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JCI Nigeria’s Creative Young Entrepreneurs Award: Combating Unemployment Through Innovation

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Junior Chamber International (JCI) Nigeria, through its Creative Young Entrepreneurs (CYE) Award, has honoured five outstanding entrepreneurs during its recent JCI Nigeria Southern Conference in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

The CYE is one of JCI’s programmes designed to combat unemployment by recognising innovative business ideas among members.

The CYE Awards, introduced in 2005 garnered worldwide acknowledgement after the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, it aimed to provide grants for businesses to flourish.

Rosemary Mothusi, JCI Vice President, assigned to Nigeria, present at the conference, explained how CYE came about. “We have six programs under JCI. One of them is CYE. It emanated from the world level and each country incorporated it”.

This award, which had its fourth edition in Nigeria, offers a $5000 grant at the Africa and Middle East level and a $10,000 grant at the World level. Nigeria’s representatives will be competing with representatives from other African and Middle-eastern countries for the $5000 grant at the African and The Middle East Conference (AMEC) in Kigali, Rwanda in May. Whoever wins will represent Africa and the Middle-East at the World level.

With over 100 applications received, the winners were chosen through a rigorous vetting process. According to the 2024 JCI Nigeria President, JCIN Amb. Sandra Ekene Efemuaye, the aim is not just to provide funding but also life support and mentorship.

“This is our way of encouraging entrepreneurship and fighting unemployment in the Nigerian society. We’re not just offering money. We’re also offering life support. At JCI, we have life members who are older and have become dons in their respective fields. They will play mentorship roles for the awardees.”

The award recipients, which includes, Rodiat Olaleye of Eco Heroes, Jennifer Obiorah of TeamUpCyclers, Adaeze Onuoha  of Online Drug Crib, Isaac Akinbobola of Zatil Systems and Amidu Mohammed of Plastic Build Creative Solutions Ltd exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit being fostered. JCI Nigeria emphasises developing leaders equipped for the changing world through individual development, international cooperation, community impact, and business and entrepreneurship.

JCIN Amb. Elochukwu Umeohana, 2024 JCI Executive Vice President  Southsouth/Southeast said that fostering resilience and innovation is essential for meaningful leadership in government and civil society. “The only way we can be resilient is if we’re innovative. The only way we can develop leaders that are meaningful to the government and the civil society is if we give them those skills that are needed for the future, “ he said.

The CYE Award is a testament to JCI’s commitment to nurturing entrepreneurial talent and addressing unemployment in Nigeria.

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