NIGERIA – International Breweries Plc, ABInBev’s subsidiary in Nigeria, has flagged off the 2019 edition of Kickstart, an innovative youth entrepreneurship programme.

The programme empowers young people with the financial capability and training to implement different entrepreneurial ventures.

The company also unveiled its new foundation, International Breweries Foundation.

‘Kickstart’ was introduced in 2016 to empower young entrepreneurs in the country with entrepreneurial skills aimed at unlocking the country’s potential.

The programme, which was initially available to youths in the South East and South West, has now expanded countrywide following the newly established Foundation.

This year edition has consolidated the management of all corporate social investment (CSI) initiatives of the company.

The initiative will mainly focus on critical areas of agriculture, recycling, manufacturing, healthcare, education, ICT, water stewardship, climate action and crafts among others.

The initiative reaffirms the company’s support for Nigeria’s attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular Goal 8 on Decent Work and Economic Growth, and five other related goals.

Managing Director, International Breweries Plc, Mrs. Annabelle Degroot, espoused the power of transformational entrepreneurship noting that the initiative was funded by the company’s Hero and Trophy brands.

“Globally, the power of transformational entrepreneurship to impact growth has become increasingly compelling especially in developing economies like ours.

“Entrepreneurship helps to create new products and business models, even while availing entrepreneurs fulfilling and dignified livelihoods,” he said.

The foundation’s advisory board, chaired by Mr Peter Bamkole said: “KickStart draws its name from the objective of the initiative, which is to empower young entrepreneurs with the basic essentials to kick-start or start-up their business ventures.”

According to the company’s Legal & Corporate Affairs Director, Otunba Michael Daramola, 184 youths have so far received grants totalling US$750,987 (N271.129 million) under Kickstart.

He said that 571 additional jobs had been created with 1,392 jobs projected by 2021.

“We have seen young Nigerians excel in interesting and diverse industries. From arts and crafts to circular packaging, from water stewardship to agriculture, our young Kickstart beneficiaries are blazing a trail in different facets of entrepreneurship in our country,” he added.

Beneficiaries go through an intensive training programme after which seed capital, up to US$8,300 (N3million) each, is made available to successful entrepreneurs.