By Chijioke Okoronkwo
A group, “Friends of Prof.” has announced the commencement of the 2021 edition of its empowerment programme in honour of Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo’s 64th Birthday.
The group, which comprises friends and associates of Osinbajo, in a statement on Sunday in Abuja, said it was building on the success recorded in 2020 with an expansion in the scope of the programme.
It called on young Nigerians to use the opportunity created by the group to benefit from the programmes.
On Osinbajo’s 63rd birthday, 100 young entrepreneurs received grants of N1 million each to help grow and advance their businesses, among other incubator support services from the group.
The “Friends of Prof’ conceptualised ‘The March 8th Initiative” to inspire and promote communal, entrepreneurial and public-spirited endeavours within Nigeria to celebrate the birthday of Osinbajo.
It said that in addition to the Entrepreneurship Development Programme, the March 8th Initiative would recognise health workers nationwide.
According to the statement, health workers to be recognised were those, who in the face of a global pandemic, demonstrated exemplary courage and professionalism in carrying out their duties.
“The March 8th Initiative” is expanding its reach and scope with a view to impacting a broader spectrum of Nigerians.
“First, the Annual Entrepreneurship Development Programme has been reorganised into four categories providing more opportunities for young Nigerians between 18 and 35 years old, giving one-off business grants, ranging from N100,000 to N1 million to small businesses in Nigeria.
“The four categories cover varying stages of small business growth as follows: Big Idea Business Challenge, Business Support Challenge, Catalyst Support Challenge and the Bold Innovation Challenge.”
“Individuals are requested to nominate any health worker who has shown these qualities for a reward of N1 million under a Health Grant Reward Category that acknowledges their invaluable service to our communities.
“Additionally, the “March 8th Initiative” is undertaking a nationwide Ophthalmological intervention to provide succour in the form of surgeries and other therapeutic care for cataract and other eye defects.”
It said that entries would open at 12.00am on March 8, and close at 11:59pm on March 14.
The statement said that all the entries except those for “My Big Idea Business Challenge” must be submitted at www.march8th.ng.
“The group is calling on Nigerians to visit the website to nominate the deserving health worker of their choice, as well as to apply for any of the grant categories that is applicable to them.”
It said that other activities lined up at different locations across the country, included an empowerment scheme for the poor and vulnerable in Lafia.
The statement added that there would also be an inauguration of four borehole projects in Lafia, Nasarawa State, on March 8 all in honour of the vice president. (NAN)