ACCI inaugurates ‘young CEOs club’ to spur entrepreneurship

Blessing Onyeaka/Emmanuella Anokam

The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has inaugurated the “Young CEOs Club” for young business owners to encourage mentoring and training young entrepreneurs to achieve financial freedom.

The “Young CEOs Club” which is the fifth membership category of the ACCI is established for young people between ages of 18 and 30 years, who own registered businesses.

The ACCI President, Dr Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, while inaugurating the club on Thursday in Abuja,  said  that one of the core mandates of the chamber was to attract young and dynamic members to boost entrepreneurship.

He said  that Nigeria with nearly 200 million people with youths constituting more than 60 per cent of its population was one of the countries with the largest young population in the world.

Abubakar noted that the chamber recognised the statistics as a positive indicator and had consequently established the Young CEOs category to amplify the voice of young business people.

“As a chamber, it is one of our core mandates to expand the membership base and attract young and dynamic members to the chamber. And this new category aptly fits into our strategic plan.

“With a population of nearly 200 million people and the youths constituting more than 60 per cent, the future of Nigeria and even the business community belongs to the youth.

“I also have no doubt that the CEO membership cadre will amplify the voice of our young business people who hitherto, had no voice for mentorship, guidance, business linkages and support,” he said.

He added that as part of the efforts to encourage young people to participate in the new category, the chamber made the registration process less cumbersome and also subsidised the registration fee.

“So, you can conveniently register and invite other young entrepreneurs to register,” Abubakar added.

Chief Emeka Obegolu, First Deputy President, ACCI and Chairman, Membership Committee, described the Young CEO category as a networking platform for serious minded entrepreneurs who wished to attain financial freedom.

Obegolo, represented by Dr Johnson Anene, Chairman of Abuja Trade Center and Vice President of Mines said it was focused on inspiring, training, empowering and mentoring young entrepreneurs to promote their businesses at all times.

He highlighted the benefits of joining the Young CEOs Club, which included Business listing on the Chamber’s platform, Monthly breakfast meeting with top business men and government agencies and mentorship programmes for SMEs.

Other benefits are International Contacts and Business Partners/Embassies, Hosted Trade Delegations and Consulates, Monthly Round- table discussions on policies relevant to the organised private sector in Nigeria, amongst others.

The ACCI Director-General, Ms Victoria Akai, in an address  said that ACCI was one of the only two “Grade A” chambers of commerce in Nigeria.

According to her, the other ‘Grade A’ is the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

She highlighted that the chamber operated through five centers which were, Abuja Trade Center, for business facilitation and activities and the Policy Advocacy Center, for policy advocacy.

Others according to her are the Dispute Resolution Center, for cost effective resolution of dispute through alternative dispute resolution methods, and the Business Entrepreneurship Skills and Technology Center, for training and capacity building.

She enjoined the youths to key into the Young CEOs category to benefit from the numerous opportunities it offered.

“I will encourage you that as you show interest in joining this category of membership, please leverage on the opportunities that our centers have for you,” Akai said. (NAN)

•PHOTO: Dr Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, ACCI President, during inauguration of the ‘Young CEOs Club’