A physically challenged entrepreneur from Akwa Ibom State, Mr Jones Okon Akpan, along with 779 others has been awarded a N400 million business grant by the State Government.

This grant was part of the Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme initiated by state Governor, Umo Eno.

During the presentation ceremony held at the Government House Banquet Hall in Uyo, Eno who was moved by compassion directed that Akpan be provided with appropriate mobility aids and additional support.

Addressing the beneficiaries, the governor described the beneficiaries as ambassadors of the Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme, urging them to focus on their businesses rather than getting involved in politics.

He said, “I would like to say clearly here that whether this programme will continue or not depends on you because you are the ambassadors of this programme. You are not all totally new in business or entrepreneurship. I am not concerned about the little seed that’ll be put in your hands, but the training you’ve received.” Eno said.

“Everything you need to succeed is in your hands. For now, don’t be politicians, just be an entrepreneur. This is an opportunity for you to have a primary address. If you have a primary address, politics is secondary.”

Sharing his success story, Eno stated, “People will respect you for what you can do. This little money is a seed and if you plant it well. It will bring a mighty harvest. I remember that, in this state, I opened my hotel with just five rooms, and a few years later, we had grown exponentially.

“The first thing is that you must make up your minds to succeed and in that determination, there will be a place of sacrifice and self-denial. People will tell you all manner of things, don’t mind them. Your time will soon arrive. Above all, this community has been created; stay around the community and don’t try to impress people. As a government, we’ll continue to support you. This is just the beginning.

“I have directed that Mr. Jones Okon Akpan of Jones Manufacturing, be given a good means of mobility as well as an additional support” the governor said.

Earlier, the team lead of Ibom Leadership and Entrepreneurship Development, Imoabasi Jacob, commended the governor for supporting the business community in the state.

He assured that with proper training, these grants would result in fruitful outcomes for all beneficiaries.

In her keynote address, the Head of Alumni Directorate and Support Services, Enterprise Development Center, Pan-Atlantic University Lagos, Ms Nnena Ugwu, advised the beneficiaries to cultivate a culture of discipline, commitment and focus on achieving success in their respective ventures.

Also speaking, the Director General of the Umo Eno/Akon Eyakenyi campaign, Chief Assam Assam SAN, appreciated the governor for keeping to his campaign promises and advised the beneficiaries to see the seed money as a springboard that will put them on the global map of entrepreneurship.

Expressing gratitude on behalf of other beneficiaries, Mrs Ekaette Umoh from Ibom-LED and Daniel Esetang representing Batch 1 Alumni President, assured that the grant will be judiciously used for the expansion of their businesses and the greater good of the State.

In January, Eno promised to boost the state’s economy by reviving the entrepreneurial spirit of the people.

He also said his administration would build an international market in Ikot Ekpene to boost economic activities which he said will in turn reduce the stress of young entrepreneurs travelling outside the state looking for raw materials.