Ecobank Nigeria has been commended for supporting budding entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country. This came at the backdrop of the support provided by the bank to young entrepreneurs who were selected as beneficiaries of the ‘Unusual Entrepreneurs” program, an initiative of the Catholic Church of Divine Mercy, Lekki Lagos.
Speaking at the presentation of cheques to the 251 young entrepreneurs, the Parish Priest, Catholic Church of Divine Mercy, Lekki, Monsignor, Pascal Nweazeapu, said this action by Ecobank shows a clear alignment to the vison of supporting employment amongst the teeming youth population in the country. He noted that the scheme was initiated also to empower those who show demonstrable interest in business so that they can bring these ideas to fruition. The beneficiaries were given seed funding ranging from N50,000 to N1million to start their businesses during the church’s ‘Unusual Night of Praise” in Lagos,
Also speaking, Chairman of Unusual Entrepreneurs Committee and President of Transcorp Hotel, Mr. Valentine Ozigbo, said the ‘Unusual Entrepreneurs’ program was to empower the participants to grow their businesses, improve their economic status and fend for themselves and their families and also contribute meaningfully to nation’s economy.
Ozigbo added: “The essence is to be able to empower men and women economically as they are also filled spiritually. We believe that with this combination, they would have more reason to believe and trust in God. “But beyond that, they are able to fend for themselves, and those around them. We want them to run successful businesses, hence we matched them with mentors; people who have been so well established in what they do. So basically, they handhold them, watch them all through the journey, and we have seen a lot of testimonies already. We are highly delighted that Ecobank is partnering with us in this laudable initiative.’’
In his comment the Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan pledged the bank’s continuous support to budding entrepreneurs to enable them grow and nurture their businesses to support the rapid development of the nation’s economy. The managing director said the decision to partner with Unusual Entrepreneurs was part of a deliberate policy of the Bank to assist upcoming businesses to grow, stressing that the main objective of the pan African bank is to contribute to the economic development and financial integration of the continent.
Speaking in the same light, Executive Director, Commercial Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, Carol Oyedeji said the bank will avail the young entrepreneurs its cutting-edge technology, digital payment solutions, funding opportunities and lifestyle products to enable them achieve stability and profitability.
According to her, “To the beneficiaries of this year’s empowerment scheme, you have our full support. We pray that God gives you the grace to employ the capital, the learning, the mentoring and the networking to expand your business. We look forward to seeing your business become big enterprise in the nearest future.”
The “Unusual entrepreneurs” an initiative of the Catholic Church of Divine Mercy, Lekki , is aimed at providing funding, business training and mentorship for young entrepreneurs in Nigeria.