No fewer than 140 young and talented people from eight states of the Niger Delta have graduated from the special Shell LiveWIRE Nigeria entrepreneurial training programme, which provides business and financial support to enable them to establish small and medium scale businesses.

Drawn from Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers, Delta, Edo, Imo, and Rivers states, the beneficiaries, 20 of whom are under the Oporoma Special LiveWIRE Nigeria category in Bayelsa State, got N56 million grants from The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) Joint Venture at the recent graduation ceremony in Port Harcourt.

SPDC’s General Manager External Relations, Igo Weli, said, “These beneficiaries have now become part of the 7,212 Niger Delta young entrepreneurs who have graduated from the LiveWIRE Nigeria programme since SPDC launched this flagship youth enterprise development programme in 2003.”

Represented at the graduation ceremony by SPDC Manager for Social Performance and Social Investment, Gloria Udoh, Weli said, “Shell LiveWIRE Nigeria has produced young entrepreneurs, most of whom are now employers of labour. Some of the beneficiaries are also given the opportunity to play in SPDC’s supply chain as vendors and are provided with access to growth capital.”

The traditional head of Oporoma, Andy Zighadina, applauded SPDC for initiating such a laudable programme to benefit the youths of the community. The visibly excited monarch also offered cash rewards to the top five beneficiaries from Oporoma to make appreciable success in first three months after the graduation.

Previous beneficiaries of the Shell LiveWIRE Nigeria programme were also at the ceremony to share their success stories. Managing Director of FarmToJuice Limited, Esther Bolouebi Ekiotenne, a 2019 winner of the Shell Group Global Top 10 Innovator award, and Solar Energy entrepreneur, Henry Chikodi, told the new beneficiaries that passion, hard work and discipline were necessary requirements for business success.

The Shell LiveWIRE Nigeria programme is part of the global Shell LiveWIRE social investment programme, which enables young people to start their own businesses and create employment. It provides young entrepreneurs with access to essential business knowledge and customised support they need to transform their enterprising ideas into viable and sustainable businesses.

In 17 years of its implementation in Nigeria, the Shell LiveWIRE Nigeria has received local and international recognitions, including the 2011 African Leadership Magazine Award for Youth Development, a year after it won the Social Enterprise and Reports Award in 2010.

The LiveWIRE programme is targeted at SPDC Joint Venture host communities and others in the Niger Delta to inspire, encourage and support youths to start their own businesses or expand existing ones by providing them the requisite training and start-up finance in the hope that, with legitimate alternative means of livelihood, young men and women will turn their backs on vices.

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