Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka is set to record another first in the academic setting in Nigeria by commencing a degree programme in entrepreneurship starting from the new academic session.
The Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Boniface Egboka disclosed this recently during the fifth edition of Rags to Riches seminar organized by the Chike Okoli Center for Entrepreneurial Studies of the university in collaboration with the Chike Okoli Foundation.
The university auditorium, venue of the seminar was filled to the brim despite the ASUU strike as students, academia, renowned entrepreneurs and others converged to tap from various resource persons on how to escape poverty.
The programme, an initiative of Chike Okoli Foundation was organized to mark the International Day Against Poverty and in memory of Late Chike Okoli, the son of Mrs Stella Okoli, Chief Executive Officer of Emzor Pharmaceuticals who died at the age of 25 from undetected coronary artery disease.
The Chike Okoli Center for Entrepreneurial Studies (COCES) , UNIZIK, set up in his memory has always reiterated its commitment to developing entrepreneurial spirit and consciousness in the youths which would enable them explore opportunities in the market place and arrange resources required to exploit these opportunities for long term gains.
Director of COCES, Prof. Edmund Egboh said the annual seminar is aimed at equipping the youths to be capable of thinking, reasoning and acting in ways that are opportunity obsessed and holistic.
“ Knowledge gathered today will definitely help them to know all about government policy measures at promoting entrepreneurship, businesses and product registration, overcoming challenges as entrepreneurs, what makes successful entrepreneurship and how to maximize business world” , Egboh said.
Presenting his paper titled,Overcoming Challenges as an entrepreneur in Nigeria, the managing director and chief executive officer of Cutix Plc, Ajulu Uzodike, described lack of ideas as the first hurdle to cross as an entrepreneur. He listed other challenges facing entrepreneurs to include frustrating government policies, lack of support from government, among others.
He further noted that over regulation by government and her agencies kill entrepreneurship.
Uzodike, however, stated that sheer determination and hard work would make one a successful entrepreneur. In overcoming these challenges, he advised that government must limit herself to administering the process of entrepreneurship/ business; existing companies and institutions outside the stronghold of government should drive the process of entrepreneurship; policies related to entrepreneurship must lead to sustainability. He further suggested that funds that come from the government in form of support should be given to people who can best utilize them to produce results, adding that such funds should not be given through ministries or agencies which according to him serve as conduits for mismanaging such funds.
Earlier in his opening remark, the Chairman on the occasion and President Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ENCCIMA), Dr. Theo Okonkwo, described entrepreneurship as the fastest measure in the eradication of poverty in the country. He commended the COCES and Chike Okoli foundation for the wonderful initiative in instituting such a seminar.
Also speaking, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Boniface Egboka commended the Chike Okoli center for striving to live true to its mandate. He lauded the centre for equipping young Nigerians with the entrepreneurial and vocational skills necessary to make them employable and productive members of the society and expressed optimism that the ideas generated during the seminar would be quite useful to both potential entrepreneurs and those already in practice. He also thanked Dr Stella Okoli, the Chief executive of Emzor Pharmaceuticals and chairman, Chike Okoli Foundation for setting up COCES in UNIZIK.
Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi represented by Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Elsie Okonkwo said that the state government will always encourage entrepreneurs while fashioning out policies and programmes that will encourage private investors to grow.
The Chairman of Emzor Pharmaceuticals, Chief Stella Okoli represented by Ifenyinwa Ugoh Anwusi said the foundation would continue its fight against poverty and diseases describing them as weapons of mass destruction.
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