About 200 youths from Ibeju-Lekki community in Lagos State have graduated from various skills acquisition programme organised by Dangote Petroleum Refinery as a way of transforming society and providing employment opportunities for the youths.
The programme was put together by Dangote Petroleum Refinery and facilitated by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) and the Nigerian Content Development and Management Board (NCDMB).
The skills acquisition programme, which cut across a wide range of vocational skills such as plumbing, welding, iron bending, auto mechanics and electrical works, marked the successful completion of the first batch trainees.
The programme marks another level of Dangote Petroleum Refinery’s intervention as it is targeted at providing vocational skills to the teeming youth population in its host communities.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Dangote Group Executive Director, Strategy, Capital Projects and Portfolio Development, Mr. Devakumar Edwin said the initiative was a demonstration of Dangote Refinery’s commitment toward capacity-building and youth empowerment in the country.
Edwin said the programme was another level of Dangote Petroleum Refinery’s intervention targeted at providing vocational skills to the teeming youth population in its host communities. He said the programme was also aimed at making youth from its host communities employable.
He said the 200 youths from Ibeju-Lekki community in Lagos State graduated from various skills acquisition programmes put together by Dangote Petroleum Refinery as a way of transforming society and providing employment opportunities for the youths.
He urged the graduands to be more focused and diligent in whatever they do and serve as frontier to others.
“With the tools given to you today, you can be good ambassadors of this great community. So many graduates outside are still searching for jobs, but yours is different because you have been trained.
“We are going to give you our maximum support to ensure you are employed in our operations, as our host communities remains our priority. These skills given to you today, can take you to various places and attract better opportunity if managed effectively,” he said.
Edwin advised the graduands to commit themselves to continuous learning and development as the business environment changes frequently, and promised to assist them to succeed.
According to him, as the petroleum refining & fertiliser complex comes on stream, it is expected that will be a population boom in the surrounding communities, who requires the services of the trainees.
He expressed optimism that the host communities will experience a turnaround in their fortunes very soon.
Also at the event, Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State promised to employ the 200 youth of Ibeju-Lekki community who graduated from various skills acquisition programmes in the Lekki Free Trade Zone.
Sanwo-Olu, represented by Dr. Tunde Sodade, the Managing Director of Lekki Free Trade Zone Worldwide, said the governor was passionate about employing the youths through skilled vocational training.
He lauded the Dangote Group for the initiative, and urged the newly graduated youth to be good ambassadors to the state and their community.
“We will ensure that all of you that graduated today, will be employed at the free zone because we believe that what you learnt will be useful for the development of the zone. I urge you all to be good examples to others and always demonstrate better character and integrity in what you do,” Sanwo-Olu said.
He urged the graduands to register their names with the Lekki Free Trade Zone management, so they could be employed by all companies within the zone.
The State Coordinator of the Nigerian Directorate of Employees (NDE), Mrs. Serena Edward lauded Dangote group for pioneering the skills vocational training for the youths in the community.
Edward said the programme which started six months ago, had today recorded tremendous success among the 200 graduands.
“We encountered some challenges in the course of the programme, which the community elders intervened. The programme has transformed the students to do better and also improved their standards of creativity on the jobs leant.
“Today, the programme has facilitated the students to open an account with a bank as a sign of seriousness towards business. Dangote has given the community youths useful tools to work with and advised you use it diligently,” she said.
Oba Olumuyiwa Ogunbekun, the Oni-Lekki of Lekki encouraged the youth to fully utilise the skills they acquired. He commended Dangote Refinery for its unwavering support to community development initiatives in the state and emphasised the need for the youth to work hard.
Ogunbekun also urged Dangote to assist in employing the trained youths in other to foster youth mutual relationship in the community and make them practice what they learnt
He also commended Aliko Dangote for bringing development to the communities through its investment in refinery and petrochemicals and urged other Nigerians of means to invest locally and lift the economy of the people at the grassroots.
Mr. Musa Ajibola, an instructor, urged companies to follow what Dangote had done, while urging companies to make the training one year programme than six months. He said the training had broadened the knowledge of the youths toward improving their knowledge.
One of the students, Balogun Fuad said the programme was laudable, adding that it came at the right time. According to him, most youths in the area do not have meaningful livelihood, while urging Dangote and others to employ them.
Another student, Balogun Owolabi said the programme had created opportunities for most of the youth. He added that this could make them independent in the community.
