The grand finale of the IgbaBoi Hero campaign from Hero Lager in promotion of Igbo apprenticeship scheme popularly called, Igba Boi, held in Lagos on Tuesday, December 7, 2021.
The IgbaBoi Hero initiative of Hero Lager, a premium beer by International Breweries Plc, a proud part of the world’s largest brewer with over 400 beer brands, AB InBev, culminated in the award of certificates and financial grants totalling 50 million Naira to graduates of the scheme.
The Initiative was launched to reinforce its Ahagiefula (Legacy) Campaign message – May Your Name Never Be Forgotten. This campaign was built upon the insight that the Igbo people’s biggest ambition is to leave a legacy that makes their names renowned. The Igbo Apprenticeship (Igba Boi) system is the longest existing communal legacy of the Igbo People.
Igba Boi was activated in six markets across the South East and Lagos including Ogbaru Main Market, Onitsha, Nkwo Nnewi Market, Awka, Coal Camp Market, Enugu, Alaba International Market, Owerri, Ariaria International Market, Aba, and Alaba International Market, Lagos. The campaign reached a total of 12,290,487 million people, 4680 apprentices applied to the programme and 300 apprentices were eventually shortlisted. These 300, got an of total 1.4M + votes of confidence from consumers who were asked to vote in support of their ambition.
Marketing Director, International Breweries Plc, Tolulope Adedeji, commended the apprentices and their Trade Masters for upholding the legacy of the highly impactful programme that has created employment for Igbo youths.
According to Adedeji, “We are so proud to have the grand finale of the graduation of our Igba Boi apprentices. It is the first of its kind and this achievement means a lot to us knowing how dearly Hero Lager holds the Igbo culture to its heart. This year, we announced the 50 million Naira seed money and we have taken the initiative to places like Aba, Onitsha, Enugu, Awka, Imo and here in Lagos. Almost 5,000 apprentices in Nigeria applied to benefit from this programme. We worked with the Onitsha Business School, the Trade Masters, and Market Associations, and we shortlisted 300 apprentices that are benefiting from this seed funding across the cities.”
Legendary actor and Hero brand Ambassador, Nkem Owoh who graced the occasion appealed to the government to support the scheme as a way of employing young men and women.
Speaking on the origin and importance of the Igba Boi scheme, the Nollywood veteran said, “The concept and original objective of Igba Boi is not to make money but to project family values. Everyone I know who went through the Igba Boi training is doing well today. Those who still want to get a university degree after graduating from the Igba Boi training and owning their own business do it with ease.”
Ben Okoli, a Trade Master whose apprentices, Chinonso Nowo and Patrick Idika received cheques of 500,000 Naira each thanked Hero Lager for the initiative. The Trade Masters also received an award for their contribution to the perpetuation of the Igba Boi apprenticeship scheme.
According to Okoli, “What Hero is doing is unprecedented as no other brand has shown the Igbos this much love. Igba Boi is an Igbo heritage and we are very proud of it. It employs our youths immediately after they finish their secondary school education. Beyond the business, my apprentices learn character because we are like a family outside the biological family.”
One of the apprentices, Patrick Idika, thanked Hero for the support. “I will soon graduate from my Trade Master, and this support will assist me in starting up my business on a good footing. I will add whatever my Master gives me to the Hero Igba Boi fund and start strong. I still remember the training I received and will put it to good use in growing my business.”
Brand Manager, Hero Lager, Dubem Orji noted that Hero Lager started a campaign, Aha-Gi-Efula–‘may your name never is forgotten’—to propagate the importance of legacy. “We conducted a study to find out what the Igbo people are known for globally and discovered that the Igbo apprenticeship system is one thing that stands out as a culture of the Igbo people. Hero Lager thought it wise to support the Igbo apprenticeship system and went ahead to produce ‘The Hero’s Walk’ documentary to tell the story and showcase this integral aspect of the Igbo culture.”
The event had appearances of Hero brand ambassadors such as Rude Boy who performed to the adoration of guests, Zoro, Nkem Owoh, and Ill Bliss.
Hero Lager hopes to continue to support young men and women in the Eastern part of the country on their journey to successful entrepreneurship through the Igba Boi scheme.