Strategic partnership for graduate entrepreneurship

The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, (SMEDAN) the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Kaduna State University (KASU) recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) targeted at inculcating the spirit of entrepreneurship in tertiary institutions in Nigeria. KATE ONWUDINJO examines the implications of this development, as it concerns addressing the unemployment question

The MOU signing ceremony which took place in the Auditorium of the National Universities Commission will see SMEDAN creating a standardized schedule of activities for entrepreneurship clubs in all universities, initiating University Entrepreneurship Development Program (UNEDEP), establishing a business plan competition for Network for African Student Entrepreneurs (NASE),with club members across the country and providing linkages for NASE members with industry through business matchmaking fora.

In his remarks the Director General of SMEDAN Alhaji Bature Umar Masari commended the National Universities Commission and Kaduna State University for the role they are playing in entrenching entrepreneurship in the tertiary institutions particularly the universities. He said the NUC was doing well to ensure that entrepreneurship is included in the curriculum of universities throughout the country.

Alhaji Masari noted that the agency was encouraged and agreed to go into partnership and collaboration with NUC and KASU which has been leading the way in the area of entrepreneurship in the tertiary institutions particularly the universities hence SMEDAN decided to sign the MOU that will lead the way in entrenching entrepreneurship in our universities.
He recalled the flag off of the programme by the Ministers of Industry Trade and Investment and the then Minister of Education of the two progammes of UNEDEP and NASE  last year adding, we are happy today to witness the commencement of practical implementation of the programmes.

He assured Nigerian students that the three bodies are battle ready in ensuring entrepreneurship training is fully entrenched in all our universities with a view to ensuring Nigerians inculcate the spirit of entrepreneurship.
The director general of SMEDAN further noted that entrepreneurship is the way all over the world and Nigeria should not be an exception, adding all the countries that made it today evolved as a result of entrepreneurship and if we as Nigerians don’t we will continue to face challenges of unemployment and poverty.

He challenged the students to key into the recently launched National Enterprises Development Programme, with NEDEP finance should no longer a challenge as all Nigerians can key into it and create wealth and job for themselves, the NEDEP  programme he said is all encompassing as it involves the Industrial training Fund (ITF) and the Bank of Industry (BOI).

Earlier the Executive Secretary National Universities Commission Professor Julius Okojie reiterated the need for synergy among institutions so as to boost entrepreneurship in Nigeria particularly in higher institutions, the era of seeking white collar jobs is over with the signing of this MOU.

He commended SMEDAN and Kaduna State University for their drive and commitment towards the implementation of the UNEDEP and NASE, adding with the signing of the MOU brings forth a new dawn for Nigerian universities. The Vice Chancellor of Kaduna State University Professor Barnabas Qurix who signed on behalf of the state University traced the historical background of NASE and the journey so far adding that he was happy the MOU has formally been signed and expressed confidence that the MOU will surely inculcate the spirit of entrepreneurship in the Nigerian universities.

According to Okojie, the MOU contains a complete package on grooming the undergraduate on entrepreneurial skills, through choosing a professional trade, counselling and training, and the provision of financial advice to enable him secure credit facilities to fiancé identified proposals.

The NUC which according to him, which is warehousing the entrepreneurship project, which may even lead to the award of a degree in entrepreneurship, will ensure professionalism and academic quality.

The question  remains on whether the current initiative can truly confront the huge challenge posed by unemployment on our budding youths, considering the fact that it is not every new entrant to the university that may easily embrace the programme. For instance, a candidate who gained admission to study Medicine in a university may not like to engage in any other programme, other than medicine, so the problem of unemployment remains.

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