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Virgin Atlantic Airways invests $1m in entrepreneurship in 2017

Richard Branson
By Adekunle Williams
Virgin Atlantic Airways has invested over one million dollars in the outgoing year to help promising Nigerian entrepreneurs to develop their commercial skills and businesses.

The airlines’s Country Manager, Mr Samuel Lindfield, made the disclosure on Tuesday in Lagos at a media parley.

Lindfield said that the airline in the year collaborated with the winners of the British Council “Enterprise Challenge,” Nasir Yammama and Sophia Onu.

Nasir Yammama is a 26-year-old from the northern part of the country with a knack for technology.

He was raised as a farmer’s child and most of his siblings are still active farmers.

Once Nasir became old enough, he ventured out from the fields and into the Institute of Creative Technology at Middlesex University, London.

“Nasir and Sophia were the faces of the entrepreneur advertising campaign recently run in Nigeria.

“Sophia Onu also took part in the Virgin Atlantic `Business is an Adventure’ series, offering unrivalled levels of exposure to her growing business, The 5KShop.

Also, Sophia Onu is a B.Sc. holder in Architecture from Covenant University and a Masters degree holder in International Architectural Regeneration and Development from Oxford Brookes University.

She is the Founder and CEO of The 5kShop; an online retail store, that stocks and sells fashion and home solutions all under the price cap of N5,000.

She is also the co-founder of DRYV.ME; an online service that allows users to request for drivers on demand.

“Both entrepreneurs received mentoring sessions from Sir Richard Branson himself.

“Our support for Nigerian entrepreneurs demonstrates the commitment to be Nigeria’s airline of choice for business,” Lindfield said.

The country manager noted that the airline and the British Council launched the “Enterprise Challenge’’ in 2014.

Lindfield said: “With many analysts now projecting Nigeria’s population to reach 500 million by 2050, we see Nigeria as a land of immense opportunity.

“A growing population will create new opportunities for domestic and international business.

“We look forward to leading that growth by facilitating air travel from Nigeria to the world and by supporting Nigerian communities and businesses at their core.

“We have certainly built a rich tapestry of experiences, history and tradition over our 16 years of flying to Lagos from London, carrying in excess of three million passengers.

“We look forward to adding to that rich tapestry over the next 16 years and beyond”.

Lindfield thanked Nigerians for their support of the airline’s daily service to London over the last 16 years.

According to him, Virgin Atlantic has enjoyed a very successful 2017, which leaves the airline optimistic and ambitious for 2018 and beyond for operating from Nigeria.

He added that Virgin Atlantic is about to embark on a further significant programme of investment to the fleet with the introduction of the A350-1000 from early 2019.

“This aircraft will offer a superlative level of customer experience, a 25 per cent reduction in fuel consumption versus equivalent aircraft, and an ambient mood lighting to reduce the effects of jetlag.

“When combined with the brand new 789-9s and modern A330s, Virgin Atlantic will boast of being one of the youngest and most fuel efficient fleets in the sky,” Lindfield added.

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