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Npower News: Ex-Beneficiaries Appeal to FG for Startup Loans

Ex-beneficiaries of the Npower scheme have appealed to the Federal Government to fulfill its promise of startup capital for the exited beneficiaries.

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Npower

After more than 18 months, ex-beneficiaries of the Npower scheme have appealed to the Federal Government to fulfill its promise of startup capital for the exited beneficiaries.

The beneficiaries who gathered in Bauchi State, the home state of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Faruk lamented that after submitting their business plan, the government has not gotten back to them on the promised loan.

A leader of the group simply identified as Salihu Umaru noted that the exited Npower beneficiaries attended training in March 2022 organised by the ministry of humanitarian affairs in conjunction with the CBN where they were assured of government loans.

Umaru noted that while they appreciate the federal government’s gesture to allow them to volunteer for more than three years, they however need government intervention to be financially independent.

“At this point, the peaceful and law-abiding N-power beneficiaries in Bauchi State on behalf of all other beneficiaries in Nigeria are appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, through the office of the minister to fulfill the long-awaited promise to N-power volunteers for them to become self-reliant,” Umaru stated.

Investors King understands that the Batch A beneficiaries of the Npower scheme who were engaged in 2016 spent more than three years. The extension of their programme was due to the 2019 general election.

Meanwhile, the management of the Npower scheme has called for patience while it resolves all payment backlogs as well as the August stipend. 

Investors King had reported that NASIM which is the management platform for the Npower scheme revealed its technical team is working hard to clear all backlogs which are a result of technical errors. It also noted that the August stipend will be paid soon.

The assurance and clarification became necessary when a number of Npower Batch C, Stream 2 beneficiaries expressed concern about the delayed payment of the August stipend. Many of them have taken to social media to express their displeasure about the delayed payment.

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Brain Drain is Really Brain Gain in Greece

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Brain Drain

By Dimitris Tsingos, Founder, Starttech Ventures

The tech talent shortage in Greece is often blamed on the so-called “brain drain”. But I see nothing wrong with software engineers from Greece moving to other countries and exploring opportunities there.

It is a necessary step for progress, development, and modernization, writes Dimitris Tsingos, Founder of Starttech Ventures, a Greek network of start-up companies.

The so-called brain drain has been observed in many countries, not just in countries in the Middle East and Africa but also in my country Greece. Hundreds of thousands of highly skilled young professionals have migrated after the financial crisis in search of better prospects in more developed economies.

The real problem lies in the unidirectional nature of the flow; many skilled workers leave, and fewer are coming to our countries to work in them.

Traditionally “brain drain” has been considered quite a significant problem. To put it simply, it is thought to be wrong. What if we looked at it from another perspective? Could this phenomenon bring something good? Could we talk about “brain gain” instead of “brain drain”?

Countries that have continuously experienced high economic growth, such as China and India, demonstrate that the mobility of a high-skilled workforce can play a decisive role in improving the home country’s economy. And on top of that, modernizing its society.

You see, many of them will finally return home. Others will stay there and act as ambassadors and ‘bridges’ between the home and the host nation. Also, many send money home to their families (called remittances). As the world bank states: “there is strong and unambiguous evidence that supports the argument that remittances alleviate poverty in developing countries.”

Many studies also show that diversity in the form of people from different walks of life, with different experiences and networks from other countries, helps companies grow faster and find new opportunities. Many of our companies witness that the diversity in their teams contributes immensely to the company’s creative output.

It is just a different point of view: The mobility of people is in many ways good for the world! When mobility increases, new opportunities will present themselves while old ones disappear.

At Starttech Ventures, we recognized the power of “brain gain” long ago. In our portfolio companies in Athens, we already employ individuals of more than twelve nationalities who, for various reasons, decided to move and work here. And we encourage people to see opportunities in other parts of the world. So, we would be happy for people from Greece to find work in start-ups in different countries and vice versa. That would make us learn more from each other and strengthen ties between our countries, helping both economies grow.

I firmly believe that there’s no reason for our countries not to be able to attract skilled workers that want to live and work in them. There are many fabulous places worldwide with a booming tech scene, and we should help more people worldwide know about the opportunities we provide. And we could work together to do that.

Thus, we are proud to announce the Work-in-Greece initiative, which aims to support the relocation of innovative Software Engineers that want to work in Greece. And, with that, build stronger ties and collaborations between companies in both countries to mutually benefit all societies!

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FirstBank, Others Partner With Junior Achievement on Africa’s Largest High School Entrepreneurship Competition

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FirstBank

FirstBank has partnered with JA Africa on Company of the Year (COY) Competition, Africa’s largest high school entrepreneurship competition scheduled to take place in Lagos, Nigeria from 7th to 9th December under the theme, “Fueling Changemakers.”

