Intafact Foundation Offers N50m to Grow SME Business


Emma Okonji

Intafact Hero’s Foundation, a Corporate Social Investment (CSI) initiative of Intafact Beverages Limited, has offered to pay a cumulative sum of N50 million to 120 indigenous youths of Anambra State to help them grow their small scale businesses.
The initiative is designed to support and build the youths in the state who are regarded as the nucleus of future development.

The donation was made recently when the Obi of Onitsha, His Majesty, Nnaemeka Achebe, hosted the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, during the award ceremony where the cheques were given out.

The measure is to address the difficulties faced by technology startups that have small business, but with great solutions that could address specific challenges.

The niche about the initiative is the policy for Intafact as a company to be part of the community in which it does its business, investing in indigenes of its host communities so that both the company and the community can prosper and grow to be mutually dependent on each other. It is a movement that takes consumers away from large, impersonal big-box retailers and introduces them to the people doing business in their very own communities.

According to the Obi, who is also the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Intafact Hero’s Foundation, the entries were generated from a pool of over 1,700 applications from budding entrepreneurs within the age range of 18-35 years who turned in their proposals for various business initiatives.

Achebe said: “We were clearly impressed by the load of responses from the youths. As we can all see, this clearly are the signs that our people do not want to wait for opportunity to be thrust at them but would rather reach out and do something for themselves. Going by this trend, they shall possibly be employers of labour in the near future. I hope that the valuable lessons learnt during the training become lifetime lessons.”

While addressing the audience, Obiano said, “The state government and people are very happy that private organisations are collaborating with the government to fight poverty and unemployment in the state. This Intafact project has greatly empowered our young population to greater productivity through the scheme and we are satisfied with the progress which Intafact Beverages Limited continues to make. Our position derives from both the perspective of a government in whose territory it is based, and as investor in the company. Intafact Beverages Limited remains a case study in the investor friendly approach of the Anambra State government.”

The beneficiaries thanked God for the gesture from Intafact Hero’s Foundation, and they became more excited when they learnt that the seed money does not require repayment of any kind. Rather, it is most definitely an attractive financial consideration for entrepreneurs and small businesses with take-off cash available for start-up.

The Intafact Hero’s Foundation programme is aimed at instilling a culture of entrepreneurship among the youth in South eastern Nigeria, especially those resident in Anambra state, by encouraging them to develop their big ideas into sustainable businesses or expand their existing businesses through the provision of material and financial support. The scheme is a poverty alleviation programme aimed at creating sustainable enterprise development in its areas of operation. It is also designed to assist young people build enduring entrepreneurial business skills.

For this purpose, the shortlisted 120 business owners were trained at the Chike Okoli Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies. There they were collectively mentored by Prof. Alex Ikeme and Prof. Ngozi Anyikwa. Thereafter, the short-listed business fledglings underwent five days grooming and submitted their business proposals, by which they were adjudged by a panel of five judges.