The Vice-Chancellor of Covenant University, Professor AAA. Atayero has said that the just concluded Covenant University International Conference on Entrepreneurship (CU-ICE), was put up as a platform to unleash the enterprise potentials of participants.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the inaugural edition of the entrepreneurship conference, the Vice-Chancellor, representing the Chancellor and Chairman, Board of Regents, Covenant University, Dr. David O. Oyedepo, acknowledged that the level of graduate unemployment is on the increase every year and the economic challenges currently facing economies all over the world are proofs that more entrepreneurs, who understand how the knowledge economy works, are needed.
Professor Atayero stated that Covenant University, as a knowledge provider, is very deliberate about educating its students on entrepreneurship, adding that the University’s mission is to produce job creators, not job seekers, and a lot of the University’s graduates have become employers of labour.
Feedback from the community of investors in Nigeria, he said, shows that most of the startup companies that have been invested in are founded by Covenant University graduates and where the institution’s graduates do not start their own companies, they are appointed to run divisions in companies.
To validate Covenant University’s prowess as a provider of quality education and pioneer of entrepreneurial training among Nigerian universities, the Vice-Chancellor mentioned a recent report by an independent body that adjudged the University to have the most sought-after graduates by employers.
The aforementioned factors, he said, buttress the importance of entrepreneurship, what it means to Covenant University as an institution and why the University is hosting the conference.
Professor Atayero called on participants to go beyond innovating and patenting into commercialisation and monetisation. He encouraged the participants, to go and do something with what they have learnt; emphasising that the mission of the conference is to solve the world’s problems and meet their needs.
Highlighting the University’s vision of becoming one of the top 10 universities in the world by 2022, while employing the ‘Departure Philosophy,’ he stated, “If we follow the normal route, in Covenant University, it will take us 200 years to become a world-class university, that is why we have decided to be disruptive in our approach.”
Making his presentation titled, ‘Growing Entrepreneurial Firms in Hard Times: Leveraging on Sustainable Business Models’, the Keynote Speaker at the event, Professor Ayodeji Oluleye, expressed his delight at being at Covenant University and commended the University Management for making such giant strides over a short period of time.
His lecture, which focused largely on Entrepreneurship as it relates to a Knowledge Economy, dissected a new world which is evolving at a fast pace and with the shelf life of professional knowledge being halved in the last 20 years. “Competition is stiff, survival depends on it and resources are scarce and will sadly remain so,” Professor Oluleye added.
While making a presentation titled, ‘Leadership & Innovation: Creating Social Impact,’ at the event, the Chief Executive Officer, Co-Creation Hub Nigeria, Mr. Bosun Tijani, who was the second Keynote Speaker for the conference, stated the need to create centres like an ‘innovation city’ – a hotspot for creative ventures where all key stakeholders (academics, industry and government) find adequate infrastructure, resources and enabling environment to thrive while collaborating.
Earlier in his remarks, the Director, Centre for Entrepreneurial Development Studies, Dr. Stephen Oluwatobi, appreciated the Chancellor and the Management of the University for giving full support to the commencement of the conference. Covenant University, he said, was hosting the conference conscious of what is going on in the world and how to solve these problems.
He stated, “Things have changed, we have the issue of rising levels of unemployment and statistics show that four or five businesses fail in their first year. We are in the era where knowledge has become the currency. The entrepreneur is the one who organises the other forces of production, land, labour and capital in other to create revenue, jobs and interest on capital“.
The conference, said Dr. Oluwatobi, provides a platform for thinkers and researchers to come together to think and create solutions to the problems in the world today. He expressed optimism that by the end of the conference, there would be answers to issues bedevilling the economy. According to him, great things start small and whatever starts as a seed, ends up a forest.
He commended the efforts of the conference planning committee towards making the event a huge success and went on to present certificates to the participants.