In line with the mandate of providing relief and financial support to Nigerians irrespective of their religious and ethnic backgrounds, Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation (ZSF) has empowered new corps of small-scale entrepreneurs.
The group rewarded eight winners whom were selected out of the 606 youths that applied for the third edition of its entrepreneurship development project tagged: “Business Plan Competition (BPC)” in Lagos.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, the Chairman, Advisory Board, Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation, Alhaji Umaru Abdul Mutalib, said Nigeria economy depend on the small and medium enterprises for development of the country, adding that “the Small Scale Entrepreneurs (SMEs) of today are the conglomerate of tomorrow, this program is very critical to the economic development of Nigeria because it provides employment to teeming population. Anybody that supports this type of initiative for the youth is doing a lot of favour to the nation.”
Umaru said the government has a lot responsibility in providing enabling environment before other stakeholders like Zakat and Sadakat Foundation can come to assist in achieving the goals and objectives of the government.
“Enabling environment in terms of infrastructure including power, water and basic things of life and how quick to set up a business in Nigeria is the basic function of the government,” he said, adding that the government should support and make it easy for people to set up small-scale business before it grows into large scale.
He appealed to the benefactors of the programme to use the fund judiciously to assist the foundation to sustain the trust reposed in it by the promoters.
“This foundation would achieve its objective only when you have succeeded. It is your success story the foundation will record and report as its success. If you want this project to continue and benefit more Nigerians including your own siblings and children or the children of your brothers and sisters, you must justify this award with unalloyed commitment, dedication and hard work to grow your businesses to enviable level,” he said.
The Executive Director of Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation, Prince Sulayman Olagunju, said the entrepreneurship development project was put in place about three years ago to challenge the business creativity of youths and develop their skills.
“The idea was specifically aimed at grooming and nurturing new corps of small scale entrepreneurs that will grow into doyen of Nigeria business and employers of labour. With an encouraging success of this programme in the last three years, the foundation has significantly contributed to the wellbeing of some Nigerians and economic growth of the country.”
According to him, the process leading to the presentation ceremony has been rigorous and painstaking. “Within the period of call for proposals, about 606 youths applied. Our team of consultants adopted two screening approaches to arrive at the final eight winners. The first procedure entails participants filling an online form detailing vital and necessary information about their businesses. The information was analyzed and the best twenty applicants were invited for oral presentation and interview after which the final eight were selected, four winners from each category and the 6 runner ups in both categories who receive a consolation cash prize award of N100,000 each.”