No fewer than 12 young entrepreneurs from host communities to the Bonny Oil and Gas Terminal in Rivers State have benefitted from a N150 million capacity development and empowerment programme by The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC).
SPDC’s General Manager, External Relations, Igo Weli, who handed over the service entry and final settlement to the beneficiaries in Port Harcourt, described the initiative as a product of continuous effort by SPDC and its joint venture partners to empower youths, promote Nigerian content and support community participation in Nigeria’s oil and gas value chain.
Weli said: “Developing local skills, talent and contracting capacity in the Nigerian oil and gas industry is very important to SPDC and its partners. That is why we have continued to embark on programmes and projects that have sustainable impact on our host communities and the Nigerian economy.
“This is a demonstration of how much benefit a conducive business environment and cordial relationship between host communities and industry players can bring to the people.”
Weli commended the beneficiaries for their industry and determination to champion entrepreneurial rebirth among youths on Bonny Island. He encouraged the beneficiaries to always keep an optimistic business mindset and to translate the opportunities into further empowering others.
The capacity development initiative included one-year vocational training and obtaining Level 1 City and Guilds certification. The beneficiaries also received equipment and materials worth over N50 million in addition to start-up grants.
One of the beneficiaries, Christopher Irimagha, described the opportunity as “life-changing”. “The training has been beneficial in positioning us for success in our community,” he said.
This initiative is in addition to SPDC’s 16-year-old Shell LiveWIRE, an enterprise development programme designed to help young people explore the option of starting their own business as a real and viable career option. It provides training, finance, and business mentorship for young entrepreneurs.
Launched in Nigeria in 2003, Shell LiveWIRE has produced thousands of Niger Delta 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.