No fewer than 170 young business owners have received interest-free loans from Kwara State government.
The beneficiaries got between N250,000 and N3m to start or strengthen their businesses after a private sector-led screening process that began with at least 7,202 applicants.
Amounts awarded depended on the scale and viability of their business proposals, according to the Kwara State Social Investment Programme office, which coordinated the initiative alongside Fidelity Bank.
The loans were awarded under Kwapreneurs, a state government’s entrepreneurial platform designed to support initiatives of people not more than 35 years of age with seed funds.
Speaking at the grand finale of the programme, the state governor, AbdulRahaman AbdulRazaq, said: “Kwapreneurs is a revolution and the essence is to ensure that public funds are allocated to serve the best interest of the people, especially the young people below 35 years who have been underserved for many years. This is in line with our commitment to promote innovation, industry and enterprise.”
AbdulRazaq commended the youngsters for their brilliant ideas and their courage to have their pitches assessed by an independent panel of judges, assuring them of continuous government’s support and mentorship as their businesses grow.
“We made sure this was not business as usual. It was fair, open, thorough, and nonpartisan. A total of 170 businesses out of 7, 202 applicants have emerged from a rigorous screening process, which included online applications, verification of businesses/ideas and physical interviews (pitching),” he said.