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Entrepreneurship, panacea to economic woes– Aiyedatiwa

…Awards N60m grant, business support packages to 20 most innovative entrepreneurs

By Adedotun Ajayi

Ondo state Governor, Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa, said there is no better time when entrepreneurship should be taken more seriously than now, due to the current state of the economy.

This is as he said his administration is not only making entrepreneurship development a major priority but has also recognized the significance of innovative entrepreneurship in shaping the state’s economic future.

Pix: Ayodele Suberu

Governor Aiyedatiwa stressed the pressing need to cultivate entrepreneurship, especially in light of the prevailing economic adversities.

He highlighted the importance of prioritizing entrepreneurial initiatives as a means to navigate through the existing economic challenges effectively.

Governor Aiyedatiwa who believes that entrepreneurs are drivers of innovation and economic growth, said they are vital in creating jobs, driving productivity, and catalyzing development.

He spoke on Saturday at the Entrepreneurs’ 3rd Summit 2024 held at the International Centre for Culture and Events (The DOME), Akure, Ondo State capital.

Thousands of young entrepreneurs, both male and female, participated in the summit organized by the Ondo State Entrepreneurship Development Agency (ONDEA). The summit, themed “Innovative Entrepreneurship For Sustainable Economy,” attracted a diverse and enthusiastic audience.

At the well attended event, Governor Aiyedatiwa presented farming equipment to farmers across the State to aid food production and food security.

While announcing that the state will award a cash grant of N1 million and business support packages worth N2 million to the top 20 innovative entrepreneurs.

Aiyedatiwa particularly congratulated all the entrepreneurs for being part of the landmark event, emphasizing the significant role of young people in shaping Africa’s future.

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The Governor lauded the efforts of the Ondo State Entrepreneurship Agency (ONDEA), which has impacted numerous lives and businesses through strategic funding, digitization initiatives, and skills acquisition programs.

He said “It gladdens my heart to inform you that in the last few years, ONDEA’s impactful initiatives have transformed countless lives and businesses through the fostering of a culture of innovation and empowerment”
 
“Through strategic funding, digitization efforts and skills acquisition programmes, ONDEA since inception from 2020 till date, has equipped over 25,251 beneficiaries with the tools and knowledge needed to thrive in today’s dynamic business landscape. From providing startup grants to nurturing innovative ideas, we have witnessed the birth of new businesses, the creation of jobs, a significant reduction in youth unemployment and more businesses in our tax net for increased Internally Generated Revenue”
 
“During the first quarter of this year, ONDEA has trained and empowered 618 individuals from the grassroots, some of whom will be awarded their certificates today. “The ONDEA my IDEA initiatives 2024 Edition”, has also kicked off, where the 20 most innovative entrepreneurs in Ondo State will be awarded one million Naira cash grant each, and business support packages worth two million Naira each. This programme is to further enhance the passion, interest and entrepreneurship drive of our young citizens”

He reiterated his administration’s commitment to creating an enabling environment for entrepreneurship to thrive, citing the pivotal role of collaboration with the private sector and the empowerment of youths.

The governor said “Our administration in Ondo State since assumption of office has placed emphasis on fostering an enabling environment for entrepreneurship and innovation to thrive. We recognise that government alone cannot drive economic growth; rather, it is through collaboration with the private sector and the empowerment of our youths that we can unlock the full potential of our economy”

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“As a State, we have implemented a range of policies and initiatives aimed at supporting entrepreneurs at every stage of their journey. We have also initiated programmes to cushion the effect of the current state of the economy. Two hundred million Naira was recently approved for our artisans as grants” he added

He also disclosed that Ondo State will host the Global Entrepreneurship Festival in November 2024, demonstrating the state’s dedication to promoting innovation worldwide.

He said “This is big news for Ondo State, and I thank the global community for trusting us to host this remarkable event. This is like hosting the World Cup, and I can assure you that Ondo State is ready. We will also be sponsoring our finest entrepreneurs to attend the festival to showcase the brilliance of Ondo State innovations”

Earlier, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Entrepreneurship Development and CEO ONDEA, Dr. Summy Smart Francis, commended Governor Aiyedatiwa for his steadfast dedication to nurturing young entrepreneurs in the state and for fostering a conducive environment for businesses to flourish.

Mr Smart said during the first quarter of the year, ONDEA has trained and empowered 618 individuals from the grassroots, some of who were awarded their certificates at the event.

He also urged the young entrepreneurs to maintain focus and determination, highlighting the numerous business opportunities created by Governor Aiyedatiwa through ONDEA

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