In a bid to encourage young entrepreneurs in Akwa Ibom State to take advantage of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s Enterprise Development Drive, the State Commissioner for Labour and Manpower Planning, Pastor Sunny Ibuot, has charged young business owners to always strive for value and service delivery.

Pastor Ibuot, who gave the charge at the Conference Room of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly on Friday during the cheque presentation ceremony for February Edition winners of the Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey Youth Entrepreneurship Support Scheme (RHAB-YESS), urged the beneficiaries to make real the aim and essence of the scheme by becoming employers of labour.

Using Biblical principles, the Commissioner for Labour and Manpower Planning, who was a Special Guest at the event, admonished the young business owners to continually adhere to virtues of hard work, commitment, dedication and passion in their respective trades.

While commending the contributions of RHAB-YESS to youth development and job creation in line with what his Ministry is doing, Pastor Ibuot supported beneficiaries with the sum of N300,000 and also urged well-to-do members of the society and corporate organizations to key into the programme.

He further appealed to the winners to be prudent and make good use of the seed money given to them by RHAB-YESS.

Also speaking, the Project Manager of Jiu Hua Nigeria Company Limited, Mr. Wilson Wu, while assisting in the presentation of Cheques to the winners, congratulated the beneficiaries and urged them to make RHAB-YESS’ investment in them count.

He hinted that Jiu Hua Nigeria Company Limited, a reputable Chinese Furniture company, is currently training three youth under the RHAB-YESS Skill Empowerment programme in woodwork and metal fabrication as part of its Social Corporate Responsibility to Akwa Ibom State.

In his remarks, the sponsor of the scheme, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey, who was represented by the Director of Account in the State House of Assembly, Sir Jeremiah Efe, said “the scheme is aimed at discovering, mentoring and supporting young entrepreneurs to financial greatness. It completely complements Governor Udom Emmanuel’s Enterprise Development Drive.”

He urged winners of the programme to see their prize money as seed funds that will catapult their businesses to the next level and appealed to them to be discipline with time and finance.

“In RHAB-YESS, our approach to young entrepreneurs and women are holistic through capital financing and funding of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MEMEs), skill empowerment of artisans and educational support to indigent students. This approach is hinged on the fact that MSMEs are responsible for significant employment and income generation opportunities across the world. We have also identified MSMEs as key drivers of poverty alleviation and development,” he explained.

The Manager of the Scheme, Mr. Darlington Udobong, who took time to brief the guest about RHAB-YESS, said “being an indigene of Akwa Ibom State remains the only eligibility to the scheme. So far, we have supported 45 businesses, done 14th editions, covered 31 LGAs, trained 28 artisans and given 322 special supports.”

He added that “winners are chosen through an online contest that allows the public to comment (vote) on any video of their choice. The video must capture applicant’s bio data and what he or she does as an entrepreneur and with that, he or she is good-to-go.”

The event was graced by a staff of the Victor Attah International Airport, Mr. Uduak Okokon; Chief of Staff to the Speaker, Mr. Charles Iwatt, and Personal Assistant to the Speaker on General Duties, Mr. Godswill Bassey.

Winners of the February Edition included Iniobong Columbus Ekong (N250,000), a Poultry Farmer from Eket LGA; Caroline Sylvanus Udofia (N150,000), a Fashion Designer from Essien Udim LGA and Godwin Lawrence Nsewo (N100,000), a Poultry Farmer.

Special support was also given to two local musicians from Uruan LGA, Solomon Sunday Okon (N150,000) and Moses Eyo (N150,000).

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