“We want to be the catalyst for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in this State, I hope you make good use of this training opportunity from the University”.
These were words of the Vice Chancellor, Federal University Otuoke, Prof. Mobolaji Aluko during the Business Clinic launch organized by the Entrepreneurship and Skills Development Unit of the Institution held at the main Campus recently.
Prof. Mobolaji Aluko in his remark congratulated the participants and encouraged them to venture in business activities that will better their future.
“There is something that each of you can offer, be it in agriculture, transportation or trading and you can earn money for yourselves by implementing what you are taught during this business clinic” he said.
He further stated that the University intends to indulge in small scale entrepreneurship activities ranging from clay production, fishery, and marine to agriculture in order to generate more funds for the development of FU Otuoke.
In his speech, Head Entrepreneurship and Skills Development Unit, Dr. Samuel Ebie welcomed everyone for attending the launching. He mentioned that: “ESDU is an innovative and entrepreneurial led entity of Federal University Otuoke, committed to igniting the entrepreneurial spirit in the Niger Delta through integrated support programmes designed to foster the creation, growth and sustainable development of Micro, Small to Medium sized Enterprises (MSMEs)”
Dr. Samuel revealed that the objectives of the entrepreneurship seminar and workshop includes: to develop entrepreneurial opportunities through capacity building and business advisory support to potential and existing entrepreneurs in order to actively promote an enterprise culture within Ogbia Local Government Area in the instance and the whole State in the future.
He added that it is also to promote gender equality, inclusivity and empowerment for sustainable enterprise at grass roots; To build strong business mentorship for young aspiring entrepreneurs and persons seeking self employment and also to encourage and strengthen enterprise learning through intra and inter relations with Government bodies, skills acquisition centres, research centres and tertiary institutions.
He disclosed that the exercise was focused on group leaders from communities in the Three clans of Ogbia as a pilot phase with the intent of using the model to reach other Local Government Areas in Bayelsa State and gradually to the entire Niger Delta.
The Unit Head also mentioned that his Unit has already made an impact in the State; in his words, “ESDU has carved a niche in SME development in Bayelsa State, we played a central role in the Bayelsa SME summit at the Government House Banquet Hall and the Niger Delta Centre for Wetland Studies, Ekeki Yenagoa”. Adding that, “we have also made collaborative effort with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) as one of the major sponsors of our entrepreneurship seminar and workshop and on-going partnership for the proposed Artisan Training in Bayelsa”.
He concluded by thanking every one present at the event which he said marks the commencement of mentorship programme for all Co-operative groups formed through the Business Clinic and called on individuals, organizations, the State and Federal Government to support the University in its commitment and intellectual leadership for the transformation of the socio-economic climate of the Niger Delta through the growth and sustainable development of the MSME Sub-sector.
Also speaking at the event representative of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Investment, Bayelsa State and Head Industry in the Minister, Mr. David Agonodi thanked management of FU Otuoke for interfacing with the State Government through communities to enlighten Bayelsans in the area of SME.
Mr. Agonodi stated that his Ministry has obtained SME funds from Bank of Industry (BOI) and are willing to support participants of the Business Clinic, According to him “ Bayelsa State Government has signed an MOU with Bank of Industry and about N5 Billion has been jointly provided to be availed to SMEs in the State, we are eager to assist our people so that they will be empowered”.
He urged the University to continue the good works and always call on the Ministry for support while thanking the organizers of the Clinic for the invitation.
In his speech the representative of Bank of Agriculture, Mr. Oroghere Z. Owhosiri urged the Co-operatives to access the funds provided by the Bank and also come for advise and financial consultation, adding that Bank of Agriculture is poised to provide affordable funds for individuals and groups interested in mechanized and small and medium scale agricultural activities.
Other dignitaries at the occasion were, the Senior Assistant to Governor of Bayelsa State on Investment, Hon. Idikio Warmate Jones and Pastor Emmanuel Egede. Also present at the event were the Registrar Federal University Otuoke Mr. David Suowari, Dean Faculty of Science, Prof. Bio Nyanayo, Dean Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Prof. Philomina Ejele, Representative of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Felix Dayo and some principal staffs`` of the ESD unit.
It can be recalled that the ESDU took off in January and has trained about 200 youth leaders earlier in the year.