The Managing Director and Chief Executive of Heritage Bank, Ifie Sekibo, has stressed the importance of empowering more young entrepreneurs in the country.
This is even as the bank, in partnership with organisers of the Next Titan Nigeria, Bravopoints International Limited, have unveiled 16 finalists with business ideas that will compete for the grand prize of the competition.
The Next Titan is Nigeria’s entrepreneurial reality television show where thousands of ambitious young entrepreneurs across the country compete with one another for a grand prize of N5 million and a brand-new car to start his or her dream business.
Sekibo, in his keynote address at the unveiling of the 16 finalists out of a total of 60 contestants that emerged from more than 2,000 budding entrepreneurs screened in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Enugu and Lagos, urged the finalists to see themselves as winners who are striving to provide solution to the menace of youth unemployment in Nigeria.
Represented at the event by the Executive Director, Jude Monye; Sekibo said the benefits of entrepreneurship today, could not be over-emphasized because it is an antidote for youth unemployment.
“In Heritage Bank, we are passionate about entrepreneurship. This is extremely relevant today given the unemployment challenges that we face in Nigeria and Africa at large.
“Nothing is more fulfilling than to groom-to-empower young aspiring start-up entrepreneurs and mentor them to grow and become large corporates enlisted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. We are dedicated to developing the next generation of outstanding young African entrepreneurs, who will shape the continent’s economies and the world at large,” Sekibo said.
He warned that the unemployment indices today could not be changed by more government jobs alone.
He stressed that the nation needed to democratize job creation.
According to him, the best way to achieve that was by creating and empowering more entrepreneurs.
“We seriously need to create our own Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Jack Ma, and we need to multiply our Philip Emeagwali, Dangotes, Florence Seriki, Bankole Cardoso, Jason Njoku amongst others.
“Only entrepreneurs can create the millions of jobs we need to power our economy out of poverty,” he stated.
The Executive Producer of the project, Mr. Mide Kunle-Akinlaja, in his address appreciated the sponsors and the judges of the project over the years.
He said the objective of the Next Titan Nigeria was to present entrepreneurship as a viable career option to young graduates.
He added that the project was about demystifying entrepreneurship and present it as what young unemployed graduates should start leveraging on to build lasting wealth for themselves and for the nation.
As a catalytic institution in the empowering of entrepreneurs in the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector, Heritage Bank has continued to make relentless efforts in this space to empower entrepreneurs in Nigeria through championing several empowerment schemes like the Youth Innovative Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YIEDP), Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL) on Young Entrepreneurship Business Training Programme (YEBTP), Young Entrepreneurs and Students (YES) Grant and Nigerian Youth Professional Forum (NYPF), Big Brother Nigeria, Lagos Comic Con, amongst others.