The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), has distributed N14 million to 35 graduates of its 2017 Regional LiveWIRE entrepreneurial programme.
The cheques for the money were distributed, on Friday, in Effurun, Delta state.
Each of the beneficiaries of the programme got N400,000 as business start-up grant.
In his address of welcome, the General Manager, External Relations of SPDC, Igo Weli, said the youth enterprise development programme was launched in 2003 and has produced 6,687 Niger Delta entrepreneurs.
Weli. who was represented by the SPDC Infrastructural Manager, John Uduaghan, said the programme was targeted at communities to inspire, encourage and support youths to start their own businesses or expand existing ones.
“We do this by providing them with requisite training and start-up finance with the hope that with legitimate alternative means of livelihood, our young men and women will shun vices.
“These beneficiaries went through the entrepreneurship training, wrote business plans; pitched their business ideas and at the end 35 best-performing beneficiaries were selected.
“They will be receiving awards of business start-up grant and with the grant, we expect that they will be able to successfully establish their businesses,” Weli said.
He said the Shell LiveWIRE Nigeria programme was part of the global Shell LiveWIRE social investment programme, which enabled young people to start their own business and also create employment.
He said the Shell LiveWIRE Nigeria has won several awards – including the Social Enterprise Award in 2010 and the African Leadership Award for Youth Development in 2011.
Outlining some benefits of the LiveWIRE, Weli said the programme offered opportunity for beneficiaries to compete for the Global Shell LiveWIRE Top Ten Investors Award, adding that two Nigerians, Deborah Atalor and Precious Adeho emerged winners in the 2017 edition.