FeaturesIbom-LED Programme Of Umo Eno's Administration: The Success So Far

Ibom-LED Programme Of Umo Eno’s Administration: The Success So Far

May 10, (THEWILL) – From the inception of office as the Governor of Akwa Ibom State on May 29, 2023, Pastor Umo Eno had said his administration is committed to supporting indigenous entrepreneurs to develop the state’s economy. He expressed in several fora, the determination of his administration to ignite the entrepreneurial spirit in the people of the state. In This Report, UDEME UTIP takes an overview of how the vision of entrepreneurial revolution championed by the Ibom Leadership and Entrepreneurial Centre (Ibom-LED) is progressing in the state.

Governor Umo Eno always expresses the entrepreneurship vision of his administration with strength, passion, conviction and the zeal of an accomplished future.

He often envisions Akwa Ibom with able-bodied youths being conveniently engaged with entrepreneurial skills and putting to rest a culture of pestering around politicians, turning unemployed aides as a source of livelihood.

To halt the vice and reversed culture and birth his vision, the Ibom Leadership and Entrepreneurial Centre (Ibom LED) was established, as part of an event to mark the 2023 anniversary of the state creation, using the nearly abandoned E-Library, built by the administration of Chief Godswill Akpabio as the Centre.

To interpret and implement this vision, the Governor appointed Imo-abasi Jacob, Managing Director of AKICORP, as the Team Leader of Ibom-LED, a deliberate reprogramme meant to train and equip young entrepreneurs with the necessary knowledge and skills to develop, modernise and expand their business. He also appointed Mrs Ekaette Umoh, as Pioneer General Manager, While Mr Ime Uwah, SSA on Entrepreneurial Development, serves as the Programme Director of the Centre.

The trio were tasked with the responsibility of interpreting the Governor’s entrepreneurial blueprint by articulating and implementing the strength of his vision, the passion of his conviction and the zeal of his futuristic insight in line with the administration’s entrepreneurial philosophy.

IBOM LED consists of comprehensive training programmes to empower individuals with essential skills, fostering personal and professional growth for success, with business advisory service providing guidance and support to entrepreneurs and businesses in Nigeria, and organising business retreats to help people and organisations develop their leadership and entrepreneurial skills.

The Ibom Leadership and Entrepreneurial Development Centre (Ibom LED) offer various programs to support and nurture entrepreneurs in Akwa Ibom such as the Ibom-LED Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme (EAP), designed to promote business management skills and sustainable growth for both existing and aspiring entrepreneurs under three months, with one intensive week of learning every month. Topics covered include business development, market research, financial management, sales and marketing strategies, product development, legal compliance, and more.

Outcomes of EAP included: Skill enhancement, exposure, networking opportunities, and expert mentorship. Targeted at Start-up entrepreneurs, micro and small business owners, youth, women entrepreneurs, innovators, tech entrepreneurs, and rural entrepreneurs.

2. Ibom-LED Business Mastery Programme (BMP): a comprehensive training programme covering various aspects of business management, including operations, communication, negotiation, marketing, leadership, and more.

3. Ibom-LED Business Leadership and Entrepreneurship Programme (BLEP): focused on developing leadership skills and fostering a culture of innovation and ethical practices among the youth.

4. Transforming Nigerian Youths Programme (TNY): which aims to equip young Nigerians with essential skills for personal and professional growth.
5. The Ibom Ignite Business Grant Award Programme (IIBGA) aims to provide funding opportunities for entrepreneurs.

6. Ibom-LED Start-Up Accelerator & Incubation Programme (SAIP) for support to early-stage start-ups through mentorship, resources, and guidance.

The Ibom LED Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme is designed to support and nurture entrepreneurs to promote their business management skills and sustainable growth. The programme is open to both existing and aspiring entrepreneurs. It provides them with the necessary training, mentoring, and funding to transform their ideas into successful businesses. The intensive training took beneficiaries through:
Business Development
Market Research and Analysis
Financial Management
Sales and Marketing Strategies
Product Development and Innovation
Legal and Regulatory Compliance
Networking and Collaboration
Pitching and Presentation Skills
Access to Resources
Expectations from the programme include:
Skill Enhancement: The programme offers various training sessions, workshops, and seminars focused on developing essential entrepreneurial skills. These skills can include business planning, financial management, marketing strategies, and pitching techniques.

Exposure and Visibility: By participating in the programme, entrepreneurs can gain exposure and visibility for their businesses. This can help them attract customers, partners, and potential investors, ultimately leading to business growth and success.

Networking Opportunities: The programme also offers several networking opportunities with fellow entrepreneurs, industry experts, and potential investors. Building a strong network can open doors for partnerships, collaborations, and funding opportunities.

Expert Mentorship: The programme provides participants with access to experienced mentors who can provide Guidance and advice on various aspects of entrepreneurship. This can be invaluable for first-time entrepreneurs or those looking to take their business to the next level. The programme is designed for Start-up entrepreneurs, Micro and small business owners Youth, Women entrepreneurs, Innovators and tech entrepreneurs, Rural entrepreneurs, and social entrepreneurs.

Not ending at making speeches, Umo Eno donated N250 million for the take-off and training of the first Batch of 400 participants.

N50 million went for their School Fees and Training while N200 million will be disbursed as a Business Support Grant of N500,000 to each trainee upon completion. Trainees who have products that needed NAFDAC certification, licenses and registration were to be helped to get such, he directed.

