The Federal University Lokoja (FUL), through the Directorate of Entrepreneurship Studies and Skill Acquisition (DESSA), marked the 2023 Global Entrepreneurship Week with fanfare and grandeur. In a resounding celebration and empowerment, the event left an indelible mark on young aspiring entrepreneurs in the University as five (5) students received seed funds of #15,000 and #10,000 each, to invigorate their small businesses on the campus.
The philanthropic gestures unfolded during the event organized by the DESSA, saw Engr. John Gwong, a distinguished guest at the event, empowered two (2) students with the sum of fifteen thousand Naira only (#15000) each while addressing them during the programme. The initiative, aimed to bolster small retail businesses for sustainability, was greeted with great excitement and commendation by the beneficiaries.
Attended by over a thousand students from the University, the event also attracted a lot of luminaries from various sectors, including captains of industries, heads of financial institutions, officers from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and successful business owners within Kogi State.
Under the theme "Innovation and Skills For Self-Reliance," the event featured talks and interactive sessions handled by experienced resource persons, including Prof. J. O. Alabi, Dean of Management Sciences, Prince Abubakar Audu University, Anyingba, Kogi State; Sir Victor Abdullahi Ibrahim, the immediate past President, KOCCIMA, Kogi State and Managing Partner, Brahab Consulting, Abuja; and Mr. Godec Power, amongst other like-minded visionaries who were very passionate and committed to Professor Akinwumi's vision of nurturing great entrepreneurs and economic giants from FUL in the years to come.
The overarching vision of the current administration at FUL is to place the future and economic landscape of Nigeria into the hands of competent graduates who are well-equipped not only with academic certificates but also with practical skills and can contribute to the growth of the nation's economy. These skills are intended to drive technological innovations and transformative ideas, fostering self-reliance upon graduation and reducing reliance on scarce white-collar jobs.
For FUL's 3rd Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olayemi Akinwumi, the initiative marked the realization of a long-cherished dream. Beyond mere rhetoric, the University has actively joined the global conversation on the imperative of providing undergraduates with opportunities to acquire and apply skills before graduation.
Addressing participants during the event held at Lecture Theatre B, Professor Akinwumi urged the students to take advantage of the opportunity, emphasizing that the impact would not only change their lives but also bring joy to their parents. He shared inspiring stories of Nigerian graduates who found success and fulfillment by pursuing their passion and talents, rendering their academic certificates secondary.
In fulfilling his commitment to creating a conducive environment for innovation and skills acquisition, Professor Akinwumi emphasized the necessity for students to graduate not only with academic certificates but also with some certified skills and registered businesses. This holistic approach aims to prepare students for a future where practical skills are as essential as academic qualifications. The Vice-Chancellor thereafter supported five (5) student retail business owners who have shown passion and commitment with a seed money of ten thousand Naira (#10,000) each to encourage them.
On her part, the Regional Manager of the United Bank for Africa (UBA), Mrs. Funke Esseying, encouraged the students to take advantage of the available funding opportunities by meeting the specified requirements. She underscored the importance of registering small and medium-sized enterprises during their stay in the school which would help to set the stage for a prosperous venture after graduation.
Speaking during the event, the Director of Entrepreneurship Studies and Skill Acquisition, Dr. Martins Onimisi, praised the Vice-Chancellor for his unwavering support. He attributed the success the Directorate recorded so far to the visionary leadership of Professor Akinwumi and his management team. Dr. Onimisi also acknowledged the solid foundation laid by his predecessor, late Prof. Friday Ogbe who kick-started the project before his unfortunate demise in September 2021. A minute silence was therefore observed in honour of the deceased. See more pictures here