$1.5m Prize Pool: Top 10 Finalists of “Africa’s Business Heroes” Grand Finale Announced
The 2020 Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) prize, a flagship philanthropic program created by the Jack Ma Foundation’s Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI), has selected the top 10 finalists, who will pitch at the competition’s grand finale in November, for a chance to win a share of a US$1.5 million prize pool.
The ten outstanding entrepreneurs – half of whom are female – have been selected from over 22,000 applications across all 54 African nations, following several rounds of rigorous evaluation. With an average age of 34 years, the top ten represent eight African countries: Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, and their businesses span key industries such as agriculture, fashion, education, healthcare, renewable energy, and financial services.
“I continue to be amazed by the passion, resilience, and vision of Africa’s entrepreneurs, and I look forward to meeting these ten extraordinary businesswomen and businessmen at the finale. I am excited to learn more about how they are driving positive change and progress across the continent,” said Jack Ma, Founder of the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Group.
The passion, excellence, and diversity of the finalists reflects the DNA of the competition. The ABH program will recognize 100 African entrepreneurs and allocate US$100 million, over a ten-year period, in grant funding, training, mentoring and learning initiatives, access to key networks, and to develop a vibrant entrepreneur community to support Africa’s future business leaders. This is a testament to the Jack Ma Foundation’s long-term commitment to support Africa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“The 2020 Africa’s Business Heroes competition has been incredible. The quality of the entrepreneurs and their ideas has been exceptional and this is a testament to the talent that exists across the continent. I am extremely excited to follow the rest of the competition and see who will come on top as the 2020 African Business Hero!” said Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, ABH semi-finale judge and Founder of soleRebels, Garden of Coffee and Tefftastic.
“It’s been fascinating to be part of this unique initiative. From the start, I was struck by the diversity of people and projects involved, with the finalists providing almost even split of talented men and women from all over Africa. This competition has shone a light on our continent, and helped to showcase African solutions to African problems. As someone who knows how challenging it is to boot-strap their own business, I was heartened to see that many of the entrants are entirely self-funded, and have shown great determination, ingenuity and spirit to get this far. All the finalists are truly deserving of the opportunity they have been given. Jack Ma represents the very best in global entrepreneurship, so I am delighted to have been involved in such a fantastic project.” commented Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, ABH semi-finale judge and Founder and Chairman of APO Group.
On November 13th and 14th, Africa’s Business Heroes will host its Grand Finale, and winners of the 2020 ABH prize will be announced on November 14th, 2020.
During the online Grand Finale pitch, the top ten Heroes will present their business ventures, as well as their vision and leadership profile, to the finale judging panel that includes: Jack Ma, Founder of the Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Group; Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and Founder/CEO of The Chair Centre Group; Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Group; and Joe Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman of the Alibaba Group.
The next few weeks will be crucial for the finalists to finesse their pitches and leverage the in-depth training, learnings and insights that they have gathered along their ABH journey, culminating in the finale. All of this will be part of ABH brand-new business entertainment televised show, due to air in five episodes from November 21st to December 19th across Africa. The show will give the audience exclusive access to the real-world stories of the entrepreneurs of this edition, following them as they go head to head in the finale, and unveiling the key insights and advice shared by the finale judges, alongside the best moments and experience of the competition. By showcasing the huge talent of the contestants, ABH hopes to talk to the entrepreneurial spirit of startups and small businesses in Africa and around the world, inspiring them to pursue their aspiration and turn their ideas and solutions into concrete business ventures.
Meet the Top 10 finalists:
Abdulai A Dasana, CEO & COO, Amaati Company Limited (Ghana)
“We nourish the world” – Amaati is a social enterprise whose mission is to build sustainable communities through the use of an extinct and neglected crop called Fonio. The company is led by Abdulai A. Dasana, an agricultural technologist with a decade of experience in finance, banking and SMEs, and with a vision to revolutionize the agriculture sector to benefit the most vulnerable.
Aboubakar Karim, CEO & Founder, INVESTIV (Côte d’Ivoire)
“Technology and passion for agriculture” – INVESTIV is an Ivorian company whose mission is to help build the future of African agriculture by leveraging innovative technologies to support smallholder farmers throughout Côte d’Ivoire and West Africa. The company is led by Aboubakar Karim, a 25 years old agro-economist.
Axel Emmanuel Gbaou, CEO & Founder, Le Chocolatier Ivorien (Côte d’Ivoire)
“Cocoa revolution in progress” – Le Chocolatier Ivorien manufactures and offers Africa-made, handcrafted and quality chocolate, promoting sustainable cultivation techniques and a fairer distribution of income in the cocoa chain through a direct partnership with female growers. The founder Axel, who started his career as a banker and established the company in his mother’s kitchen, holds a degree in International Public Law, and a Master’s in Taxation.
