AKEES SO FAR : Governor Udom Emmanuel Is Creating More Employment Opportunities By Creating More Businesses In Akwa Ibom State Through Akees—Engr Ufot Ebong

A Review of the milestones and achievements of Akwa Ibom Enterprise and Employment Scheme

The focus of governance in Akwa Ibom State principally has been on industrialization and job creation. This made it absolutely necessary to establish a programme that will engage the skills, ideas, capacities and productive endeavours of Akwa Ibom people towards inspiring an industrial revolution from down up.

In the last 15 months, AKEES has sought to get young people off the streets and into work through trainings, partnerships, franchise schemes, internships and specially designed enterprise development schemes. #AkeesSoFar, which represents a story of progress, has been resounding success.

Guided by the objective to reduce youth unemployment by 50% by 2020, through the development of youth entrepreneurs, AKEES has begun to impact whole industries in the sub-region in just one year. Over 1500 have been employed; over 85 businesses have been either created or reinforced.

- Micro-Franchising: This model allows beneficiaries of the AKEES programme to own their individual businesses through small scale partnerships and business-based authorization.

- Enterprise programmes: Here, individuals are enabled and supported to start their businesses for the meeting of certain needs in the marketplace. It allows for start-ups in other parts of the country to consider doing business with the ones domiciled in Akwa Ibom State.

- Job Programmes: The question of unemployment depends largely on the employability of the jobless. This is why AKEES has a programme designed to equip youths with the requisite skill-sets for diverse industries.

- Common facility & Equipment Centres: Having studied prototypes functional in emerging economies of the world, this model was developed to encourage the formation of industry clusters all over the state. Merits are that individual entrepreneurs that belong to the same industries can utilize the same facilities and apparatuses for their different production operations.

SUCCESS STORIES INDUSTRY BY INDUSTRY. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the enterprises partnering with and/or benefiting from AKEES.

Beginning with a team of 6 dynamic members, NEWSLITE have provided summarized news to readers over the internet, residing within Nigeria and those overseas for over 10 months. They have visitors from over 20 countries of the world using their services, daily.

CRYSTAL MEDIA SERVICES is a group of innovative young entrepreneurs who integrate web design, infographics, video editing, podcast, bulk SMS, automated voice prompts and online marketing to provide enterprise consultancy solutions.

COURTESY AFRICA TV provide communications, publicity and advertisement services and also event promotions and feature interviews.

PREMIUM HERALD is a media company that provides online news services, web design, digital marketing and brand consulting.

ONUK INTERACTIVE design brand items for businesses, websites, advertisement and PR campaigns. A key mark of Onuk interactive designs is seen in the broad diversity of business brand art they have produced; the ability to create a brand design that interprets the uniqueness of each client.

FOCUSVILLE employ creative approach to capturing events for memories. Using up to date photography equipment, they constitute among the best media recording business units in the State.

ORBIT STUDIO is a media start-up that shoots short films, movies, documentary, TV series, photography, with the vision to make world-class cinematography affordable.

Undoubtedly, one of the most outstanding success stories of AKEES is SUNICK CLOTHING. A partner with AKEES, Sunick also hosts a fashion Common Facility Centre (CFC) for the scheme. Over 300 tailors have signed up since set up to use the Sunick CFC. On their part, Sunick have been immensely imparted by the partnership, as they have had access to equipment to enhance their production to volumes and quality that have allowed them to sign mega deals to produce jerseys to academic institutions, football clubs (E.g. Akwa Starlet, Akwa United FC, Ibom Angels, Cofine FC), and other uniform agencies. The manager of Sunick, Mr. Nicodemus Ibanga was nominated for an award as an emerging young entrepreneur in the Niger Delta sub-region.

ALWAYS FRESH came up with trendy urban clothing with a focus on what they call streetwear, which are casual graphic t-shirts, hoodies, casual sportswear and more. They also produce fashion with options of customization and personalization for specific individual events.

DACHE PEARLS is one of the fastest growing and creative jewelry brand in Nigeria, offering beaded jewelry and Gele tying and training.

A major achievement of AKEES has been in the Agriculture sector. Early on in the lifespan of the scheme, a model was developed to help individuals with different interests in Agriculture and different assets, forge partnerships and achieve common objectives.

Land owners were encouraged into partnering with technology owners, and seeds were provided by yet another party, while the unemployed were provided, both to receive training and to supply labour.

BOLLAND FARMS helps franchise farmers to cultivate, process and sell their produce to buyers at value added standards. With over 100 people recruited, and over 50 franchise tomato farms in 2 senatorial districts incubated by Bolland farms, this is truly a success story.

ENI FARMS was one of the first farms, after Bolland, that presented their farmland for a demonstration of the AKEES tomato and other fast yielding cash vegetables production scheme. Incidentally, this initiative preceded the famed plague of the Tuta Absoluta virus attack on tomato crops that skyrocketed the cost of tomatoes all over the country.

CROPEX provides a broad variety of traditional agricultural produce. They work with local farmers and agro-business vendors to ensure availability of fresh farm produce for their subscribers.

CASHLOG headline the achievements of AKEES in this sector. They specialize in helping Small and Medium Enterprises to keep record of their financial transactions, to measure the progress of their businesses, cut cost, track cash flow and so on, in order to maintain up-to-date records and improve accuracy and dependability on their business accounts. Starting with 8 staff, they now have franchisees in at least 4 other major towns of the state, and one in Cross River State.

CASHTRACK Analysis is another bookkeeping and accounting business reinforced by AKEES. They provide reports to aid financial management in businesses and help investors to determine the growth of a particular business of interest.

KWO is a micro-savings platform that allows small businesses and individuals to save any amount of money daily in order to meet targets in their financial lives. They go to clients and help handle their cash for each day.

LAWJIK LEGAL SOLUTIONS bring legal services a lot closer to businesses. They help businesses overcome their fears of dealing with the all-too-necessary but seemingly elitist services of business legal counsel.

PEAR AD offers pocket-friendly, targeted and far-reaching advertisement and marketing solutions to business and organizations. This company is built on the foundation of quality service delivery, attention to details and customer satisfaction.

AKEES prioritizes a regular review of the entire scheme, assessing its programmes, projects, partners and beneficiaries, in a principle that advocates not only transparency, but also continuity and consistency of quality. The #AkeesSoFar sub-project is one of such open assessments, with members of the public invited to weigh in on the fast-progressing enterprise development scheme.

A press conference will kick the project campaign open, followed by the launch of yet another AKEES project; an ICT training programme. It will be followed by a tour of AKEES project locations and businesses in a special exhibition event called AKEES marketplace. A fresh Agric scheme will be flagged off, and then a fashion incubator mini-project.

It is expected that Akwa Ibom people will come to appreciate the matchless value addition of the AKEES initiative to the evolution of Akwa Ibom State from a huge community of financial dependents to a frontline big business hub in the West African region, by the Udom Emmanuel led administration.

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