Apparently satisfied by the incubatees' innovative ideas during the second entrepreneurship exhibition of the university, the Vice-Chancellor, National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Prof. Olufemi Peters has commended the Director of Entrepreneurship and General Studies (DE&GS), Prof. Juliet O. Inegbedion and her team for their effective and efficient service delivery.
Prof. Peters gave this commendation while declaring the Second NOUN Entrepreneurship Exhibition open on Wednesday April 13, 2022 at the headquarters of the university, which took place both physically and virtually.
The event also happened simultaneously across the Zonal Incubation Centres in the country.
"I want to appreciate the Director, Prof. Juliet Inegbedion and her team who have worked tirelessly and consciously to ensure the best is delivered to the students.
"However, my charge to you and your team is to continue to work closely with faculties and other related Directorates such as Research Administration, SIWES, Quality Assurance and Advancement & Linkages to drive the implementation policy of the University's employability policy," Peters said.
Speaking further, the VC said the synergy has become necessary because the "journey of entrepreneurship starts with research and you need to identify the gaps, think of how to fill the the gaps by generating an idea and then you prototype the idea and then you deploy the idea as a product of service.
"The Directorate of Research Administration whose job, among others, is to protect these ideas must continue to guide against the misappropriation of this product of service."
On why the Directorate of Advancement and Linkages is needed, the VC said "it provides the collaboration and linkages that may be required to drive the idea process of prototype or deployment."
"SIWES on the other hand guides students' internship placement which ensure that students are placed where their ideas could be nourished while the Quality Assurance Unit ensures that everything is done as stated" the VC said.
While elaborating on the theme of the exhibition: "Bridging the Entrepreneurship Gap: From theory to Practice," the VC said "this is essentially to give opportunities to students to still buy-in into their respective innovative ideas and execution."
He added that this theory can only be transmitted to economic value when it is turned into practice.
"NOUN recognises this and therefore has come up with an employability policy that can help to bridge the gap created between learning in the University and real life situation. Every situation demands a practical approach and practice is usually drawn from theory," the Vice-Chancellor said.
While congratulating the winners for their innovative ideas, the he urged them to use their ideas for the overall benefits of the community adding that "it is when this is achieved that you can proudly say that you have made meaningful contributions to the economy of Nigeria with your ideas.
"NOUN will continuously provide the support that you desire and that we can. I want to see more ideas o technology-enhanced learning tools that other nations will subscribe to.
"With the prowess you demonstrated today, it gives me hope that Nigeria is moving from being only consumer of products and services to producer especially in this technological age.
"To other students out there, every one is creative and innovative. It all depend on how you unleash rhe hidden treasure God has put in you. Let this be a challenge that will motivate the hidden treasure in you."
Earlier in her welcome address, the Director of Entrepreneurship and General Studies (DE&GS), Prof. Juliet O. Inegbedion, said the focus of the directorate is on creativity, innovation and research commercialisation.
She further hinted that the directorate provides support to students from idea development to start-up, adding that the blended model is used in providing support through virtual and physical incubation system with seven incubation centres spread across Nigeria and one in each geo-political zone.
"Sir, I am glad to let you know that the winner in last year exhibition – Irozuru Basilia Ogechukwu won the third position in the 2021 National Enterprise Challenge with her creative and innovative product - Basmarc Organic Baby Cereal.
“In addition, we have more products awaiting NAFDAC approval. Also, we have provided virtual shops where students innovative products and services can be sold.
“The products in the shop are made by NOUN incubatees and are Nigeria made. We will also give opportunity to NOUN staff who have come up with innovative product or service to sell in the virtual shop.,” she said.
While thanking the VC and the university management and team members for their continuous support, Inegbedion said "we are challenged in idea modelling. Before an idea is brought into reality, it needs to be modelled.
"On this sir, we kindly request for 8 3D printers. Each incubation centre will have one making seven and the eighth will be at the headquarters in the directorate’s office. This will help prepare our students to meet international pitching standard,” the director appealed.
Representative of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Dr. Ashafa Ladan, Acting Director, Directorate of Skills Development and Entrepreneurship, in his goodwill message, expressed gratitude for the invitation, saying that the commission welcomes programmes and workshops geared towards changing the entrepreneurship ecosystem.
The exhibition for the North-central Incubation took place at the Abuja Model Study Centre, Dutse-Alhaji, where NOUN News correspondent was on ground to
In the course of the event, some of the students engaged in the brave-idea challenge where they took turns to market and explain their ideas.
The judges during the competition were the Deputy Director, DE&GS, Dr. Marian Ohadiugha, Dr. Madu Galadima and Dr. Johnson Opateye.
The participants fielded questions from the judges after which Ajibola Priscilla Momodu was announced as the winner of the competition.
Ohadiugha, in her vote of thanks, appreciated the VC and the NUC representative, for making the exhibition a success.
She thanked the director for her support and timely mentoring to make sure that the needful was done.
The students displayed wares they made during the exhibition, showcasing their unique talents.