Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation (ZSF), a faith-based economic empowerment organisation has assisted no fewer than 99 entrepreneurs with N46.7 million the last five years to grow their businesses.
The Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the foundation, Prince Sulayman Olagunju made the revelation at the fifth edition of the Award/Prize Giving Ceremony and Certificate Presentation to winners of the Business Plan Competition (BPC) in Lagos.
The competition, Olagunju said, was a project under the Entrepreneurship Development Project through which the foundation supports ideas and businesses worthy of financial assistance.
He said the winners were screened by a team of experts in the field of entrepreneurship and empowerment schemes on behalf of the foundation.
“BPC is an Entrepreneurship Development Project (EDP) used to commemorate the United Nations World Youth Day which holds annually on Aug. 12.
“However, we were unable to hold it as scheduled due to the Sallah celebration that was marked in August.
“The project is also poised to bring together business-minded youths to compete and showcase their creative ideas and business plan; empower them with adequate seed capital and provide professional advice and mentorship to the youths across the country,” Olagunju said.
He said each of the 10 winners this year received N1 million, and 10 runners-up got N200,000 each.
“As it has become our norm to appeal and remind our winners and runners-up that the grant given to them is neither a national cake nor a free fund.
“It is the hard-earned monies and the fruits of the sweat of our generous donors who have entrusted their charities to us for onward distribution to rightful beneficiaries.
“Therefore, I implore you all to help keep the trust.
“Most of the past winners have done well and that is why we have been able to continue this noble project and also gather here to celebrate you.
“It is gratifying to state that many of the previous winners are now donating to the foundation in kind and cash.
“I hope and pray that today’s winners and runners-up will emulate their predecessors,” he said.
Jaiz Bank’s Managing Director/CEO, Mr Hassan Usman, who chaired the occasion, commended the foundation for contributing to the development of Small-to-medium enterprise in the country.
Represented by Deputy Managing Director, Alhaji Mahe Abubakar, Usman urged the foundation to remain focus and deepen its intervention to widen the socioeconomic safety net for unemployed youths.
“I congratulate the winners and runners-up and urge you all to make the best use of the funds in order to improve your standards of living.
“No doubt, the process of screening and selecting the winners as well as the runner-ups is not an easy task.
“I commend the panel of experts that conducted this exercise for a job well done.
“I also commend all the staff of the foundation for their untiring efforts to move the foundation forward,” Usman said.
The General Manager of the Nasrul-lahi-li Fathi Society of Nigeria (NASFAT) Agency for Zakat and Sadaqat (NAZAS), Mr Mufutau Adelotan, urged the winners to use the fund judiciously.
Adelotan said ZSF and NAZAS were partners in charity collection and support for the downtrodden.
He said Zakat collection was not about competition but collaboration “because we are all working towards achieving success in this world and hereafter as ordained by Allah.
“It is all about seeing people doing well; we appreciate what ZSF has been doing,” he said.
By our Correspondent