The University of Ibadan, in conjunction with Firstmost Education and Training Limited is graduating its fourth set of postgraduate students in Social Entrepreneurship and other discipline this week. Mr Philip Areo, Managing Director, University of Ibadan Ventures Limited, speaks with Ruth Olurounbi on the upcoming two-day event, in this interview.
The journey that led to the graduation
An Ibadan-based company, Firstmost Education and Training Limited approached us sometime in 2014 for collaboration in providing post-secondary technical and vocational education and postgraduate professional & entrepreneurship programmes in some disciplines. As you will expect, we engaged the company owners in a series of serious integrity test & they did well. Let me quickly say that they had a clear-cut vision for the outfit and a well-defined ambition.
By January 2015, we approved their proposal and between then and now, we have trained graduates – both the employed and the unemployed – in various professional and entrepreneurship programmes. All our programmes are designed to achieve two primary objectives viz. first, to make our products upwardly mobile in their chosen careers and second, to empower them to consider self-employment as a viable and reliable career option.
UI Consultancy Services Unit
UI Consultancy Services Unit is a subsidiary of UI Ventures Limited. UI Ventures has other eight subsidiaries. It will interest you to know that UI Ventures is the first business outfit in the Nigerian university system. It was established in 1986 and incorporated in 1988.
Basically, UI Consultancy Services Unit offers management consultancy and training programmes to private individuals, business enterprises, and federal and state ministries, departments and agencies. As you will know, anything that is below par is unacceptable to UI. Hence you can be sure of the sterling quality of our services.
Upcoming Graduation Ceremony
Our coming programme is not a graduation ceremony per se, but one of the events of the programme. The two-day programme that is coming up on Thursday, 22 and Friday, 23 June is a National Discourse with the theme, “Graduate Entrepreneurship and National Development”.
Interestingly, it is Firstmost Education and Training Limited that brought the idea to us and we found the National Discourse worthy at this particular period in the socio-economic life of the country.
So as part of the first day programme, we will confer certificate on our products. The second day programme is a workshop on graduate entrepreneurship.
Big line up in terms of guests
Let me begin by thanking Sir Remi Omotoso, Chairman of Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Limited for supporting this programme right from its inchoate stage and mentoring us at every stage of the planning. Sir Remi Omotoso is the chairman of the occasion. Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ooni of Ife, is the Royal Guest of Honour. On Monday, 12 June, I led some members of the Discourse Planning Committee to His Imperial Majesty and the Arole Oodua assured us that he is coming to grace the occasion. We are expecting their Excellencies, Governors Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State and Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State.
We are also expecting Bishop Joseph Akinfenwa of Ibadan Diocese (Anglican Communion). Of course, Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka, Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan is the Chief Host. Chief M. A. Adetunji, Chairman, Board of Director of UI Ventures Limited will be in attendance and he will receive an award for his outstanding accomplishment in entrepreneurship. Other distinguished dignitaries we are expecting include Professor Taiwo Feyi-Sobanjo, Head, African Regional Office, International Professional Managers Association (IPMA), United Kingdom.
What the guests should expect
I think the theme of the National Discourse says it all. The theme is “Graduate Entrepreneurship and National Development”. The basic objectives of the National Discourse are (1) to raise the level of public debate on graduate entrepreneurship development in Nigeria and (2) to showcase entrepreneurship as a strategic panacea for unemployment. Let me quip that the quality of the guest speakers speaks volumes.
Importance of entrepreneurship to National Development
Indubitably, entrepreneurship holds all the aces to the rapid socio-economic development of any country in the 21st century. You see, entrepreneurship best practices can rescue Nigeria from the current recession sooner than you expect.
The Nigerian environment – government policies, education system, our value standard, individual attitudes, you name it – is unfavourable to entrepreneurship. But the good news is that we, I mean both the government and the people, seem to have realized the need to embrace entrepreneurship beyond rhetorics.
Words for graduating students
I can only remind them to make entrepreneurship their way of life and be good ambassadors of UI Consultancy Services Unit and Firstmost Education and Training Limited.