By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Some grantees of the 2021 empowerment initiatives of the Nigerian Breweries Plc have received expert mentorship for the expansion of their business ventures.
Recently, some small business owners, especially artisans, were given grants in the ongoing Isedowo and Progress Booster campaigns.
The beneficiaries were taken from the fashion designing and photography sectors and were trained by ace fashion designer Mai Atafo and renowned photographer Kelechi Amadi.
“I remember my journey into the art space as a photographer and painter, and there was a lot to unpack. A lot to learn,’ Mr Amadi enthused.
“Working with individuals who want to improve upon their skills is an energy that I identify. Though art is subjective, the building blocks cannot be overlooked.
“With these building blocks, one can work and improve to give some of their best art pieces. The prospect of archiving this with these talents is what excites me,” he added.
“I’m pleased that a platform like this exists. It is one thing to have a passion for making clothing, but it takes something extra to want to make standout pieces. I see the fire in these winners. I know they will progress at a good pace to fulfil their goals,” Mr Atafo said.
One of the beneficiaries, Justice Amadi, expressed his excitement about the training saying, “I am happy to be selected for this training, I see it as an opportunity to grow my career. Working with Kelechi Amadi has been my dream and I am grateful to Nigeria Breweries for making this come alive.”
Speaking about the journey so far, Ms Kehinde Kadiri, Portfolio Manager, Mainstream Lager, Nigerian Breweries Plc, described Isedowo and Progress Booster as major lifelines for most entrepreneurs in the region.
“We are pleased to see the number of people who are eager to get these grants to support their businesses,” she said.
Further expressing her delight especially with the addition of a mentorship program, Ms Kadiri mentioned that, “It is important to not just give people monetary support but to show them how they can utilize it and what better way than pairing them with experts who will not only help them improve their skills but share invaluable experiences from their successes and mistakes in the field.”
Progress Booster and Isedowo are empowerment initiatives that were set up to support consumers who are business owners and professionals within the Nigerian informal sector.
The initiatives set out to support them with grants, loans, and access to help them build business relationships with their informal trade associations.
Since the launch in 2017, the initiatives have grown to become a major source of support for craftsmen as well as a seal of approval and encouragement of hard work in the Southern part of Nigeria where both brands are focused.
This year alone, the initiatives have already awarded about 200 artisans across South Eastern and other South Western states while providing them with additional resources to help them get more out of their craft.
Within the last four years, Goldberg and Life Lager have been able to directly impact the businesses of over 1000 artisans through the progress booster and Isedowo programs, while also using the initiatives as touchpoints to reach most of its consumers across the South region where both brands have carved a niche for themselves as leading supporters of culture and tradition, and now entrepreneurship.