SONOCO awards five thousand USD to best entrepreneurship pitch winners


ByAiah Kaminjah

 The lead sponsor of this year’s National Youth Empowerment and Entrepreneurship Fair (NYEEF), Sonoco, has awarded five thousand United States Dollars grant to top three winners of the entrepreneurship pitch competition held at  the Bintumani Conference Centre in Freetown.

The NYEEF is a four-day event that commenced on Monday 13 November and ended on Thursday 16 November, 2023.

The event was launched by the Government of Sierra Leone through the Office of the Vice President, with the aim of connecting students and job seekers to employing organisations, for the purpose of placing them in decent jobs, and also to improve the competences of youth who choose entrepreneurship as a permanent employment.

During the presentation of awards, the Managing Director of SONOCO, Mark Pritchard, thanked the Government of Sierra Leone for organising the National Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Fair and for giving SONOCO the opportunity to serve as primary sponsor of this year’s event. 

The best three contestants received awards out of five constants, with the first winner receiving 2, 500 USD, second with 1,500 while third winners with 1,000 Dollars respectively.

He assured that the company will continue with its stride to create jobs and provide entrepreneurship skills for the youths.

Pritchered confessed that they have become one of the leading conglomerates operating in diverse areas of expertise, ranging from industry, construction, real estate, mining, logistics, among others, noting that, they take pride in their exemplary ethics and contribution to the economic and social development in the sub-region since it was founded in 1992.

“We are investing heavily in flour mill and it will be operational within twelve months with the objective of providing sufficient flour in the country and far beyond. We are also investing in Agro food sector by supporting local communities with food and beverages including Salam water and Salam juice which are available in the market,’’ he said.

He emphasised that since the launch of the Bread Avenue at Wellington, SONOCO has been providing local communities with job opportunities.

He said since the launch of the Bread Avenue, their business has been going on well, adding that they have plans to expand their bakery to enhance mass production.

Alusine Kargbo, a law student at FBC and winner of the star prize, representing the Compact Agro Ventures, expressed his gratitude to Sonoco and the Government of Sierra Leone for the award.

He said the award is a testament that young people can achieve their potentials through hard work and with the right opportunity.

He said he and his business partners will wisely utilize the fund to expand their Compact Agro Ventures.

He maintained that their company will pride itself product sustainable and easily available to their target market.

In his keynote address during the launch of the program, Vice President Dr. Juldeh Jalloh formally welcomed the youth, participating organizations and businesses.

 He stated that the visible impact of last year’s NYEEF which constituted 500 youth to meet with 40 employers, was a driving force for this second edition.

He maintained that the program was in line with President Bio’s aspiration to create 500,000 jobs in five years, to address the address employment challenges.


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