Edustart 2020: Strategy, Innovation, others Crucial to Sustainable Business Ventures in Africa - Ezeigbo
An entrepreneur must be able to own his strategy, identify his partnership for growth, embrace strategic positioning, be innovative, and ensure his trust capital is non-negotiable for him to build a sustainable business venture, the Chief Executive Officer, SLOT Systems Limited, Mr. Nnamdi Ezeigbo has advocated.
The renowned entrepreneur handed down this message on Tuesday, January 21, 2020, while addressing participants, as the Keynote Speaker, at the Covenant University Edustart Global Conference 2020, themed ‘Empowering Africa through Entrepreneurship’.
Mr. Ezeigbo, who gave an address titled ‘Building Sustainable Ventures in Africa’, said that entrepreneurship was about creating value for people, noting that in business people were mainly concerned about making money. However, according to him, it was possible to build sustainable ventures in Africa, but Africans needed to change their mindsets.
While enumerating what to do to achieve sustainable ventures, the Keynote Speaker stated that there must be authentic leadership, whereby people do business to meet socio-economic and environmental needs, while higher institutions, governments, and industries must be brought together to achieve sustainable growth through interdependence among the trio.
Mr. Ezeigbo, who revealed that he was an apprentice in a friend’s engineering company prior to starting his own business, said that people could identify and leverage on the Apprenticeship Model. Non-graduates, he explained, could be trained as business owners on operational, managerial and organizational skills.
He posited that building a sustainable business system entailed building a defined core business and having a growth plan, organizing structure and process, franchising the business, having a repeatable business model and developing a business system that helped to build a franchising business, and using information technology to drive one’s business.
According to the SLOT CEO, an entrepreneur would be lacking in reputation and growth if there was no trust capital, which meant competence, commitment and character. He stated that access to capital and partnership depended on having trust capital.
In his opening remarks at the event, the Vice-Chancellor, Covenant University, Professor AAA. Atayero, represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Akan Williams, said it was imperative that African governments and multilateral development partners evolve sustainable innovative development strategies to exploit the huge manpower and market opportunities available in the continent as available statistics suggested that by 2050, Africa’s population would be 2.3 billion and the youth population had been estimated to reach 830 million.
While acknowledging ongoing efforts at encouraging entrepreneurship in Africa, Professor Atayero said that there was need for more incubator programmes and to smoothen bottlenecks to accessing finance. This, he reckoned, would fortify the employment and entrepreneurship environment for young people in Africa and nurture the growth of novel start-ups crafted and managed by young Africans. “It is vital to recognize the enormous potential of young African entrepreneurs and inventors to create millions of high-quality jobs and stimulate inclusive economic growth,” he added.
According to the Vice-Chancellor, at the onset of Covenant University, her curriculum was designed to nurture total graduates that were mentally resourceful, intellectually reinforced, enterprisingly self-dependent, futuristically visionary and responsibility sensitive to changes demanded for the dominion nature Covenant graduates were divinely crafted for.
“The Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies of the University was established to provide entrepreneurial education for all our students. It is very gratifying to see that several of our graduates have taken to entrepreneurship, creating wealth and contributing to efforts towards reducing the level of youth unemployment in Nigeria and Africa,” said Professor Atayero.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Curator, Hebron Startup Lab, and Convener of the Edustart Conference, Dr Stephen Oluwatobi, noted that the maiden edition of Edustart, in 2018, focused on addressing the future of education, while the second edition, in 2019, focused on the quality of the future teacher. He, however, pointed out that the new decade, starting from 2020, belonged to those who imbibed entrepreneurship.
While asserting that what an average person saw as crisis was seen by an entrepreneur as opportunity, Dr Oluwatobi averred that the problem plaguing Africa was the lack of ability to employ resources to create prosperity. According to him, the solution was entrepreneurship and not aid, as entrepreneurship seized problems to profit from them.
He stated that the mission for Edustart was to impact 50,000 people to help them succeed. He urged participants to make the most of the opportunities provided by the event.
Other facilitators at Edustart 2020, who spoke on various topics were the Director of Products, Opay, Miss Seun Runsewe, ‘Building Winning Products in Africa’; Founder, Gricd, Lortim Oghenetega, ‘Problems Worth Solving in Africa’; CEO and Project Director, CYIAC, Foluke Michael, ‘Entrepreneurship and SDs’; and CEO, Wilsons’ Juice Company, Seyi Abolaji, ‘Creating Opportunities through Entrepreneurship’.
Covenant University Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Akan Williams (4th left), Convener, Edustart Global Conference, Dr. Stephen Oluwatobi (3rd left), the Keynote Speaker, Mr. Nnamdi Ezeigbo (4th right), and facilitators in a group photograph at the Edustart Global Conference 2020 in Covenant University.
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