By Dipo Olowookere
No fewer than 28 owners of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Ondo State have received N8.4 million funding support from Goldberg through its Isedowo empowerment programme.
The beneficiaries received the empowerment last Friday as business grant of N300,000 each after being selected from a large pool of over 700 business entries received in the state.
Goldberg is the leading culture centric beer brand from the stables of Nigerian Breweries Plc, a top brewery firm in the country.
The winners comprise men and women operating in the catchment area who are skilled in all forms of handiwork including poultry farming, tie and dye, hand weaving, diesel injector repair, fashion designing and painting.
Participants went through auditions and screening exercises to be selected for the reward which happened at a grand ceremony at Fadeolu Guest House in Ondo town.
Mr Emmanuel Agu, Portfolio Manager, Mainstream Lager and Stout Brands at Nigerian Breweries Plc, explained that Goldberg is riding on the platform of Isedowo to demonstrate its passion towards improving the entrepreneurial drive of youths in the Southwest. The initiative allows the target groups to nurture business ideas that would transform into job opportunities, and in turn better the lot of the region.
“These grants would encourage more businesses to spring up in the region. As we fortify more start-ups with the financial wherewithal to gain solid ground of operations, the beneficiaries would improve the living standards of the Southwest people by creating more jobs and adding value to their communities,” he explained.
One of the beneficiaries, Balogun Wuraola, could not hold her excitement on the night. She said that as a new business owner, her grant would be invested to expand her business.
“With my N300,000, I plan to acquire enlargement and thread rolling machines, which are important tools in my business. I also need a bigger space to exhibit my products, which my grant would enable me to achieve,” she said.
Akindeni Kolawole, a diesel injector repairer, described Goldberg as a “supportive brand” for coming to the aid of small business owners in the region.
“If as little as 30 percent of all brands in Nigeria can emulate Goldberg by supporting indigenous business owners in different regions, more youths would be encouraged to run their own businesses,” Kolawole said.
He further commended Goldberg for making entrepreneurs in the region to realise that truly, there is dignity in labour. Kolawole also enjoined all the beneficiaries to utilise their grant with all sense of purpose as he would, so as to better the lot of his community through the service he renders.
Later in the evening, residents of Ondo town trooped to the same venue to witness the side attractions that came with the reward of the entrepreneurs.
The host, Odunlade Adekola thrilled the crowd with his comic acts. Onimama Fahoziat, 2017 Ariya Repete ‘Fuji’ winner, also thrilled the crowd, while popular afro-pop musician, Iledare Oluwajuwonlo, known by his stage name of Jaywon, added spice to the night of fun with his popular hits, which got the audience soaring in euphoric excitement into the late hours of the night.
Some lucky guests at the event also went home with bags of rice, kegs of vegetable oil and other items as they savoured the entertainment with their favourite beer, Goldberg lager beer.
Before the Ondo event, 32 artisans had been rewarded in Osun and Ekiti states where the beneficiaries affirmed that the initiative is laudable and has provided them huge relief from financial challenges faced in expanding their businesses.
Isedowo is an initiative of Goldberg, which was launched last August by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II with the aim of empowering businesses and start-ups with cash reward to boost their business ventures.
So far, 60 artisans have been rewarded in three Southwest states and Goldberg plans to support 40 more entrepreneurs with each winner receiving N300,000 through the empowerment scheme.
Ogun and Oyo States are next in line to be stormed by the brand to select and reward new set of entrepreneurs.
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