Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has approved the sum of N500 million as take-off grant for the Young Bayelsa Entrepreneurs Network (YBEN). Dickson, who announced the approval during the formal inauguration of YBEN at Government House in Yenagoa, said the fund was a revolving loan by the state government to empower the young entrepreneurs. The gesture came on the heels of the governor’s directive for no fewer than 1,000 graduates of Bayelsa origin to be employed into the state civil service. Dickson, at the inauguration of YBEN, urged the youths to shun negative acts and channel their energies to more productive ventures for their overall good and that of the society at large.
He described Ijaw people as hardworking, but lamented the attitude of some of the present crop of youths who developed the negative mindset of short-cut to success and free money. He disclosed that the government established a business incubation centre with a shopping mall near the fly-over in the state capital, adding that a number of the shops were expected to be ready and allocated soon. The governor said the young entrepreneurs would be among the first set of beneficiaries to be allocated the shops free for a period of two years. He said they would subsequently be required to pay a token amount to use it for their businesses.
Dickson said: “I am happy that we have a crop of young men and women who want to change the narrative.” “We want you to be creators of wealth. We want you to employ others. But it is sad that most people are not seeing this opportunity that we are opening up. “But in your faces, I am seeing the future Aliko Dangotes and all the big names in business, and the restoration government is ready to give that support for you to achieve that goal. “Any Bayelsan that has an idea can get a grant to start up their small scale business; even the civil servant that wants to retire voluntarily, government is ready to support your business.”
Biboye Emein, on behalf of YBEN, expressed appreciation to Governor Dickson for approving the N500 million take-off grant for the network, and said they were ready to bring the experience they acquired outside the country to make Bayelsa great. Highpoint of the interaction was the presentation of Made-In-Bayelsa shoes and other articles to the governor, which were produced by some members of the YBEN.