Business chiefs to fund, mentor startups

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A group of business chiefs, entrepreneurs and other leading professionals have launched an initiative to support the development of upcoming businesses in Ogun State.

The Sagamites Club, a group of business executives from various sectors of the economy, will this Sunday kicked off its annual leadership conference and business support initiative during which renowned economic leaders will lead mentoring class for upcoming entrepreneurs and youths in Sagamu area of Ogun State.

President, Sagamites Club, Mr Seni Adetu, said the group would provide both knowledge and experience and funding to qualified aspiring entrepreneurs as part of its commitment to economic renewal and development.

He outlined that the mentorship sessions will feature business leaders in the private and public sectors including Prof Toyin Ogundipe, Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos; Mr Tokunbo Talabi, Secretary to the Government of Ogun State, Mr Segun Ogunsanya, Managing Director, Airtel Nigeria Plc and Mr Fatai Folarin, Chief Executive Officer of Deloitte Nigeria & West Africa.

He added that the group would also announce the award of its business support funds to 10 most qualified would-be-entrepreneurs, who will be selected based on merit and business proposition.

According to him, the annual event will create a forum for Sagamu youth to experience practical leadership through story telling of personal experiences of highly credible and accomplished business leaders in various fields from across the country.

The group will also offer business start-up opportunities to deserving youth within by financially and through commercial guidance, supporting quality business propositions.

“Our commitment to this cause is motivated by our conviction that we have reached a point in our life cycle in Nigeria where the government alone cannot provide all of the economic opportunities required to have self-sustaining citizenry. We can blame the government all day long and sometimes justifiably so, and accuse our youth of being lazy, again depending on your perspective, but our view is that, it’s better to spin our situation positively and change the narrative to what we are doing individually and collectively to make the most of an unpleasant situation. We must create little impact in our own patch leading to a result where the whole is bigger than the sum of the parts,” Adetu said.

Adetu, a former chief executive of Guinness Nigeria Plc, said while individuals and groups cannot claim to be government or be able to substitute government, they can nonetheless increase their responsibility and contributions to the community through initiatives that empower the youth and help the community to develop.

Vice President, Sagamites Club, Engr. Funbi Dawodu reiterated the commitment of the club to wealth creation and employment generation.

Dawodu said that the club was determined to erase the impression of Sagamu as a place with societal vices to an entrepreneurial community.

He said that the club apart from the leadership empowerment initiative also had a special fund for scholarship.