This was the theme of discussion recently in Lagos, when Seven-Up Bottling Company Plc announced the recipient of this year’s 7Up Harvard Business School MBA Scholarship; in the person of Miss Mayowa Kuyoro, a Mechanical Engineer.
The scheme, which was instituted in 2010 as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the company to provide young Nigerians with the opportunity to acquire skills that will equip them to become global leaders, also served as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative.
Speaking at the event, the Executive Director, Human Resources, 7Up Bottling Company Plc, Mr. Femi Mokikan, said the country would benefit from young, energetic Nigerians who are capable of transformational leadership by virtue of their education and exposure.
He listed some of the criteria for the scholarship selection to include: a valid admission letter from Harvard Business School, residency in Nigeria, relevant post-graduation self-application proposal to contribute to National development and the critical needs criterion – financial need to fund the scholarship.
He said the recipients of the scholarship are not bonded to work for 7Up Bottling Company on graduation as the sole aim of the company is to build a pool of future leaders who can cause positive disruptions for Nigeria’s economic growth.
The first recipient of the 7up Harvard Business School scholarship, Misan Rewane, graduated this year. In line with the objective of the scheme, she is already providing leadership by establishing the West Africa Vocational Education (WAVE) to train approximately 25,000 young Nigerians and other West Africans annually to equip them with the necessary skills for jobs in the hotel and hospitality industry.
Highlighting other initiatives of the company, Head of Marketing, Mr. Norden Thurston, said the organisation is always looking for ways to engage and empower its consumers.
Thurston said the 21-year-old Pepsi Football Academy, which has produced the likes of John Mikel Obi, Osaze Odemwingie, Elderson Echejile and others, stands out among these initiatives along with the sponsorship of Nigerian Idol (a music talent Show that enables Nigerians to Voice their Dream) and Felabration (a music festival to celebrate the life and music of Fela Kuti, the Afrobeat icon). He went on to say that the company supports many community, school and University initiatives across the country.
Kuyoro, from Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, who will soon be going to Harvard Business School in the United States to start her programme, said her focus after graduation would be to use her skills to help small businesses grow in Nigeria through training and mentorship.