A soap and toiletries maker and a budding fashion designer have won the joint Lift Saxum/Ola Ndi Igbo Entrepreneurship Award aimed at encouraging young people and women in particular to learn the ropes of venturing.
Miss Kosisochukwu Agbo, who makes soaps, detergents and air fresheners and Miss Mary Jane Onyia, a budding fashion designer, won the Business Plan Competition Award sponsored by Ola Ndi Igbo and organised by Lift Saxum.
The grant from Ola Ndi Igbo gives three youths and two women entrepreneurship training and then avails them with a mini-grant of N50, 000 each to the two with the best viable business plan.
In January 2016, Ola Ndi Igbo gave mini-grants to some non-governmental organizations based in the South East to support their activities. Lift Saxum Ltd/GTE received a grant of N250, 000.
Ola Ndi Igbo is a biennial summit convened to promote values-driven change in Igbo land and celebrate notable Igbo achievers all over the world who have demonstrated excellence, values-based leadership, and a work ethic to rise to the top of their professions. The grant by Ola Ndi Igbo recognizes the challenges faced by micro-entrepreneurs in the sourcing of capital and also effectively running their businesses.
Lift Saxum is a non-profit organisation established to transform the enterprise development landscape and the lives of youth and women in Nigeria, with a focus on the South East. Lift Saxum office is at no 36B Udenweze Street, New Haven, Enugu. Since incorporation in 2013 the organization has trained over 64 youth and women on their flagship programs, Start Your Own Business (SYOB) and Enterprising Women (EW).
Lift Saxum CEO Mrs. Nwanneka Okoro, a barrister and former Business Development Manager and Group Head Public Sector Business Enugu/Ebonyi at First Bank, said the organization has also trained 80 rural women on the Songhai Integrated Farming Techniques, home craft, and life skills. As part of its rural outreach program, Lift Saxum has sensitized and trained over 300 secondary school pupils on skills acquisition.
Speaking at the award ceremony, Lift Saxum Chairman, Elder Kalu Uke Kalu lauded the initiative of Ola Ndi Igbo for equipping the young with the skills and means to improve their businesses. He commended the awardees for coming out tops of the five people trained in their category. He advised them to strive harder to make a success of their businesses as their success would be a reflection of the efforts of Ola Ndi Igbo and Lift Saxum.
In her speech, Mrs. Grace Nwobodo, Executive Director of South Sahara Social Development Organization (SSSDO), the non-profit organization overseeing the activities of Ola Ndi Igbo, congratulated the awardees and said that they deserved the honour because more often than not people are too busy to celebrate success. She stated that the aim of SSSDO is to attain sustainable development in society for all. SSSDO, she added, is warehousing the Ola Ndi Igbo project because the ideals of both organizations have a meeting point. She commended Lift Saxum for judiciously utilizing the grant from Ola Ndi Igbo and for also being the first of the grantees to complete prosecution of the project.
In her speech, Mrs. Nwanneka Okolo, Founder/Executive Director of Lift Saxum extolled this excellent initiative by Ola Ndi Igbo. She said that more often than not entrepreneurs neither have money to start their own business, take it to the next level nor do they have the means to avail themselves of entrepreneurial training.
She said that studies have shown that at least 70% of small scale businesses die in the first year of operation and that owners of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) who have undergone business training fare a lot better than those who did not receive such training.
She further stated that in the course of prosecuting Lift Saxum mandate, it became evident that many youths of the South East have lost focus and direction. Consequently, Lift Saxum commenced and is sustaining general mobilization and sensitization of the young people by holding sessions in-house and also going to interact and educate them at their meetings/gatherings, all in a bid to instill behavioral change.