* Wants groomed entrepreneurs to create community business hubs
By Codratus Godson
The dream of oil giant, Total E&P, is to enthrone a vibrant economy at the rural areas for host communities in the Niger Delta of Nigeria.
On Thursday, April 18, 2019, hundreds of trainers who train business owners in the host communities gathered in Port Harcourt to learn new techniques aimed at imparting more knowledge to the business owners.
The aim is also to create a vibrant supply side economy that can meet substantial part of the demand side in the economy.
Total E&P has launched a scheme to transform local business owners into world class entrepreneurs. To achieve this, Total has kick-started a programme of training entrepreneurs selected from Oil Mining License (OML) 38 host communities who are usually equipped with starter packs to begun private businesses.
To give the trainees a higher level of competence, Total began a ‘train-the-trainer’ scheme in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Thursday, April 18, 2019, at Voyage Hotel on Ken Saro Wiwa Road (formerly Stadium Road).
Resource persons who spoke at the event said it is crucial to transform the CEOs from skilled persons into business men and women, saying skill or talent alone does not put food on the table but businesses do. This, he said, underlined the need to put a business line behind one’s handwork of skill.
Declaring the training open, the Deputy General Manager, Community Affairs and Development Division, Mr James Urho, who was represented by the Capacity Development Manager, Erika Ukey-Omodu, said the aim is to groom the trainees into competent business owners.
“This is targeted at producing self-employed entrepreneurs and to support the sustainable development needs of the communities in tandem with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on jobs for all”, he said.
Urho said Total is bent on closing the gap in the employment market by producing competent entrepreneurs that can stand their own ground anywhere in the world. The oil giant said it has lined up partners that would not only train the entrepreneurs but would link them up with funding partners, markets and business openings.
He said: “We are anxious to see the trainees become trainers in the coming years. The TEPNG’s Skills Acquisition Programme is one of our human development initiatives designed to impact practical training in several trades with the main objective of producing self-employed entrepreneurs within the local economy.”
He went on: “Apart from creating employment opportunities for youths and women of our host communities, the scheme is also in tandem with the desire of the Total Group to support the socio-economic development of host communities and promote the UN SDG Number 8 on ‘Decent Work and Economic Growth”.
He said this goal has, as one of its targets, to substantially reduce by 2020 the proportion of youths not in employment, education or training.
He said it is always important for the trainers to always draw the attention of the trainees to the fact that there is no end to learning and that this opportunity is only the beginning of their training. “Please let them know that a great deal of humility and patience are required for them to continue learning at the feet of those of you who have mastered your respective trades”.
He said Total is willing to create opportunities to link up their trainees with fund donors including micro finance banks, create business links to markets and give them the needed support that should enable then further grow their skills and businesses.
One of the resource persons, Mr Chika Chinwa, revealed that the business world has demand side and the supply side, saying most of the multinational corporations operating in the oil region demand a lot of supplies which often they source from abroad. He said the crop of entrepreneurs being groomed by Total E&P would form the supply guild that would supply the needs.
Another resource person, Mr Wale Ibinayo, said technical knowledge plus business understanding would create success for any entrepreneur. He harped on business attitude, need to register a business and follow due process, the need to do a business plan, plan your market, and plan your operations.
Some of the trainers at the event expressed delight over the decision by Total to invest in the trainers and trainees in the oil region and pledged their commitment to the scheme.