- Heritage Bank Offers N50m Grant to Entrepreneurs
Heritage Bank Plc said it has gone into partnership with the Nigerian Young Professionals Forum (NYPF) in an initiative aimed at supporting young entrepreneurs with grant of N50 million.
The grant was awarded to about 35 young entrepreneurs from agricultural, creative industry and the information & communication technology (ICT) sector after a rigorous and transparent review process conducted by an independent body, out of the tens of thousands who applied for the grant.
The bank explained in a statement that the initiative was part of its contribution to help steer the economy out of recession.
Speaking at a ceremony held in Lagos, the Managing Director/CEO of Heritage Bank, Mr. Ifie Sekibo, who said the nation’s economy had experienced severe economic downturn, affirmed that the 35 successful entrepreneurs would be provided with the required guidance on fund management as individual beneficiaries would get at most N2million each.
Sekibo, who was represented by the Divisional Head, Retail/SME, Mrs. Ori Ogba, stated that the bank supported the initiative because of its believe in Nigerian youths, who make up about 80 per cent of the country’s population.
He further explained that Heritage Bank was impressed with the nature in which talents were sought out for, the rigorous selection process and the integrity with which the overall scheme was delivered.
Sekibo expressed satisfaction in the long term sustainability of the initiative, stating, “We will not support something that will not stand the test of time.”
In his remarks, the Chairman/Founder of the NYPF, Mr. Moses Siasia, said the idea of the grant was born out of the desperation of young Nigerians to build businesses in an economy fraught with a seemingly endless onslaught of challenges.
He explained that the society does not encourage young talents and innovations, while stating that the country is yet to tap up to five per cent of its youthful resource. He called on all stakeholders to see youth growth as a priority for National development.
Siasia commended Heritage Bank for its support to SME growth in Nigeria. According to him, Heritage Bank was the only bank that had entered into partnership with NYPF on this scheme after being turned down by other potential sponsors and appealed to all young people in the country to see the bank as their wealth partner.
YESGrant Brand Ambassador Mrs. Stephanie Okereke-Linus congratulated the winners of the grants and praised Heritage Bank for its commitment to young people. She advised other banks to emulate Heritage Bank, while seeking beneficiaries to put the money received to good use.