The JA Africa Company of the Year (COY) Competition which returns for the 12th year in a row and the first in-person meeting post-COVID, after two successful virtual competitions is JA Africa’s annual celebration of winning teams from the JA Company Program, a program which equips senior secondary school level students with the entrepreneurial skillset and mindset to solve problems in their communities by launching a business venture and unleashing their entrepreneurial spirit.

The young entrepreneurs who compete at JA Africa’s COY go through qualifying competitions at national and sub-national levels, competing against thousands of youth startups to qualify for the regional competition. This program transitions them into employment and transforms them into employers. Having emerged as national winners, they will represent their countries on the continental stage where they have the arduous task to impress a panel of international business professionals who serve as judges.

FirstBank’s sponsored winners of the 2022 Junior Achievement Nigeria (JAN) National Company of the Year (NCOY) Competition – Green Apex from the International School, University of Lagos – will represent Nigeria in the JA Africa Company of the Year (COY) Competition.”

“Given the increasingly complex set of global challenges facing young people around the world from unemployment to climate change and food shortage, we focus on equipping our students to be solution providers who bring about positive change within their communities while developing businesses that generate wealth,” said Simi Nwogugu, JA Africa’s CEO. “Our students have demonstrated great resilience and innovation in grappling with these challenges and I am extremely proud of all of them. I am also deeply grateful to all our sponsors who stayed with us throughout the pandemic period and contributed greatly towards making this a live event again.”

Also speaking on the forthcoming Africa Company of The Year Competition, Folake Ani-Mumuney, Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, FirstBank said; “the 2022 Junior Achievement Company of The Year competition remains another viable opportunity to promote the entrepreneurship skills, spirit and talent innate in school children, across Africa. We commend Junior Achievement Africa on the COY initiative as it serves as an avenue to expose participants to inter-cultural values and traditions that will foster the unity of the continent.

We wish all participants, particularly the Nigerian representatives – Green Apex from the International School, University of Lagos – the best as learnings from every initiative could solve critical problems facing mankind as we collectively make the world a better place.

This year, nine student startups representing Eswatini, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe will put their business acumen to the test as they present the achievements of their businesses in numerous formats to win the prestigious title of JA Company of the Year and other amazing prizes from the sponsors. The highest among the prizes at stake will be the opportunity to represent the African region at the Ralph de la Vega Global Entrepreneurship Competition which will bring together COY winners from the six regions where JA Worldwide operates to compete for awards, $15,000, educational opportunities, and more.

The 2022 JA Africa COY Competition is made possible by the generous support of Headline sponsors FedEx, Citi Foundation and PMIEF; Platinum sponsors: Bloomberg, Johnson & Johnson, Delta Air Lines and First Bank of Nigeria Limited; Gold sponsors: Tomorrow Foundation, Nascon, GB Foods and Rise, who by supporting this competition are demonstrating their commitment to job creation and youth empowerment on the African continent.

For more information, visit: www.ja-africa.org/coy2022

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ASUU Strike: FG Moves to End Incessant University Strikes, to Review University Autonomy

The Federal Government has decided to review the laws that established public universities to prevent a re-recurrence. 

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Luong-Quoe-Vice-President-Yemi-Osinbajo - Investors King

The Federal Government on Monday announced it was working on reviewing the autonomy presently being enjoyed by public universities in Nigeria to put an end to intermittent strikes by tertiary institutions.

Speaking on Monday at an event organized by the National University Commission (NUC) in Abuja, the Vice President, Prof.Yemi Osinabajo stated that one of the major challenges affecting university education in Nigeria is the incessant strike actions by various unions in public universities.

Osinbajo, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, noted that the recent strike which lasted for more than eight months did a big blow to the university system.

He added that the Federal Government has decided to review the laws that established public universities to prevent a re-recurrence. 

He said,” The most recent strike actions by the university-based unions have necessitated a revisit on the issues and scope of university autonomy by the government”. 

“This will lead to a review of the university autonomy laws to appropriately address funding, including staff remuneration, institutional governance, and administration, as well as issues relating to internally generated revenue,” he added. 

Investors King could recall that earlier this year, specifically on February 14, 2022, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) embarked on an industrial strike to press for certain demands which include better salaries and improved funding for the university education system. 

The academic union lamented that the federal government failed to implement an agreement that it entered with the union in 2009. 

Speaking further, the SGF noted that the university system has cumulatively lost over 50 months from 1999 to date as a result of strike actions by ASUU. A development he acknowledged to be worrisome. 

“I doubt if there is any country that has lost such amount of time to strikes in its university system. From the first strike in 1978 to date, all the issues have remained the same. The agitations have been primarily on funding, university autonomy, and remunerations.

“I need to stress here that government alone cannot fund education in the country. It is therefore imperative that a sustainable model of funding university education must be developed,” he said.

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