I was privileged to moderate the 4th edition of the Entrepreneurship Series of the Coal City University Enugu, Nigeria. This invitation was extended to me in my capacity as Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship at the young private, but entrepreneurial and vibrant University in the Southeast of Nigeria.
A preamble to the event highlights the importance of the conversation with a view to charting a path for direction of travel especially as we prepare for a life after the global lockdowns.
Micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) are the engine of the economy. They provide jobs and directly remove conflicts from our streets.
We are all partakers in MSMEs in one way or the other as educators, trainers, entrepreneurs, hosts, patrons, consumers and observers. What happens to MSMEs happen to us all.
With their knowledge creation mandate, universities are uniquely placed to hasten the development of MSMEs.
- Dr. Chinelo Nwosu. National Universities Commission, NUC.
- Dr. Friday Okpara. Small and Mediulm Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN.
- Dr. Henry Awuregu. South East Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, SECCIMA; and Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, ECCIMA.
- Mrs. Ijeoma Ezeasor. Manufacturers Association of Nigeria MAN (Anambra, Ebonyi & Enugu branch).
It was power-packed, and full of insights from the leading micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) to regions and States (especially Osun and Oyo giving Lagos a run for its money). Rather surprisingly the Southwest seemed to be having more clout than the Southeast home to entrepreneurial enclaves such as Aba, Nnewi and Onitsha.
Key takeaways revolved around Refitting the MISFITS (Market access, Infrastructure, Support services, Finance, Information, Technology and Security) as coined by the Lead presenter Professor Peter Bamkole, Director and pioneer of pioneered of the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) of the Pan-Atlantic University.
It was also interesting to hear from partners at Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), National Universities Commission (NUC), and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) on how the university can pool together the entrepreneurial ecosystem with a view to tackling the “wicked problems” confronting the education sector in Nigeria.
One of such is the provision of quality education and being a force for good especially to the communities within which they are located. Indeed, the whole notion of community service should be at the heart of any well meaning University-albeit not to the detriment of the core product of teaching, learning and research.
Finally, I must commend the efforts of The Centre for Entrepreneurship Development, Coal City University for pulling off a 4th in the Entrepreneurship Series even for a young University which is only 5 years old having been found only in 2016.
Federal and State universities were called out to make their voices heard and their imprints felt in this entrepreneurial venture that shown the exploits, foresight and resilience of private universities in the country.