The Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation (ZSF), an economic empowerment organisation, has disbursed N7.45 million to winners of the Business Plan Competition (BPC) under its Entrepreneurship Development Project.
The Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the foundation, Prince Sulaiman Olagunju, told The Renaissance on Friday in Lagos that the competition started in March with obtaining of entry forms and submission of a business plan for evaluation by a team of consultants and economic experts.
He said the competition was the third in the series of the project which debuts in 2015 purposely to empower the Nigerian youth with “seed capital’’.
“This competition was put in place about three years ago to challenge the business creativity of our youths and develop their skills,’’ the executive director said.
Other objectives of the BPC, according to him, include: bring together business-minded Nigerian Youths to compete and showcase their creative ideas business plans, to appreciate the role of the Nigerian Youth in nation-building and to provide professional advice and mentorship to youths across the country.
“The idea is especially aimed at grooming and nurturing a new crop of small-scale entrepreneurs that will grow into doyen of Nigeria businessmen and women as well as employers of labour.
“With the encouraging progress of this programme in the last three years, ZSF has significantly contributed to the well-being of some Nigerians and by that token, helping to grow the nation’s economy.
“All successful applicants in the past have reported cheerful report of significant boost in their businesses.
“In spite of the current economic recession in the country, they are still doing well.
“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 become employers of labour,’’ Olagunju told The Renaissance.
Meanwhile, the Operation Manager of the foundation, Alhaji Ahmed Ma’aruf said 606 young entrepreneurs registered for the competition which was in two categories namely Gold Track and Ideal Track.
Ahmad told The Renaissance that the BPC was fast becoming more prominent among Nigeria youths as a window of charitable opportunity to start and grow their businesses.
According to him, 606 applications were received from across the country and was about 300 per cent higher than 165 applicants that entered the competition in 2016.
“The process leading to this ceremony was rigorous and painstaking.
“Our team of consultant adopted two screening approach to arrive at the final eight winners.
“The first procedure entail participants filling an online form, detailing vital and necessary information about their businesses.
“The information was then analysed and the best 20 applicants were invited for oral presentations/interview, from which the final eight winners emerged; four winners from each of the two categories,’’ Ahmad said.
The Renaissance reports that Muhammedmutiin Adewale Orunsolu, from Lagos State, emerged the first winner in the Growth Track competition and received N1.5 million while Hassan Mulikat Omobukola, also from Lagos State came second and collected N1 million.
Idris Alao from Lagos State and Hafeezo Hafeez Oguntola from Ogun State came third and fourth and received N750,000 and N500,000 respectively.
In the Ideal Track competition, Kazeem AbdulJaleel from Kano State came first and got N 1 million while runner-up is Kunle Sulayman Adeniyi from Kwara State, receiving N750,000 to grow his business.
Similarly, Laja Olugbenga Moshudi from Lagos State and Sule Habib Ogirima from Kogi State came third and fourth with prize capital of N500,000 and N250,000 respectively.
Consolation cash prize of N100,000 was also given to six entrepreneurs in each of the two categories, totalling N1.2 million for 12 recipients.