Marcus Ekure is a social entrepreneur, activist and community development consultant from Eku in Delta State. NAFISAT TIAMIYU chronicles how this marketing scholar has taken entrepreneurship to a new height: empowering youths
Vibrant and articulate, with passion for high standards, Ekure has enormous interest in speaking, travelling, meeting people, reading and swimming.
He holds a Bachelors degree in Accounting, Masters in Marketing and is studying for his Ph.D in Marketing Communication. He is an international public speaker, social entrepreneur and vocational consultant with over 18 years field work experience in social re-engineering, youth empowerment, human capital and community development.
The Urhobo Progressive Youth Association he founded nine years ago is a registered non-governmental organisation that promotes social protection, poverty eradication, global peace, community development, youth and women empowerment through awareness programmes, job creation, as well as leadership, vocational and entrepreneurship education.
“You would remain where you are now in 10 years, except for the books you read and the people you meet,” a quote by Bob Bass, is one of his favourites.
His inspiration from some men of God is evident in his statement, “In our pursuit of vision, God has blessed us with men who have been instrumental in our social entrepreneurship walk.
“Most times, people ask us how and where we get funding for the big humanity projects we undertake. Frankly speaking, it is even difficult for us to explain, as we attribute the whole glory to God Almighty, whose infinite mercy and grace keep pushing us on the path of our destiny helpers.”
UPYA and ACLEVS
As an organisation, UPYA has done so much for humanity. First, it came up with the idea to build a job database where unemployed youths submit their curriculum vitae for job placements.
After building the database, he saw a need to establish a vocational institution to help train the youths and women, to enhance their drive for financial independence. The database, which contains over 30,000 CVs, has attracted about 133 jobs in different establishments.
Through the African Centre for Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Vocational Studies, Ekere has been able to train over 5,000 youths and women in various vocations, including welding and fabrication, bead making, catering, information and communications technology, and leadership.
He was able to secure the Federal Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme’s MarketMoni loan of N50,000 each, through the Bank of Industry, for about 800 youths and women in Delta.
His ‘Operation Catch them Young’, a mentoring and leadership programme, for pupils and students, has reached out to over 80,000 young ones, many of whom he constantly relates with.
Various seminars, workshops, television and radio programmes geared towards positive mental re-engineering count to his credit.
UPYA/ACLEVS Mobile Empowerment Train was commissioned on September 30, 2017 at Wellington Hotel, Effurun, to take skill acquisition to the doorsteps of less-privileged Delta youths and women at no cost. The mobile empowerment programme has in its kitty ICT (with about 20 laptops), catering, phone and computer repairs, bead craft, as well as leadership training.
The organisation does not intend to just train the beneficiaries on these skills, but to also whet their appetite for good life to enable them self-sustain.