Twenty seven years after their graduation from the Faculty of Management Sciences, University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), the 1992 alumni set recently held its second reunion in Lagos.
Apart from an opportunity for members to meet again years after graduation to relive their experiences at the university, the event also provided a forum for members to share ideas that would improve their businesses and other aspects of their lives.
As such, some members who are experts in the exportation business were on hand to share tips on how to succeed in that regards.
According to the National Coordinator, Mr. Anthony Ukawoko, the event signified the members’ stronger will to continue to bond and care for one another.
He said since the inaugural meeting last year, the membership strength has grown and more members are identifying with the set, both those in Nigeria and in the diaspora.
While stating that the benefits of the reunion in terms of opening network space cannot be overemphasised, Ukawoko advised the members to use the opportunity to interact and make as many contacts as possible to grow their respective endeavors.
A member of the organising committee, Mr. Kennedy Izuagbe said the association decided to focus on export because most of the members are into various businesses and going by the situation in the country, many businesses are not doing well.
“We just thought that if we are having this reunion, we should come up with a topic that will add value to people; that will open up opportunities for people to create business avenues and one major topic dropped naturally.”
Speaking on the prospects in the export sector, Mr. Austin Obagidi said anyone that is going into the business must first get the right source and the right receiver of the goods.
He said for any business, trust is key and if anyone violates it, such a person will not go far in the business.
“The most important thing is for you to get quality and also it allows you to sustain your business for a very long period.”
He regretted that the government is not focussing on non-oil export like agriculture, saying that the area needs to be exploited because in the nearest future, oil will no longer be valued considering the advances in technology.
In a paper, ‘Exploiting Export Opportunities in Africa: Paradigm Shift for Emerging African Entrepreneurs, Mr. Abel Osuji, who works with the African Export Import Bank, stated that the model he is trying to propagate is not about portfolio investors, but it requires people who are ready to do actual production through the value chain.
“The value chain is long so you can intervene at any point and create value around it and create a market around it.
According to him, it requires one to have a clear business idea and maintain the prescribed standard, adding that there are constraints, but those challenges are also business opportunities.
“If you solve any of those constraints, you are in business. The funding aspect which is also a key issue these days are also funding opportunities. So it is just for one to have a clear business idea and define his market and then make use of available funding opportunities and drive the product or service into the market.
He said the group is planning to organise a seminar for current students of the university to educate them on the opportunities that are open for them to earn money while in school.