CBN’s Entrepreneurship Centres, Calabar records success stories 

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CBN’s entrepreneurship centres to the rescue

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) established Entrepreneurship Development Centres (EDCs) to address rising youth unemployment through promotion and development of small enterprises. The Calabar, Cross River State EDC is already off to a good start, creating a new crop of budding entrepreneurs, who are contributing immensely to economic growth.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (cbn) in 2008,  established Entrepreneurship Development Centres (EDCs) in the Southwest, Northwest and Southeast geo-political zones of the country.

The initiative, which was  the apex bank’s response to promoting and developing small businesses, was an instant success as the bank sought to replicate it in the Southsouth, Northeast and Northcentral zones. That was in 2013.

Now, the EDC in Calabar, Cross River State capital,  Southsouth geo-political zone, has become a success story. Some budding entrepreneurs, who accessed the Centre’s services testified that the CBN’s intervention could not have come at a better time.

According to them, the Centre has helped many of them to achieve success and growth, both in their businesses and personal development.

For instance, the  Managing Partners, Kuemma Instant Soup, Dr. Kufre Petters and Emmanuel Ogbonnaya, are counting themselves lucky to be part of the initiative.

The duo explained that their success story started when they met at the Calabar EDC during their training. At the beginning,  one of them, Emmanuel, was unemployed, while Kufre was already a medical doctor.

Providence, however, brought  them together as they were both looking for avenues to delve into business. The business idea they  jointly conceived while at the EDC in Calabar metamophosed into Kuemma Instant Soup.

“This Instant Soup pack contains all the ingredients for cooking a pot of soup in five minutes. Hygienically processed, sealed and packed, it comes in different sizes and soup variety.”

The  budding entreprenues were not the Centre’s only success stories. Shola Aje, a serial entrepreneur and inventor, has also not looked back since he identified with the Centre. Today, he prides  himself as belonging to a new class of entrepreneurs with passion to create value.

Before venturing into entrepreneurship a few years ago, ENTS, which he founded, was into electronics and communications devices retailing under the brand name ‘Gadget Place’.

Aje also had a successful career in the upstream oil & gas sector, spanning 20 years. He worked with  Schlumberger Oil Field Services, in Nigeria and various international locations.

Today, Gadget Place, his retail network, whose success seed was sown in the Centre, has grown to five  stores in three  cities of Port Harcourt, Lagos and  Abuja.

The CBN’s Corporate Communications Manager,  Southsouth EDC, Emeka Ugwu, said the Centre has trained 9, 442 participants, while also helping to establish and expand over 3, 560 enterprises.

The enterprises so established according to the Centre’s spokeman, have created  over 9,000 direct and indirect jobs.

That was not all. He also said the Centre has assisted about 3,035 participants to access finance totaling over N1 billion, ranging from N50, 000 to about N10  million, from various sources for their enterprises

As part of its enterprise support to participants, Ugwu said the Centre provides access-to-finance through linkages to various funding sources such as  the CBN Intervention Funds/NERFUND, Bank of Industry (BoI)‘s Bottom-of-Pyramid Fund, Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme, Growth Enterprise Insurance Scheme and other funding vehicles.

Participants of the Centre’s programme, according to him,  are entitled to free 18 months business advisory services and monitoring at the completion of the programme. This is to prevent  them from folding -up in the initial period of start-up.

He  reiterated that  the Centre will continue to ensure that more entrepreneurs are successful as they work towards providing the best service to clients.

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