By Ugboaja, Stanley U.
As part of efforts to make graduates of the institution job creators instead of job seekers, the Entrepreneurship Centre of the Federal University of Technology, Minna has graduated 35 start-ups loop trainees under the acadopreneurship programme initiated by the University which is aimed at turning research ideas into businesses.
The graduation ceremony took place on Wednesday, July 6, 2021 at the Entrepreneurship Centre, Main Campus, Gidan Kwano.
Delivering his address at the event, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Abdullahi Bala, fsssn, congratulated the trainees for excelling during the three months’ programme, adding that the next stage of the programme would be more rigorous, even as he advised them to be focused towards achieving their set goals.
“Setting up a business is not a mean task. People that chose to go into business are not lily-livered. You are going to face a lot of challenges, especially during this period of our dire economy hardship but that is the main reason you should dare to go into business. The employment market is very competitive and the easiest way for you to get a job is to create one for yourself,” the Vice-Chancellor advised.
Equally important, Prof. Bala stated that the University would mentor and provide professional tips for the trainees during the second stage of the training at the Incubation Hub so that they can break-even in their chosen businesses, while urging them to be responsive to the needs of their environments and customers.
“The business environment is very competitive and challenging. You must always be on your feet if you want to succeed,” Prof. Bala revealed.
Further, the University helmsman disclosed that the University needs to look towards the direction of the Small and Medium Enterprises SMEs during the Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) and Industrial Training (IT), rather than allowing students to go to banks and other agencies for the sake of making money without learning anything at the end of the training. He noted that SMEs are the right place to go for those who want to learn and to start their own businesses.
The Vice-Chancellor directed the Director of the Entrepreneurship Centre to liaise with the Director of Advancement Office so that they would include the needs of the Incubation Hub in their requests for financial or equipment support from philanthropists. Furthermore, he announced a cash gift of N20, 000 each to the 35 trainees to motivate and support them towards the growth of their businesses.
Earlier in her address, the Director, Entrepreneurship Centre, Dr. Caroline Alenoghena stated that the training was designed to provide guidance, training and coaching in entrepreneurial and managerial competencies, understanding of the business environment and business planning skills to students as well as members of the University community towards turning ideas into profitable ventures and businesses.
The Director disclosed that the start-up loop developed by GIZ in collaboration with other partners is being implemented by competent and experienced trainers in entrepreneurship development, using experiential learning methodology. Also, she noted that the pioneer incubates in the FUTEC Incubation Hub were admitted in June 2021, following their successes at the just concluded Business Idea Competition.
“We are glad to have a bigger family as we work in transforming the campus into an entrepreneurial haven,” she enthused.
Dr. Alenoghena expressed appreciation to the University Management, GIZ, the Artificial Intelligence for Clean Energy (AI4CE) and the trainers for their well-documented support towards the success of the programme.
Also, speaking at the event, the Coordinator AI4CE, Engr. Prof. Abiodun Musa Aibinu, represented by the Deputy Coordinator, AI4CE, Engr. Dr. Lanre Olatomiwa said the concept of acadoprenuership was conceived by the AI4CE research group for the purpose of turning research ideas into businesses, courtesy of the research grant won by the Advanced Engineering Innovation Research Group, FUT, Minna in 2019 from the Royal Academy of Engineering, United Kingdom.
“I am excited today because we are witnessing the realization of one of the aforementioned objectives set out by our Research Group. I wish to also state that we are committed to nurturing more students who are ready to add value to the society in this specially packaged programme. The reason for this is not far-fetched because we are aware of the multi-faceted challenges that entrepreneurs face in Nigeria and we have prepared these graduating students to solve these challenges,” Prof. Aibinu stated.
He urged them to be the pace setters in their chosen fields of endeavour because they have been equipped with real-world skills to become the best in the society.
In his address, the representative of GIZ, Mr. Bello Dantoro disclosed that the GIZ-SEDIN programme was initiated in in 2017 to design a business training and coaching loop on start-ups and the need to develop a modified loop to address the challenges of entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
The Vice-Chancellor and other Principal Officers present at the event were later conducted round the Incubation Hub to interact with the graduates on some of their products that were displayed.
The graduation ceremony is the second in the series of the acadopreneurship programme.