With his unique ability and charisma to galvanising people to come together to the logic of his convictions and beliefs and analytical mindset, the governor was able to gather the brightest and the best into his team to interpret and implement his vision, it is not surprising that the strength of his vision has made Ibom-LED a huge success.

In fulfilment of his promise to train and empower entrepreneurs in Akwa Ibom State, Pastor Umo Eno penultimate week, disbursed a N500,000 grant to 800 Ibom-LED trainees. This was followed by the branding of the beneficiaries’ business outlets across the state.

While presenting the cheques, Eno congratulated the beneficiaries for successfully going through the programme and described them as ambassadors of the EAP.

“I like to say clearly here that whether this programme will continue or not depends on you because you are the ambassadors of this programme.

“You are not all totally new in businesses or entrepreneurship. I am not concerned about the little seed that’ll be put in your hands, but the training you’ve received”, the governor said.

He took time to admonish the beneficiaries on some business tips, warning that their success and failure were in their hands

“For now, don’t be politicians, just be entrepreneurs. This is an opportunity for you to have a primary address. If you have got a primary address, politics is secondary.

“People will respect you for what you can do. This little money is a seed and if you plant it well, it will bring a mighty harvest. I remember that, in this state, I opened my hotel with just five rooms, and a few years later, we had grown exponentially.

“The first thing is that you must make up your mind to succeed and in that determination, there will be a place of sacrifice and self-denial.

“People will tell you all manner of things, don’t mind them. Your time will soon arrive. Above all, this community has been created; stay around the community and don’t try to impress people.”

The governor promised that “as a government, we’ll continue to support you. This is just the beginning.”

Team Lead of Ibom Leadership and Entrepreneurship Development, Imoabasi Jacob, a church pastor, in his remarks appreciated the governor for the vision, commitment and support for the Akwa Ibom business community and assured that given the quality training to the beneficiaries, the grants will yield the desired dividends.

In her keynote address at the event, Head of the Alumni Directorate and Support Services of Enterprise Development Center at the Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos, Ms Nnena Ugwu, advised the beneficiaries to cultivate a culture of discipline, commitment and focus to enable them to succeed in their different business ventures.

However, one of the beneficiaries of the Eno administration’s N400 million business grant to Akwa Ibom entrepreneurs, is Jones Okon Akpan, a person living with a disability.

Akpan, the CEO of Jones Shoe Manufacturing, refuses to see disabilities. Instead, he saw a season and an opportunity with Governor Umo Eno who leap-frogged from a five-room to a towering consortium of hospitality brands before public service forced him to step aside.

The grateful Akpan did something instructive while crawling to receive his cheque from Governor Eno, he handed him a pair of shoes as a gift and the governor, who has humanised policies, handed Akpan a cheque of N500,000, added an extra N1 million, and also directed the Health Commissioner to ensure the daring businessman is mobile.

Looking at Akpan with compassion, Eno says he is committed to lifting 5,000 likes of Jones to enviable heights of business leadership.

To the Governor, the Ibom-LED success story is a stark reminder of how long the road towards building a new crop of young Akwa Ibom entrepreneurs is but how necessary it must be that as a government and a people, it must be travelled, especially as the state is blessed with a generation of young, industrious, hard-working, creative, talented and passionate youth desirous of creating small businesses but lack seed capital, training and access to market and network.

The project witnessed 400 participants of the Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme, (EAP) Batch 01 who participated in the mandatory 3-month training from October 16 – December 15, 2023, and the 400 Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme, (EAP) 02 Batch B participants who started their training from January 29 – March 28, 2024, at the Ibom Leadership and Entrepreneurial Centre, at IBB Avenue, Uyo, receiving the grant.

The 800 beneficiaries successfully completed a 3-month mandatory training which stood them out as certified ambassadors of the centre poised to become world-class leaders in their respective fields, equipped with the knowledge and skills garnered during the training.

The participants underwent training covering key facets of entrepreneurship such as; Business Development, Record Keeping, Sales and Marketing Strategies, Product Development and Innovation, Legal and Regulatory Compliance, Networking and Collaboration, Pitching and Presentation Skills, and Access to Funding and Resources.

The beneficiaries upon completion of training were officially inducted into the distinguished alumni community of Ibom-LED, a platform where membership creates a meeting and melting point between the trainees and would-be-investors, with lots of benefits, including expert mentorship, networking opportunities, funding avenues, comprehensive support, and heightened exposure in the business landscape.

The 3-month rigorous training ensured that participants stand as certified agents poised to become world-class leaders in their respective fields, equipped with the knowledge and skills garnered during this transformative programme.

As part of a conscious policy direction, the Governor has assured that the trainees at the Ibom-LED Tailoring & Shoemaking Hub will be responsible for the production of over a million school uniforms and shoes for pupils and uniforms and boots for the men of the Ibom Community Watch in the state.

“In line with our commitment to support our indigenous entrepreneurs, we have ensured that all contracts for the production of school uniforms and shoes for our pupils and uniforms and boots for the men of the Ibom Community Watch are handled by our youths at the Shoe and Fabric Hub housed at the Ibom-LED Centre. I call on all of you to avail yourself of the programmes initiated by the Centre”, the Governor declared during the presentation ceremony.

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