Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has called on beneficiaries of the various skills acquisition and entrepreneurial development programmes of the state government to be prudent in the management of their financial resources to enable them succeed in their various enterprises.

Okowa made the call on Tuesday while presiding over the joint graduation/distribution of business start-up packs to beneficiaries of third cycle of the Rural Youth Skills Acquisition Programme (RYSA) and the third stream of 2022 Girls Entrepreneurship and Skills Training Programme (Project GEST) at the Event Centre, Asaba.

He stressed the need for financial discipline among beneficiaries of the various entrepreneurship training programmes of the state government, adding that they should think fast and build up their businesses.

While saying that the graduands would be the last beneficiaries of the programmes under his administration as governor, Okowa urged them to work and pray very hard to ensure that they excel.

“There is need for financial discipline. It has been spoken about today. As you start to make money, do not rush out to begin to buy luxury goods like cars and the rest.

“Think fast and build up your business. Allow your business to stand strong and expand before you start thinking of the luxuries of life.

“Remember this day that you are the last of the beneficiaries under my administration as governor. Therefore, you must work and pray very hard to ensure that you excel.

“When you excel, you will be a reference point to my finishing strong. So, please remember always as you work hard, that you represent that which we started with.

“And that whatever you do, will have an impact concerning the history of the entrepreneurship programme of this state. Once you have the will power and you are committed and pray; there will be no limit to your success story.

“Challenges will come on the way but I believe that the training you have received and by the grace of God, you will go through those challenges and explode for Delta State and our nation Nigeria.

“And you will live to be spoken about in months and years to come. I believe that because I know that the grace of God upon my life will impact on you all,” the governor stated.

Governor Okowa, who congratulated graduands of the RYSA and Project GEST programmes, expressed appreciation to the Ministry of Youth Development and the Ministry of Girl Child Development for working so hard to translate the vision of the state government vis-a-vis entrepreneurial development into reality.

He told them that challenges will come on the way, emphasising that with the training they had received and by the grace of God, they would go through those challenges and explode for Delta State and the nation Nigeria.

According to him, the graduands have acquired skills, pointing out that the skills must be put to use to enable them succeed in their businesses saying, “it is time to think about yourself and to realise that you can only grow when you are able to match a whole lot of things with your skill.

“And your dreams will stay alive when everything is put right. Pray always as you work hard and you will definitely succeed.

“I am glad that you started a community business school. Beyond the fact that you have been able to teach them the business skills; the fact that early enough, you are already making them to realise that there is a need to give back to the society, is something that we must applaud.

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“When you give, you do not lack and therefore, as you start up, it is my prayer that the various groups that you have been able to put together; that you keep the group alive.

“As an individual, you may not be able to give much but collectively, you can give the little that you are able to give and impact on lives; either to individuals or to the community.

“Once you engage in community service, God has a way of blessing you. It is my prayer that God will continue to bless each an every one of you as you continue to give back to the society as you grow.”

In his speech at the ceremony, the Commissioner for Youth Development, Comrade Ifeanyi Egwuyenga said the RYSA journey which began in 2020 graduated a total of 776 pioneer beneficiaries, adding that 782 beneficiaries graduated in 2021.

Egwuyenga disclosed that over 93 per cent of the beneficiaries were in active business, gaining traction in their communities with their ongoing ventures, and serving as trainers for various empowerment initiatives at the state and federal levels.

He disclosed that the Ministry increased the number of skills from 10 to 11 in an effort to better the RYSA programme and meet the rising community expectations.

“The selection procedure was more stringent for both trainers and trainees, and it was carried out through a thorough and empirical method employing a combination of knowledge and skill-based interviews and competency tests to choose the competent trainers and qualified trainees from the received applications,” he said.

The Commissioner pointed out that the 2022 cycle of RYSA trainees underwent practical, hands-on, interactive training sessions over the course of 12 weeks in an effort to advance their level of skill mastery.

Also speaking, the Commissioner for the Ministry of Girl Child Development, Mrs. Nkechi Chukwurah said beneficiaries of Project GEST have soared and blossomed into phenomenal fashion designers, tech gurus, creative photographers and videographers, exceptional bakers, talented bag makers, skilled disk jockeys, capable professional cleaners, accomplished hair dressers, impressive makeup artists and more recently, expert barbers.

We have seen our girls soar and blossom into phenomenal Fashion Designers, Tech gurus, creative Photographers and Videographers, exceptional Bakers, talented bag makers, skilled Disk Jockeys, capable Professional Cleaners, accomplished Hair dressers, impressive Makeup artists and more recently, expert Barbers.

“Our girls have won awards and excelled in their areas of expertise. Our girls are among the trainers in state government and private empowerment programmes including GEST and RYSA,” she said.

According to her, 500 girls started the journey but only 498 of them were to make it to the end, pointing out that completing the training programme was not an easy feat as it takes determination, hard work, and dedication to see it through to the end.

“You should all be proud of yourselves for the commitment you have shown to kick start your entrepreneurial journey and your future.

“As you leave this ceremony and embark on your journey to building your business empire, I urge you to remember the value of hard work, determination, and continuous learning,” Chukwurah said.

The ceremony was attended by the governor’s wife, Dame Edith Okowa; deputy governor-elect, Mr. Monday Onyeme and the wife of the governor-elect, Mrs. Tobore Oborevwori and other top government functionaries.