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New Business Opportunities For Nigerians

IFE ADEDAPO examines leadership and business development opportunities that Nigerians can take advantage of
Many young people in the country today have enterprising abilities but are unable to put it into good use due to lack of funds and relevant experience.
Similarly, existing businesses have been discovered to remain dormant or fail after some years because funds are unavailable for business expansion.
In addition, young people who desire to work in corporate organisations have insufficient experience to do so.
As a result, Nigerian companies and international organisations, as part of their corporate social responsibility, are giving mentoring and financial support to the youths and women in the country.
Here are some of the opportunities:
Road to women business growth
This is an initiative that seeks to improve the business skills of talented, creative and dedicated women entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
The empowerment programme by ExxonMobil and Cherie Blaire Foundation for Women will increase women’s access to financial services and markets and help them grow profitable and sustainable business, thus making them economically independent.
The information on its website says that the training for about 500 businesswomen will take place in Lagos, Abuja and Uyo.
Explaining the stages of the programme, it says, “500 small business owners will be trained in financial literacy and investment readiness over six weeks, including two -classroom workshops and four weeks on e-learning between January and March 2016.
“100 top performing women entrepreneurs will receive intensive business support in the form of tailored business training and services and ongoing mentoring over six months.”
Acumen Global Fellows Programme
The application for the 11th Global Fellows Programme, a 12-month fellowship for individuals dedicated to changing the way the world tackles poverty, is currently on.
The leadership programme, according to the information by Acumen, is aimed at grooming leaders who have good business skills and are dedicated to social interventions, especially poverty eradication initiatives.
The organisation says, “We are looking for potential social sector leaders who embody service above self. Leaders who take a systems change approach to the world’s biggest problems and have the moral imagination to effect long-term change. Leaders who are strong collaborators, are self-aware and adaptive. Leaders who are dedicated to addressing the problems of poverty and bring a blend of leadership capabilities and strong business skills to the table. Acumen Fellows are a different kind of leader. And one day, they’re going to change the world.”
Acumen explains that the fellowship will start with two months’ training in its New York office aimed at changing the values, beliefs and behaviours of participants as well as understanding the problems of poverty and proffering solutions.
This will be followed by nine months’ field placement with social enterprises in the areas of agriculture, education, energy, health, housing and water, where they are expected to work as key staff members, it adds.
And during the last month, the organisation says that the Fellows are expected to return to New York to share their experiences and insights with the Acumen staff and the community.
Start-upper of the year
With the aim of supporting new business ideas in Africa, the Start-upper of the year will provide mentorship, coaching and financial opportunities for budding entrepreneurs.
The initiative sponsored by Total seeks applications for business projects of less than two years in Nigeria and 33 other African countries.
Based on the information obtained from Total website, the opportunity is open to Africans who are less than 35 years and have innovative business ideas that can solve local problems.
It explains, “We are interested in all your projects, regardless of the type of business or activity, as long as they share the characteristics common to creative start-ups: innovation, competitiveness, growth boosting and job creation.
“To get their business project off the ground or develop a business less than two years old, each winner of the ‘Start-upper of the year ’ by Total will receive individual coaching. On completion of the coaching, Total will also provide financial support for their project.”
Opportunity grant of €10,000
Nigeria is one of the eligible countries that can benefit from the Opportunity grant of a maximum of €10,000 for projects that will support the implementation of the new global development agenda.
The funding opportunity provided by AmplifyChange will support groups with new ideas that will bring about positive change to the country.
According to information on AmplifyChange website, the organisation is enthusiastic about projects targeted at ending unsafe abortion, sexual health of young people, gender-based violence, stigma and discrimination as well as access for the marginalised and vulnerable.
It explains, “The opportunity grants are especially intended for smaller, community-based groups that need some support for the activities they would like to implement. More established groups that want to try a new idea are also welcome to apply, but we particularly encourage more established groups to help smaller groups apply.”
Young Professionals Programme
Specifically for the youths who are 27 years or younger, Young Professionals Programme is open to Nigerians and young people in the other 52 commonwealth countries.
It is an opportunity for young graduates to work in substantive, paid junior-level roles for two years at the Commonwealth Secretariat in divisions such as Economic Policy, Rule of Law, Human Resources and Youth, information obtained from the Commonwealth website says.
It adds that during that period they will be provided with technical and administrative support and benefit from professional development and mentoring.
According to the organisation, “To be eligible, applicants must be Commonwealth nationals, be 27 years or younger at the time of application, and possess a level of qualification and experience relevant to each role. They must also have excellent English language and interpersonal skills, and demonstrate commitment to the values of the Commonwealth.”

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