Chebet Lesan, Founder & CEO, Bright Green R. Energy (Kenya)
“Revolutionizing Africa’s kitchens” – BrightGreen Energy produces life-saving fuel bricks that reduce the cost of cooking for underserved communities across Africa and save forests. The company is led by Chebet Lesan who has a background in Leadership from The University of Cambridge, Product Design from The University of Nairobi, Supply Chain Management from Rutgers School of Business and a Business-Design Fellowship from Massachusetts Institute of Technology D-lab.
Cyrille Nkontchou, Founder & Chairman, Enko Education (Cameroon)
“Your launchpad to the best universities” – Enko Education operates the largest single network of private schools in Africa that teaches the International Baccalaureate curriculum to democratize access to quality international education for African youth. The company was founded by Cyrille Nkontchou, an economist by training with extensive experience as a fund manager, a banker and a consultant.
Ethel Mupambwa, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Moneymart (Zimbabwe)
“Creating wealth; changing lives”- Moneymart is a Zimbawean based microfinance institution that offers tailor-made business loans to MSMEs and individuals who live off the power grid to access quality solar-lighting-kits. The company is co-led by Ethel Mupambwa, who has nine years of experience in finance and is a Level 2 Chartered Financial Analyst Candidate.
Dr. Emma Naluyima Mugerwa, Founder, MST Junior School (Uganda)
“Little seeds, big dreams” – MST Junior School is a Primary School with a unique approach and learning model. It aims to equip the pupils with unique skills to solve agriculture issues such as food insecurity, waste mismanagement and malnutrition. The school was established by Dr. Emma Naluyima, a vet, farmer and educator with a desire to train young people and change their lives through Modern and Purposeful Farming.
Joan Rukundo Nalubega, CEO & Founder, Uganics (Uganda)
“Buy a soap – save lives” – Uganics is a social business that manufactures life-saving organic anti-malaria soap to address malaria, which kills millions of people every year, and sells around the world at a high profit margin to subsidize sales to poor populations at the same price as regular soap. The company is led by Joan Rukundo Nalubega, a Malaria survivor and a social entrepreneur with a vision to fight Malaria.
Mame Diarra Bousso Gueye, CEO & Founder, Diarrablu (Senegal)
“Artisans & algorithms for a conscious lifestyle” – Diarrablu is a Senegalese fashion tech company merging African artisan traditions with technology to empower African artisans and build an ethical and sustainable fashion future centered around ancestral African craftsmanship. The company is led by Diarra Gueye who has experience in finance, mathematics, and design and recently completed her Master’s at Stanford University with a focus on creative mathematics.
Oluwasoga Oni, CEO & Co-Founder, Mdaas Global (Nigeria)
“Unlocking diagnostics for Africa’s next billion” – MDaaS Global builds and operates modern, tech-enabled diagnostic centers in clinically-underserved communities starting in Nigeria to provide a world-class patient experience at highly-affordable prices. The company is led by Oluwasoga Oni, an MIT-trained system engineer.
Naira strengthens against dollar
Barely 24 hours, the Naira was forced to a downward trajectory by dollar scarcity, it bounced back, closing at N477 to a dollar at the parallel market in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Pound Sterling and the Euro traded at N608 and N550, respectively.
The Naira, however, weakened marginally at the investor’s window, losing one point to close at N386 to a dollar.
The volume of trade at the window shrunk by 1.83 million dollars when compared to Tuesday, to close at 18.44 million dollars
The Nigerian currency exchanged at N381 to a dollar at the official CBN window.
Oyo govt. will continue to support SMEs, Olaniyan assures
The Deputy Governor of Oyo state, Engr. Raufu Olaniyan has reassured the state’s government commitment to supporting Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in the state,
The deputy governor gave the assurance at the Commissioning of a new shopping mall ATM located in the Oke Ado area of Ibadan.
Olaniyan noted that small scale businesses with adequate support have the potential to be a major employer of labour.
He reiterated the state’s government desire to support entrepreneurs who chose to do business in the state, stressing that the present administration has put necessary machinery in place to make doing business in Oyo state stress free.
Alhaja Adeogun Tunrayo Muslimat, owner of ATM mall had earlier informed that her desire to set up business in the state aside profit was also borne out of her avidity to support the government in the area of job creation, and also boost the economy of her home state.
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