ZSF empowers entrepreneurs with N1 million each
As part of the foundation’s commitment towards this, ZSF organised a Business Plan Competition (BPC) where business owners were expected to showcase their plans and prove to the public how they can build and run successful businesses from scratch.
Speaking during the foundation’s annual and grand finale of the sixth edition of the Business Plan Competition (BPC) tagged ‘Entrepreneurship Development Training’, the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of ZSF, Prince Sulayman Olagunju said the competition selection process was handled by a team of experts in relevant fields such as entrepreneurship, business development, risk management practices, banking and academics.
“The selection process has five major stages. The first stage has to do with the submission of important information about the interested applicant and his business. A maximum of 100 applicants were short-listed for training on business proposal writing and how to build and run a successful business from scratch
“The first stage has to do with submission of important information about the interested applicant and his business. Maximum of 100 applicants were short-listed for training on business proposal writing and how to build and run a successful business from scratch. The training allowed all the short-listed applicants to know what the organisers and panellists expect to see in their business proposals. The second stage is the development and submission of business proposals, only for those interested in funding after the training process. The third stage was grading of the business proposals by the experts, the fourth stage was oral presentation and defence of the business proposals submitted and the fifth stage, which was the last stage, featured the project implementation and mentoring.”
He added that 10 winners emerged as star prize winners and will be given the opportunity to go home with one million Naira each. While 10 runners-up will go home with N200, 000 each as consolation prizes for their participation and efforts. “In fact, all of you here today are winners. Let me appeal to all the star prize winners to take maximum advantage of the mentors that have been assigned to you to help you take your business to the next level throughout the period of grant release and project implementation phase.”
Olagunju said that through the initiative, ZSF has supported no fewer than 120 small enterprises to the tune of N58, 350,000 from the first to the sixth edition of this laudable project.
“This has been made possible through the efforts and continuous support of our partners, including our generous donors such as Al-Barakah MFB, Jaiz Bank Plc., Lotus Bank, Sterling Bank Plc., Y.K.M products and others.
“Based on research, the impact of our business plan competition has reached over 1,200 vibrant and visionary youth, who are gainfully employed directly through this initiative and more than 7,000 people who are dependents of the beneficiaries and indirectly living on the proceeds of the grants that we have disbursed so far.
“To all our Zakat payers and supporters of this laudable project, we pray Almighty ALLAH continue to bless and protect you more.”
In her remark, The M.D/C.E.O, Lotus Bank PLC, Mrs. Kafilat Araoye, said LOTUS Bank is proud to partner with this initiative to promote entrepreneurial traits of ingenuity, creativity, and innovation to tackle frontally the problems of poverty and unemployment confronting Nigerians as well as rewarding Young Nigerians with outstanding business ideas.
“ This is in tandem with our vision at LOTUS Bank. I commend the laudable achievements recorded by the Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation. I pray that Almighty Allah continues to make this initiative wax stronger.
“I seize this opportunity to congratulate the winners and runners-up of the 2021 Business Plan Competition. As our slogan says, Partner, Progress Prosper. At LOTUS Bank, we are ready to walk hand in hand with you to see your new businesses prosper and your ultimate prosperity,” She said.
A winner, Dhikroh Dhikrullah, commended the organisers and donors of the competition for training and assisting upcoming entrepreneurs with funds to actualise their dreams. “ I’m very excited and happy and I give thanks to Almighty Allah who has made it possible to emerge as a winner. It has been my dream for the past four years, in which I tried, but didn’t get it but with the step I took, I was able to get it right this time around.”