Determined to eradicate poverty from the country, Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation (ZSF) has empowered new corps of small-scale entrepreneurs to be economic independent and boost the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The group rewarded eight winners who were selected out of the 606 youths that applied for the third edition of its entrepreneurship development project tagged: “Business Plan Competition (BPC)” in Lagos.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, the Chairman, Advisory Board, Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation, Alhaji Umaru Abdul Mutalib, said Nigeria economy depend on the small and medium enterprises for development of the country, adding that “the Small Scale Entrepreneurs (SMEs) of today are the conglomerate of tomorrow, this program is very critical to the economy development of Nigeria because it provide employment to teeming population. Anybody that support this type of initiative for the youth is doing a lot of favour to the nation,”
Umaru said the government has a lot responsibility in providing enabling environment before other stakeholders like Zakat and Sadakat Foundation can come to assist in achieving the goals and objective of the government.
He urged government to provide an enabling environment for SMEs adding that the youth should be gainfully employed.
“The government should support and make it easy for people to set up small-scale business before it grows into large scale. A supporting environment is a conglomeration of so many things including infrastructure. Provision of social amenities and easy registration of business with the government will enable youths the opportunities to set up SMES.”
He appealed to the benefactors of the program to use the fund judiciously to assist the foundation to sustain the trust identify with the foundation’s aims, particularly in the areas of eradicating poverty and bringing the gap between the rich and the poor.
The Executive Director of Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation, Prince Sulayman Olagunju, said the entrepreneurship development project was put in place about three years ago to challenge the business creativity of youths and develop their skills.
“The idea was specifically aimed at grooming and nurturing new crops of small scale entrepreneurs that will grow into doyen of Nigeria business and employers of labour. With an encouraging success on this programe in the last three years, zakat and Sadaqat foundation have significantly contributed to the wellbeing of some Nigerians and economic growth of the country”.
“The process leading to this ceremony has been rigorous and painstaking. Within the period of call for proposals, about 606 youths applied. Our team of consultant adopted two screening approach to arrive at the final 8 winners. The first procedure entails participants filling an online form detailing vital and necessary information about their businesses. These information was analyzed and the best twenty applicants were invited for oral presentation and interview after which the final 8 were selected, four winners from each category and the 6 runner ups in both categories who receive a consolation cash prize award of N100,000 each.
Olagunju appealed to the winners to make judicious use of the fund allocated to them, just like previous winners have done. “It is our hope that in not too distant future, we shall celebrate many of the past recipients that have turned around their businesses, recorded impressive returns and have added more hands. It is my hope and prayer that some of today’s recipient will be part of the future celebration”.
The Chief Executive Officer of Baytuzzeenah, Hajia Saidat Otiti, urged the winners to key into the global initiative locally and internationally. If the award is used judiciously, it will be easy to get people to support the charity initiatives.