No fewer than 12 graduates have received N2.4 million start-off grant of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) for its 2018 Joint Venture Livewire Programme.
The beneficiaries, who were all women, received N200, 000 each. The grant is the SPDC meant for Escravos-Otumara Women. The presentation was made on Friday at an award ceremony held in Effurun, Uvwie Local Government area of Delta.
The SPDC General Manager (External Relations), Mr. Igo Weli, was represented on the occasion by the Social Investment Manager, Mr. Emmanuel Ekpeyong.
Weli said that over 6,000 persons in Niger Delta had benefited from the programme since its inception in 2003.
He said that the beneficiaries underwent intensive entrepreneurship training before they qualified to receive the start-up grants.
Weli urged the beneficiaries to be focused and determined to succeed in their chosen careers.
“We expect that they will be able to join the rank of successful business owners by nurturing their ideas to fruition.
“Of course, they can count on our continuous support as they nurture their ideas.
“To the beneficiaries, you are taking the first step in what we hope will be a long and fulfilling career in self-development and skill optimisation.
“There are huge opportunities lying ahead.
“The road to being a successful entrepreneur is seldom smooth, but if the journey is undertaken with commitment and zeal it deserves, it can be very rewarding,’’ he said.
Weli said the Shell Livewire Programme was part of global Shell Livewire Social Investment Initiative which enabled young people to start their own businesses and create employment.
“The programme brings beneficiaries into the league of thousands of young entrepreneurs world over, who compete for the Global Shell Livewire Top Ten Innovators Award, which comes with huge benefits and rewards,” he said.
Miss Benedicta Salubi, one of the beneficiaries in the 2013 edition, advised the graduates to be prudent and also relate closely with their benefactor.
Meanwhile, the Delta Commissioner for Oil and Gas, Mr. Mofe Pirah, has urged SPDC to relocate to Delta and resume operation.
Pirah, who was represented at the award ceremony by the Director of Local Content, Mr. Avwenaghagha Aweka, said the absence of SPDC had drastically affected the economy of the state.