No fewer than 50 emerging entrepreneurs have benefited from the 2nd edition of the North East Small Business Seminar and Financial Intervention Support.
The Intervention Programme which was jointly organised by Nigerian leading faith-based non-profit organisation, Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation (Z&S) and the American University of Nigeria (AUN) took place recently in the institution’s library.
The Entrepreneurship Development Programme is designed to develop and promote the artisans, petty traders and small businesses in the North East.
The event amongst others is geared towards tackling steadily, the environmental challenges faced by artisans, petty traders and small scale businesses in their quest to grow Adamawa state and the North East region.
Addressing the guests and all present at the event, the Project Director and Assistant Director of AUN Centre for Entrepreneurship, Dr Lukman AbdurRaheem, noted that the center has overtime empowered not less than 90 beneficiaries for direct cash disbursement with more women as beneficiaries in satisfaction of the Goal 5 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations.
In his words, he said “More importantly, the Centre, in conjunction with ZSF empowered 41 beneficiaries in 2018, but today, a total of 50 small businesses would benefit from the Financial Intervention Support fully financed by ZSF as direct cash disbursement. The amount to be given would range from N20,000 to N45,000 based on the business types and sophistication.”
“The beneficiaries to be supported today have been pre-screened through a competitive selection process by our strategic partners namely: AUN Community Engagement & Service Learning Unit, Adamawa Chambers of Commerce, Goggoji Zummunch Initiatives and another Women Group under Mrs. Djattu Bala. We hope to increase the number of beneficiaries next year God willing,” he added.
According to him, “Uniquely, this year, 41 beneficiaries corresponding to 82% are women, while 9 beneficiaries approximately18% are men. The Centre gave more preference to female-owned small businesses in order to build their capacities in the state in the face of poverty, growth challenges and exclusion.
“It is also instructive to note that Gender Equality (women’s equality and empowerment) occupies Goal 5 in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and achievement of other SDGs depends on Goal 5. The United Nations stated that, gender equality is ‘a fundamental human right’, and represents ‘an important foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world’,” he added.
On the proposed effect and outcome of the Programme, Dr Lukman noted that “The anticipated outcomes of our carefully designed programmes including the present ones are to Improve capacities for artisans, petty traders and small businesses in the state and to Improve products and services of the artisans, petty traders and small businesses.”
“Also, to increase self-employment and more extended job opportunities for others, enhancement of youth engagement leading to reduction of criminal activities and insecurity; reduction in poverty and its consequences of hopelessness and helplessness, and contribution to the actualisation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
Dr AbdurRaheem further revealed that the Centre which initially had two partners in the previous year has had more come on board.
“It is exciting to report that last year, the Centre had only two partners, but this year, more partners came on board – an indication that our outreach programme is gaining acceptability and visibility in the state. Just last week at an external event in Jimeta, North-East Innovation Hub and CISCO Nigeria indicated interest in working with the Centre in areas of mutual benefits.
“We welcome more collaborations and partnerships from public and private organisations as well as from faith-based organisations (FBOs). AUN Centre for Entrepreneurship is open to all, provided their goals align and fit into our mandates and objectives,” he emphasised.