Retail lender, Unity Bank Plc has extended N10 million business grant to 30 members of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, who took part in the 10th edition of the Bank’s flagship Entrepreneurship Development Initiative, known as Corpreneurship Challenge.
The winners, including upcoming entrepreneurs developing innovative solutions in several business value chains such as Honey production, Rice, and Snail farming, among others, claimed top positions after participating in a business pitch that took place across 10 state NYSC Orientation Camps – Katsina, Kano, Kwara, Imo, Rivers, Delta, Sokoto, Edo, Akwa-Ibom, and Osun recently.
At the NYSC Orientation camp at Ikot Itie Udung, Nsit Atai, Akwa Ibom State, Azegba Chimuanya Perpetual, who pitched business on honey production emerged as the overall winner to clinch the N500,000 grand prize; while Iyorwa Kater Israel, a budding commercial rice farmer won N300,000 grant. Similarly, Egelonu Emmanuel Friday walked away with a N200,000 grant to support his Snail farming business.
In the remaining nine states, no fewer than twenty-seven other winners also emerged, after pitching business plans across various economic segments including Fish production, Poultry farming, Fashion, Soap and Cake making, Printing, Piggery, Beverage making, etc.
The Unity Bank Corpreneurship Challenge, which has proved its invaluable social benefit as an entrepreneurship development and job creation platform since its inception receives applications from thousands of serving NYSC Corp members. These business plans are then evaluated based on their originality, marketability, future employability potential of the product, and knowledge of the business.
Speaking during the grand finale in Akwa Ibom State, Unity Bank’s Head of Retail and SME Banking Group, Dr. Opeyemi Ojesina said the Unity Bank Corpreneurship Challenge has earned its pride of place in Nigeria as one of the country’s foremost business incubation platform and entrepreneurship development.
He said, “Unity Bank has sustained this Corpreneurship Challenge for the past five years, and throughout the period we have witnessed the tremendous impact it has had on youth empowerment and job creation in the country. And I believe that the innovative approach to entrepreneurship which the programme has adopted has enabled us to seamlessly integrate financial support, mentorship, and skill development to foster the growth of aspiring entrepreneurs.”
He added, “At its core, the initiative addresses the unique challenges faced by small and medium-sized enterprises, as they recognize the sector as the backbone of economic development. And Unity Bank’s commitment to financial inclusion is exemplified through tailored financial solutions that empower corp members to actualize their business dreams.”
Ojesina further explained that “the mentorship provided to participants adds unparalleled value, as it connects corp members with seasoned professionals who provide insights, guidance, and a roadmap for success,” emphasizing how Unity Bank recognizes that true empowerment extends beyond financial assistance to honing entrepreneurial skills”.
The Corpreneurship Challenge has earned the Bank national recognition for its impact on youth empowerment and job creation, just as the scheme continues to elicit growing interest among the corps members, attracting over 2000 applicants and participation in every edition.
In partnership with the NYSC Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development, SAED, the initiative prominently features a business pitch presentation that provides the participants with the opportunity to present their business plans and stand a chance to win up to N500,000 cash in the business grant.
So far, Unity Bank has invested over N100 million in the initiative which has now produced 148 winners since it was launched.