By Yinka Kolawole
BUDDING entrepreneurs have the chance to access N3 million seed capital in the seventh edition of the Building Entrepreneurs Today (BET) initiative of Diamond Bank Plc, with the commencement of the process of selection, training and empowerment of 50 entrepreneurs under the scheme.
BET is a capacity building and business education initiative of the bank aimed at generating interest in entrepreneurship and designed to support budding entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
According to the bank, the BET initiative is run in partnership with
the Enterprise Development Center (EDC) of Pan Atlantic University (PAU) to ensure that entrepreneurs in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are properly trained, equipped with up-to-date business knowledge and given enough capital to effectively play in the economy.
The scheme involves the selection of 50 entrepreneurs for six months entrepreneurial training programme. The best 15 entrepreneurs will be assigned to mentors to provide real life solutions to the mentees’ business challenges and the top five at the end of each season awarded financial grants of N3 million each as seed capital to take their business to the next level.
In a statement, Diamond Bank’s Head of Corporate Communications, Chioma Afe, said: “By helping entrepreneurs at the MSME sector to build capacity and providing them with seed capital, it is obvious that their chances of survival will be higher and they will be better positioned to continue to contribute to the nation’s GDP.”
Haowa Bello, CEO, Madame Coquette Ltd
Before joining BET, Madame Coquette was already 7 years in business but we were struggling. We make handbags – 70 percent handmade and 30 percent machine finished. BET taught me that it is possible to run a successful business.
The three to six months of training were the most useful periods of my business life. My relationship with my staff changed, the way I interact with my customers is different, the way we produce our bags are different, all thanks to BET. After my training, I was able to put structures, policies and things in place.
Abiodun Folawiyo, ShoeSpeed Interglobal
I had been into the shoemaking business for 15 years before I came across BET. I started making shoes as an undergraduate in the university. The BET experience was mind-blowing, it was educative and real. The respect and perception of my clients suddenly changed especially when they heard I was being trained at EDC.
The things I learnt made a 100 percent impact on me and my business, difference in sales before and after BET is a 100 percent over.
Ubong Odinefiong, Creative Director, Direction Apparel
Before joining BET, I was running my leather shoe business from my parent’s compound with just a stitching machine and one production person; we were producing an average of 4 shoes per week. I joined BET and it exposed me to the real way a successful business should be run. The seed capital greatly improved my business; I added 6 extra machines to my business and employed 5 more people. We increased production to about 50 pairs of foot wears per week and 200-350 shoes every month.
Kolawole Kuddus, Creative Director, Kola Kuddus Couture
I started my clothing business being a personal shopper before I proceeded to making my own pieces for men. BET made me realize the need to keep proper records in order to run a proper business. With the N3 million seed capital and trainings, I have been able to add extra machines, open a retail store and put my website in order to start an online business.