Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo has charged young Nigerian innovators and entrepreneurs to always be focused and dogged in transforming their ideas into reality.
Osinbanjo gave the charge in Kano at the 2018 Northern Regional Finals of Students Innovation Challenge held at Dangote Business School of Bayero University, Kano.
He said: “Never give up try and try again. You should keep on trying. I am very excited by this project. As many of the innovators are educated here in Nigeria, it is evidently clear that we must support these young innovators.
“This project, Students Innovation Challenge is a public private partnership which is put in place for the development of our nation. For you, our dear innovators, the fulfillment of your dream has since started.
“It is clear to all of us, that the university is one of the most fertile grounds for the development of talent. The story of the immense contributions of Stanford University to the emergence and development of Silicon Valley in California is a well-told one and an inspiration to the rest of the world.
“Here in Nigeria, we are optimistic that Nigerian Universities will similarly play vital roles as incubators and accelerators for small and emerging business ventures. The Bayero University, Kano (BUK) is already taking a huge step in this direction in collaboration with the Dangote Business School (DBS), yet another example of impactful public-private collaboration.
“The Student Innovation Challenge, is a public-private partnership, involving the Federal Government, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Bank of Industry (BOI), Civic Foundation for Innovation, and Access Bank.
“I am pleased to note that this is the first time that a platform has been created in Nigeria, which allows students from all over the country to pitch their business ventures and ideas to a panel of expert judges. And I should mention again, that each of the winning businesses will receive an investment of one million naira.”
Also speaking at the occasion, the Dean of Dangote Business School, Prof. Murtala Ayagi, said the institute has designed programmes and courses that would enhance the skills, knowledge and experience related to professional and managerial activities through developing technical and non-technical competencies required for carrying out professional endeavours.
Ayagi said: “The Dangote Business School believes in the developing adequate manpower for self-reliance and empowerment through innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.
“Apart from the private sector and the Presidency, some states, including Kano and Jigawa, are partnering with us in creating and sustaining training programmes for youth development and empowerment.”
Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje announced a donation of N15 million for the development of the new project of young innovators and entrepreneurs.
Ganduje said: “The innovators have translated their ideas into opportunities. These innovators can help in the development of the country. In the past, there were such innovations but they fizzled away because there were no similar programmes as this. The way things are moving now, it is very clear that our population is fast becoming an asset.”
While commending the Bayero University, the governor said: “The succession system in the university helped much in making the university one of the most peaceful universities in the country.”
Dangote Groups, through the Group Managing Director Engineer Mansur Ahmed, donated N10 million; the Nigeria Communication Commission, N20 million; and the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation, N10 million.
The Director General of Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency donated N4.5 million to winners at the event.
The first winner got N2 million; the second, N1.5 million; and the third, N1 million.