By Emmanuel Adeleke
The Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) of Pan-Atlantic University (PAU) has reaffirmed its commitment to boosting entrepreneurship skills that will impact on the economy and boost job creation.
EDC stated this at a thanksgiving service to celebrate 20 years of its existence.
Speaking, the Director, EDC-PAU, Nneka Okekearu, said over the years, the center has been committed to building a network of entrepreneurial leaders through continuous learning, process improvement and business integrity.
She stated that EDC in the last 20 years has impacted on more than a million Nigerians lives, noting that EDC started with a flagship programme called Certificate in Entrepreneurship Management, the course that takes entrepreneurs through all the areas they need to know so they can run businesses that end up being sustainable.
She explained that the programme, which started in 2003 has 56 set in Lagos and on its 30th set in Abuja, stressing that majority of the people that have been on the programme have become industry leaders and are doing things affecting the ecosystem.
She cited example of the founder of Lagos Leather Fair, Coffee Week, Cocktail Week among others.
“The centre is having entrepreneurs that want to deepen the ecosystem, forming different platforms whereby they can now groom other Nigerians to set up businesses in boosting the economy.
“We have entrepreneurs who have come here and grown their businesses from an annual turnover of N1 million, N2 million, and within two to three years they are doing double digits annual turnover and more.
“As they grow their revenue, they employ more people and this has helped in reducing unemployment and for every recruitment, it has a ripple effect on the economy,” she said.
Okekearu called on the incoming administration to provide enabling environment for businesses to thrive on, saying “what entrepreneurs require is enabling environment. So once that enabling environment is there, there will not be multiplicity of taxes.”
“Our hope is that the incoming government will take that into consideration because once there is an enabling environment, businesses will thrive and this will lead to increase in employment, production of more goods and services and increase in tax payment.
“Infrastructure should be invested in, like having manufacturing clusters in each sector. Entrepreneurs do not have to spend so much of their capital to buy machineries, all they have to do is go there and just pay for time and manufacture.
“Most entrepreneurs do not have the right structures and systems in place. The second problem they have is access to market and what we do is to provide them platform so that they can have access to markets to sell.
“So I would say that we approach entrepreneurship from a holistic perspective. We teach and there is provision of support services that will help them, even to banks,” she added.
Okekearu reiterated the management’s commitment to building a network of entrepreneurial leaders through commitment to continuous learning, process improvement and business integrity.
Also, the Regional Vicar of Opus Dei and Chancellor, Pan Atlantic University, the Rev Fr Anthony Odoh, said EDC in the last 20 years has help to boost the economy of Nigeria, adding that it called for gratitude to God.
He stressed that people have realised that going into business is not all about capital, but to be trained.
According to Odoh, there is an increase in productivity for people in business who have passed through EDC programme, which has led to more people coming for training in the centre.
Since it was established in 2003, the focus of the EDC has been professionalising and equipping managers of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) with the skills needed to achieve and sustain success in their entrepreneurial endeavours. Its flagship programme is the Certificate programme in Entrepreneurial Management (CEM) through which it trains and supports over 150 new business owners every year.