RIVERS State Government has said it will collaborate with The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) and other corporate citizens to achieve its major objective for young men and women of the state to take up livelihoods that will give them brighter future.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth Development, Rivers State, Dr. Roland Obed-Whyte, gave this commitment at the graduation ceremony of 70 youth entrepreneurs of the Shell LiveWIRE Nigeria programme of the NNPC/SPDC/TotalEnergies/NAOC joint venture held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Thursday.
Dr. Obed-Whyte said, “Most of LiveWIRE Nigeria objectives are connected to our mandate to develop youths of Rivers State to be gainfully employed and self-reliant. I must emphasise that the collaboration with the State Government needs to be stronger now because the government’s major objective is to explore ways for young men and women to be employers of labour and to be able to create wealth for themselves and others.”
He charged SPDC and its joint venture partners to look beyond the entrepreneurial training by creating necessary linkages and avenues for the LiveWIRE beneficiaries to access local and international markets. “Don’t leave the beneficiaries to their own devices after the training,” Dr. Obed-Whyte said.
His counterpart in the state ministry of employment generation, Mr. Samuel Egumah, said, “Involve the Rivers State Government more in LiveWIRE Nigeria. This is necessary to enter the entrepreneurs in the state’s database for entrepreneurs. Also, collaborate with us to establish an Entrepreneurship Incubation Centre for the state.”
SPDC Director and Head, Corporate Relations Nigeria, Mr. Igo Weli, said around 8,000 Niger Delta entrepreneurs – including people living with disabilities – have benefitted from mentoring, training, networking opportunities, and start-up grants since the introduction of the programme in Nigeria in 2003.
Weli, represented at the ceremony by SPDC Manager, Social Performance and Social Investment, Mr. Emmanuel Anyim, said, “Many of the beneficiaries have also had opportunities to participate in SPDC’s supply chain as vendors.”
The 70 new beneficiaries, drawn from states of the Niger Delta, received training in basic business planning and management principles. They also received mentoring and start-up grants to establish new businesses or expand existing ones.
LiveWIRE Nigeria is the flagship enterprise development programme of SPDC. It is an international programme from Shell that strengthens local economies across the globe by promoting entrepreneurship and developing entrepreneurs