~~~Abdulazeez Sodiq Olamilekan
Centre for Social Awareness, Advocacy and Ethics (CSAAEINC) has held her 5th edition of the International Youth Leadership, Career Building and Entrepreneurship Summit in University of Ilorin.
The founder and president of the initiative; Rev. Fr. Dr. Godswill Agbagwa, informed that, CSAAEINC is committed to address the causes of poverty and underdevelopment in Africa, by redressing the challenges of leadership, poor entrepreneurial spirit and misguided social and moral sense.
The speaker expressed high confidence in the Nigerian youths as “leaders of today and not leaders of tomorrow”.
He admonished that the image of Nigeria follows one regardless of his or her perfectionism: “the national character camps heavy weight on how people see you”.
The erudite concluded by urging youths to cause change by shunning the vices of corruption, injustice and revive the virtues of hardworking and solidarity.
Another speaker at the event, Mr. Mene Blessing; delivered a lecture on entrepreneurship and business, where he disclosed that, his journey to success was motivated during his undergraduate days precisely the day he knew his Faculty Dean could not pay for the snacks he bought, but pleaded till the end of the month.
The speaker also admonished that the books he read constituted a source of inspiration to him and advised Nigerians to be job creators and not seekers.
He suggested that “some of the areas of opportunities we should tap into are Artificial Intelligence, Python, R Language, Agriculture, Data Science and Analytics.”
Dr Farouk Kurawa; a speaker from Abuja, presented a paper on ‘Funding opportunities for start-up businesses in Nigeria’.
He listed sources of enterprise funding which include; commercial banks, Bank of Agriculture, Bank of Industry, Federal Mortgage Bank and Development Bank of Nigeria.
He further hinted the audience on ways to harness funds from the Central Bank of Nigeria which were Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF), Self Help Group Linkage Trust Fund Model, Indirect draw back scheme and Commercial Agricultural credit facilities.
The speaker however stressed the need for an entrepreneur to understand his or her venture as “the best time for you to assess fund is when you really understand your business”.
Mr. Onyebuchi Chukwuemeka; the CEO of Angley Ventures and Projects spoke on grant seeking strategies, where he admonished that, people must be prudent with grants as though it seemed free; it had been paid for. The speaker highlighted mistakes made by grant seeking, which include; unintelligible proposal, inaccuracy in cost of technology, typographical errors, immeasurability of objectives and mismatch between budget and narrative.
The expert informed the audience that grants exists for everything although most investors are interested in funding social ventures than business enterprises.
He mentioned that Paul Getty Trust, Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), Amplifychange, Tearfund, T.Y Danjuma Foundation, and Lilly Endowment Inc as grant givers.
The Learning and Development Manager at Corning Inc, Mrs. Abimbola Akintolayo, outlined educational scholarship opportunities and sources like Nigerian embassy, www.cua.edu, www.stmarytx.edu, www.pdsoros.org among others.
Mr. Alex Ugwuezounu; an expert in business identified some trends in the Nigerian labour market which included rise of SME’s, unemployment, mentorship, internship, and networking.
He advised the audience to prepare for opportunities in the labour market by discovering their passion and interest, attending career fairs and seminars, keeping good relationships, reading the dailies, networking effectively, dropping unsolicited application and volunteering.
The Vice Chancellor of University of Ilorin; Prof. Abdulkareem Age, represented by Dr. Nasir Faruk of the Faculty of Communication and Information Sciences, appreciated the organization for addressing poverty and underemployment in Africa.
He affirmed that the major problem of Nigeria is leadership as well as low entrepreneurial spirit which have prompted the National University Commission (NUC) to introduce a program on Graduate Self-Employment (GSE) that exposes students to both theoretical and practical aspects of their respective vocational courses.