the presentation of prizes and plaques, in Lagos, last week, ZSF Operations Manager, Mallam Ahmed Ma’aruf, said the initiative was aimed at empowering young Nigerians with business ideas either at conceptual level known as “Idea track” or transitional stage known as “Business Growth.”
ZSF Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, Prince Sulayman Olagunju, said the competition was an aspect of ZSF entrepreneurship development project embarked upon last year with a view to bringing together business-minded Nigerian youths to compete and showcase their creative ideas and business plans.
Olagunju said N15 million was expended on the competition.
“The economic hardship being experienced by Nigerians, which has been worsened by increase in youth unemployment, Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East, militancy/terrorism in the Niger Delta, kidnapping/armed robbery in the South-East and South-West and the high cost of living confronting the Nigerian youths can be effectively eradicated by designing and implementing appropriate entrepreneurial programmes to engage them productively.
The EDP was also meant to empower the Nigerian youths with adequate seed capital and appreciate the role of Nigerian youths in nation building.
“The tree we planted together just one year ago has grown up favourably and it has started yielding beneficial fruits that gave us more impetus to continue this competition despite low sponsorship.
“The number of participants increased from 128 last year to 165 this year. This increase in number of participants made our consultant and his team to spend more time in screening the participants. The consultant and of experts did a marvellous job to produce the winners we are rewarding today,” he said.
Prince Olagunju urged all the beneficiaries to use the fund provided by the foundation to take their businesses to the next level to justify the confidence reposed in them by the team of experts.
Chairman on the occasion, Ambassador Adamu Babagida Ibrahim, said there was no better time to encourage the ZSF noble and lofty project than now.
Ibrahim said: “Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation’s intervention at this auspicious time is a welcome development that should be supported by well-meaning individuals and corporate organisations in order to complement the efforts of government in the delivery of socio-economic welfare services to the underprivileged Nigerian youths.”