(Entrepreneurs) Get Free Training, $60,000 Grants From Foundation

Efforts to bolster Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) were further enhanced over the weekend with the conclusion of training for approximately 150 entrepreneurs across Nigeria by the non-governmental organization CONNAK Foundation Entrepreneurship Initiative, COFEI.

The CONNAK Foundation Entrepreneurship Initiative (COFEI) recently concluded a rigorous 12-week training program for about 150 entrepreneurs across Nigeria.

The training took place at various boot camps in Abuja, Lagos, and Abia and through intensive online sessions.

The training program conducted by COFEI covered various aspects of entrepreneurship, including business planning, market research, financial management, marketing strategies, customer relations, and legal considerations.

Participants received practical insights, tools, and techniques to navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship and build sustainable businesses.

The initiative, led by CEO Carole Emeka-Sunday, aimed to foster economic independence among the country’s youth.

The entrepreneurs, who hailed from diverse sectors such as fashion, agriculture, and ICT, were allowed to defend their business plans.

Out of the 150 participants, 50 were selected to receive start-up grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, totaling $60,000.

The foundation has designed modalities and mechanisms to monitor the progress of the grant recipients.

During the COFEI grant award ceremony in Abuja over the weekend, Carole Emeka-Sunday, the CEO of COFEI, spoke to reporters. She emphasized that the initiative aims to foster economic independence among the country’s youth.

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Carole revealed that the foundation has implemented a system to track the progress of the grant recipients.

She explained: “Initially, we had about 10,000 registrants, and eventually, 150 made it to the boot camps—the rigorous process involved reading, attending classes, writing midterm and bi-weekly tests, and final exams.

This rigorous process eliminated many participants who were accustomed to easy money.

As a result, we were left with 150 committed individuals.

“Our goal is to cultivate more individuals like Dangote. We aspire to see economically independent youths and Nigerians. We aim to establish more foundations like CONNAK.”

“The entrepreneurs who participated in our program come from various sectors, including fashion, agriculture, and ICT. We have fish farmers and other agriculturists under the agriculture sector. After a year, we plan to review their progress and recognize the best business that aligns with our vision.”

Emeka-Sunday expressed the foundation’s ambition to “raise more Dangotes” and replicate more CONNAK Foundations, emphasizing the importance of economically independent youths and Nigerians.

She also called on the Federal Government to prioritize entrepreneurs and ensure more funding to develop their initiatives.

The lead facilitator for the COFEI program, Dr Emeka Onachukwu, highlighted the importance of giving each participant a fair opportunity and stressed the need for the government to prioritize entrepreneurship in the country.

This initiative by the CONNAK Foundation is a significant step towards fostering entrepreneurship and economic growth in Nigeria.

At the event, one of the recipients, Engr. Chigozie Aka expressed his appreciation for the grant he received from the foundation.

He shared: “I am thrilled to be here today. It’s been quite some time since I completed my studies.”

“I am engaged in research and development. One of my inventions is a headlamp Dimmer, a device designed for every car in Nigeria.

The chip in the device dims the headlight when another vehicle approaches at night, reducing the glare for the oncoming driver.

Once the vehicles are about 50 meters apart, the chip automatically dims the light and turns it back on once the vehicles have passed each other.

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I have showcased this invention to the Road Safety and Standard Organisation of Nigeria, SON.

Additionally, I have invented an engine that operates on the force of gravity instead of fuel.”

Another recipient, Happiness Friday, who is involved in producing maggots for feed and other agricultural purposes, expressed that the grant would significantly contribute to expanding her business.

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