By Olayinka Owolewa
The Kwara State Government has announced plans to support young entrepreneurs in the state with huge interest-free loans, under an ambitious initiative of Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to invest in and raise a new generation of successful young men and women.
The announcement was contained in a statement, on Monday, by the Acting General Manager of the Kwara State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP), Mohammed Brimah.
Kwapreneur, which is open to indigenes of the state that are not more than 35 years old, with viable and scalable business ideas, is touted as one of Nigeria’s biggest investments in businesses owned by young people .
Coordinated by the KWASSIP Office, registration for the programme opened from Monday, May 10, to May 18, at http://www.Kwapreneurs.com, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports.
Brimah disclosed that no fewer than 300 young entrepreneurs, with viable business proposals, were being targeted under the first phase of the programme, with a total target of 1,200 young people across four years.
He explained that successful applicants would be trained and supported with interest free loans, ranging from N350,000 to N3,000,000 each, depending on the scale of their proposed businesses.
The KWASSIP chief executive further said that Kwapreneur had been designed to harness the potentials of enterprising youths and raise a new generation of leaders, through sustainable empowerment, thereby spurring socio-economic growth and job creation in the state.
“Young people are to the nation what the heart is to the body. They drive and make it beat. Kwara, under this administration, believes in the talent and industry of her youths.
“To hasten economic development, we need them to become employers of labour. This is why we are supporting young people, with visionary ideas, with interest-free loans for their businesses,” he said.
The application process would be in stages, including idea pitching and presentations, and training on business development, before disbursement of the funds, Brimah stated.
“Youth-oriented programmes under KWASSIP are numerous. We have previously organised training for about 15,000 youths in basic digital skills, while we are looking to hit the 30, 000 mark in the next two years.
“Kwapreneur is also a sub-programme under K-power — a component for youths engagement and development,” He added.
Brimah said young people involved in high-potential business areas like agro-processing, logistics, transportation, among others, are particularly encouraged to apply.
He added: “No Kwaran covered in this age bracket is excluded. All entries will be judged by experts and professionals on their economic value.
“The most viable ideas will find their way through. We have put in place a free, fair and credible process to make it work.
“It is a non-interest loan. The icing on the cake is that beneficiaries have three months moratorium on the loans before they start repaying in tranches.
“Kwapreneur is a good opportunity to move from unemployed to employer of labour and we trust that the youths will make the best of it.”(NAN)