Minister of Labour Emeka Wogu
Students of tertiary institutions in Nigeria with keen interest in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solutions are set to discuss how to maximise the years spent while in school, on building ICT businesses and business ideas while in school.
The initiative, which is the first edition of the Techie Entrepreneurial Nigerian Talented (TENT) gathering, will be hosted by the Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN), Mr. Gbenga Sesan, from the December 10-12, 2012.
PIN is a social enterprise that connects under-served Nigerian youth with ICT opportunities with specific concern about the ill effects of unemployment and cybercrime and other vices that limit the potential contribution of young Nigerians to the nation's economy.
According to Sesan, “We want Nigerian students to graduate with business plans, ideas or actual businesses, instead of just Curriculum Vitaes (CVs).”
Sesan said, “The need to make our students and future graduates business orientated is why we started the TENT initiative and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, is the first university partner on the segment of the initiative.
“The vision of TENT is to help jumpstart the culture of innovation and enterprise in the mould of global technology companies which all started as ideas that were developed into products right from the university halls of their young founders.”
He added that with official figures from the Nigerian government on unemployment put at 24.9 per cent and with the minister’s revelation that only 10percent of graduates get decent jobs years after graduation, PIN believes the TENT initiative will provide the opportunity to reverse the trend of producing job seekers, and moving towards grooming competent ready hands and employers of labour.
The Chief Operating Officer of PIN, Mrs. Tope Ogundipe, stated that TENT is a platform that will showcase, connect, add value and inspiration.
“The platform fills an existing gap and will provide a place where budding Nigerian ‘technopreneurs’ can showcase their work, connect with resources, add value to market and inspire innovation, while building a sustainable business that they will run after graduation”.
Ogundipe added that TENT's workshops and annual event will search for unconnected tech enthusiasts who have the potential of building on globally accessible technology products or leading a new product development cycle for local companies.
She explained that PIN commenced hosting TENT Workshops across Nigeria in 2011 and signed a MoU with Obafemi Awolowo University in April 2012.
“PIN's 5-year intervention program at Obafemi Awolowo University will begin from the Computer Science/Engineering department where Year 1 students have been introduced to the concept of tech entrepreneurship.
“TENT will challenge participating students to start out with an idea they would love to implement as a full-time business by the time they graduate, connect them with mentors within and outside the campus environment, support qualifying participants with industry-specific Student Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) placements and support them to complete their Final Year Project based on the idea they started developing in Year 1,” she said.