February 2, 2023

*Doles out start-up grants
Udora Orizu in Abuja
A non-profit organisation, Connak Foundation, has trained 347 young Nigerian entrepreneurs with start-up grants of $5,000 and below given to each of the trainees.
The grant followed an 11-week intensive online entrepreneurship training, organised by the Foundation to mark its 10th year anniversary. 
In a statement issued Sunday by its Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Carol Emeka Sunday, the Foundation said the training and grant emphasize the vision of Connack “to tackle youth unemployment”.
“Connak Foundation is poised to strengthen the economic capacity of the youths to become agents of change in their communities; which resulted to the birthing of Connak Foundation Entrepreneurship Initiative (CoFEI),” it said. 
According to the release, 9711 participants (6,629 males and 3077 females), from across the country were recruited for the training, after which an evaluation for the most qualified was done. 
The programme was split into two, an online training, after which 450 participants were selected for a bootcamp in Umuahia, Abia state for the Southeast/South-South; Lagos for the Southwest and Abuja for the Northern part of Nigeria.
Activities at the bootcamp included devotion, sports, lectures, pitching of business proposals by each participant, as well as presentation of entrepreneurship training certificates with Central Bank of Nigeria/NMFB registration number.
“150 persons were allocated to each Bootcamp for entrepreneurship training, where they had to stay for seven days on camp and get enlightened by a facilitator who equips them on business ideas. 
“At the end of the lectures held by the facilitator, participants are to pitch their business plans in the presence of the panel of judges, who strictly examine their business proposals and determine if they are qualified to win the grant of five thousand dollars ($5000) offered by Connak Foundation to support their business ventures. 
“At the end of the bootcamp training, certificates were issued to each participant. The grant presentation would hold at a later date for the successful entrepreneurs,” the release added.
Giving details of the experiences at the bootcamps, the statement said “in Abia, over one hundred and fifty (150) participants were called up to Umuahia Bootcamp held at Trinity Theological Institute Afaraukwu. However, only one hundred and forty (140) participants reported for camping. Five (5) participants were disqualified due to their mischievous conducts on Camp. At the end, only One hundred and twenty-five (125) participants reached to the end of the training.
“In Lagos, the Lagos bootcamp was held at NYSC Camp in Iyana-Ipaja, with over ninety-two participants, who reported to camp. The participants were grouped from letter A-D. Each participant pitched their various business proposal after three days of intensive lectures by the lead facilitator, Dr. Emeka Unachukwu.
“In Abuja, bootcamp was held at the Federal Treasury Academy, Orozo, with one hundred and thirty-one (131) participants; twenty-six (26) females and one hundred and five (105) males. However, one (1) participant voluntarily exited the bootcamp to attend to other pressing matters.
“Sponsors of the Connak Foundation visited and encouraged participants to put in their best so that they can get the grant and utilize the money given to them for their businesses. They also made them to understand that the certificates issued to them was recognize by the Central Bank of Nigeria, which will enable them to obtain loans from the Bank”, the release said.
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