Twelve members of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) who took part in Unity Bank’s flagship business plan competition, Corpreneurship Challenge, have won cash prizes totalling N4 million.
The winners emerged during the final business pitch in the fourth edition of the contest for NYSC 2020 Batch B corps members, which took place simultaneously across four NYSC camps in Lagos, Ogun, Benin, and Abuja recently.
The cash prizes included a N200,000 business grant for each of the second runner up, N300,000 business grant for the first runner ups and a star prize of N500,000 for each of the four winners.
Some of the winners included Evelyn Esumai, Aisosa Erica and Ozuoka Moses in Abuja camp, while Akomolade Blessing, Okafor Augustine and Edokpayi Harrison emerged the winners in the Benin camp.
In Lagos, Moses Bolanle, Iran-Ola Oluwosulu and Zainab Muhammed emerged winners to claim the cash prizes.
The initiative attracted interest among the corp members, as over 300 applications were received but only forty were shortlisted for the pitching session from where the twelve winners emerged.
The contestants’ business plans which ranged from fish production, poultry farming, fashion, piggery to beverages were assessed on originality, marketability, future employability potential of the product and knowledge of the business.
In a statement made to available to THISDAY, the Group Head, Retail and SME Banking, Unity Bank Plc, Mr. Olufunwa Akinmade, said the competition was to encourage more youths with clear entrepreneurial intentions to expand or start profitable ventures.
“The grants are not a loan and we want the money to be directed towards profitable ventures. First, you must learn that making mistakes is part of business. It is important to constantly think about the challenges you will face. Put the same energy you all have displayed in preparing for this contest in your businesses as you face your post-service year ahead.
“We started Corpreneurship in 2019, with a launch in Lagos and in three other states which included Edo, Ogun, and Abuja. So, today we have expanded it to four locations, and it has been hugely successful.”
Speaking further, he explained that the bank will sustain the programme in order to achieve record impact on job creation.
He said: “This is a programme that will stand the test of time, but all we are doing is to support NYSC corps members to start their own business no matter how small and then grow with it. Unity Bank is there, and we are offering them a startup capital as well as business mentorship.”