The Executive Director, Zakat and Sadaqah Foundation (ZSF), Prince Sulayman Olagunju has narrated how the foundation has been engaging youths to discourage them from seeking greener pasture outside the country.
He said grants and trainings worth hundreds of millions of naira have been extended to thousands of youths to start and nurture businesses in the country.
Prince Olagunju spoke during the seventh edition of the Business Plan Competition (BPC) tagged Entrepreneurship Development Training at Westwood Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Twenty-eight entrepreneurs went home with N12 million for emerging winners and runners-up in two categories.
According to Olagunju, the Entrepreneurship Development Project initiative was conceived and rolled out seven years ago to cater for teeming youths with business ideas.
He said: “We want them to believe that they can make it in this country with proper orientation and funding of their business ideas. We thank Allah that we’re achieving our goals because we have quite a number of youths doing well in the country. They are producing goods that people do import. They have equally become employer of labour.”
Chairman on the occasion, Hajia Thaibat Adeniran, urged Nigerians to find something valuable to do with their knowledge rather than seeking greener pastures in other countries.
Hajia Adeniran, the Managing Director of Hilal Takaful Nigeria Limited, said many people engaged in menial jobs abroad just to eke a living.
“Going abroad is not the solution; many cannot do things the way they do here over there. There is an opportunity for exportation of goods we can tap into and earn foreign currencies,” she said.
A screening consultant, Prof Khadijat Idowu from Accounting Department, Lagos State University, (LASU), Idowu observed that there are talented people among the competitors.
Many of them, she said, have much to offer to grow the economy, adding: “They have great business ideas that could grow our economy. They just need funds and conducive atmosphere . We’ve heard government talking about ease of doing business but the masses are not feeling the impact. The government should walk the talk,” she said.
A member of the foundation’s Advisory Board, Mr Shuaib Idris, said brain drain is a global challenge.
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