Foundation to raise 5 million entrepreneurs in 4 years

In a bid to revamp businesses adversely affected by the Covid-19, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Candle Light City Foundation (CALICIF), has mapped out strategies to enhance business restart when the pandemic finally subsides.

According to the Foundation, with a youth camp workshop scheduled to hold between August 9th and 14th, 2021, the NGO hopes to train and build capacity for about 150 youths across the country, which is the first phase.

Already, over 1,000 youths and single mothers have benefited from the Foundation’s empowerment initiative which cuts across the country.

Speaking at a media briefing last Thursday, at CALICIF headquarters in Ijaniki, Lagos, the CEO of (CALICIF), Bishop Edwin Asongwe said  the Foundation has a vision to foster development in different areas of life.

According to Asongwe, he was inspired to establish the Foundation through the experiences he had in his church: Candle of Anointed Mission, since the mission has a limit to what it can offer in terms of community development.

“I started the Foundation because of my experiences at Candle of Anointed Mission because we had limit there. We started in 2020 but the vision started two years ago. It was registered by the Nigerian government on October 9, 2020,” he said.

He disclosed that one of their major challenges is seeing people who have skills but lack capital to set up businesses. Another challenge, according to him is the number of street boys in their neighbourhood who do not have help but need assistance.

Other challenges, according to the Foundation are: administrative challenges, lack of volunteers, difficulties in getting partnerships amongst others.

On funding, he said: “We task ourselves and also we get external fundings. By the special grace of God, today, we have partnerships.”

Also speaking, International Consultant from Cameroon to the Foundation, Pastor Mai Abehche, said the initiative would produce about 5 million entrepreneurs between now and 2025.

Abehche said with the pandemic, a lot of businesses have shut down while capitals have also been affected negatively. He therefore, stated that the workshop is tailored to educate people on how to go about their businesses and bring them back on track, while also training the youths on skill acquisition, peace and security among others.

He said that the after effects of the pandemic necessitated the Foundation to plan  the camp because they want to develop capacity, restructure the institutions so that at the end of Covid-19, life can resume normally.

Abehche lamented that during lockdown, a lot of people became idle, stressing that such gaps were applicable to businesses too.

“We are looking forward to spreading nationally with the workshop in every state of the federation, including Abuja. The workshop is designed to reinforce capacity of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), individual businesses and institutions within communities so that life can resume normally. Business capitals were lost during the lockdown. We will invest in farmers and communities,” Abehche said.

According to the consultant, the youths who will be selected based on merit will have the opportunity to be trained in three core areas, including: peace and security, business skill development and skills building. Four youths from each states selected among the 150 youths, Abehche said, will be the focal persons who would in turn, spread what they have learnt in their respective communities.

Speaking on the benefits of the workshop, Abehche said: “We will create more jobs. In our strategic plan of action, we have as vision to train 5million entrepreneurs between now and 2025. Not just training them, we would also provide the raw materials for them to start their businesses This will enhance security on the long run.”

He, however, pointed out that the initiative is part of government’s efforts to review the concept of investing in the youths, adding: “We have embarked on diverse trainings and skill building; this would enable the youths to produce different products that can enable them earn a living. In the next two months, we will be hosting an international youth camp.

The event which held at the Foundation’s office in Ijaniki, Lagos had most of its members in attendance. Some of the participants include: CALICIF National Coordinator, Eric Ebaji; Secretary, Barrister Immaculate Asongwe; National Adviser, Rev Femi Ogundipe and other members of the Foundation.

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