It needs not end in words only that “youths are the future and leaders of tomorrow”, and need to unlock their potentials; but in actions of propagators of these often used words. In the past 35 years – 1982 to 2017, Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, has been putting words to action in the development of youths, by annually investing on youths.
Friday, December 22, 35 graduates of its 2017 Regional LiveWIRE Entrepreneurial Programme earned N14 million from the Oil giant. Cheques for N400,000 as start-up grant were distributed to each beneficiary, in Effurun, Delta State.
At the cheque presentation event, John Uduaghan, SPDC Infrastructural Manager, who represented the General Manager, External Relations, Igho Weli, said the youth enterprise development programme, launched in 2003, has produced 6,687 Niger Delta Entrepreneurs. The programme is targeted at communities in the region to inspire, encourage and support youths to start own business or expand existing ones.
Weli said: “We do this by providing them with requisite training and start-up finance with the hope that with legitimate alternative means of livelihood, our young men and women will shun vices. These beneficiaries went through the entrepreneurship training, wrote business plans; pitched their business ideas and at the end 35 best-performing beneficiaries were selected”.
He said: “They will be receiving awards of business start-up grant and with the grant; we expect that they will be able to successfully establish their businesses”. Shell LiveWIRE Nigeria programme was part of the global Shell LiveWIRE social investment programme which enables young people start their own businesses and create employment.
Shell LiveWIRE Nigeria, according to Weli, has won several awards, including Social Enterprise Award in 2010 and the African Leadership Award for Youth Development in 2011. He outlined benefits of LiveWIRE programme to include offering beneficiaries opportunity to compete for the Global Shell LiveWIRE Top Ten Investors Award. Two Nigerians, Deborah Atalor and Precious Adeho emerged winners in 2017 edition.
Weli added: “At the national level five beneficiaries of our LiveWIRE programme won the Federal Government” YOU WIN” award in 2014 and 2015, also 10 beneficiaries won Tony Elumelu Foundation Award among others”.