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Entrepreneur bemoans process of developing grassroots sports in public schools




Lagos, June 11, 2019 The organisers of the just-concluded 3rd Magic Tour Cycling Competition on Tuesday bemoaned the bureaucratic process involved in getting public schools to participate in grassroots competitions.

The Team Lead of the Organising Committee for the competition, Ikechukwu Agada, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that this process had made it difficult to monitor the progress of talented young cyclists who attend public schools.

He said that one-third of the 500 children that participated in the recently concluded annual cycling competition, which held at Teslim Balogun Stadium on Friday, came from private schools.

“Our interaction with private schools has been encouraging because it is easier to monitor children from private schools, as a result of quick response to communication unlike the public schools.

“You can follow-up and get the private schools to participate at tournaments without much hassles, which is not the case with public schools because of the cumbersome process involved.

“Some of the directors in charge of public schools ask for money to transport the children to the venue before they can be allowed to participate in competitions, meant for grassroots sport development.

“I sincerely do not see anyway forward, regarding encouraging grassroots sports development in public schools if the directors continue like this,” he said.

Agada therefore, urged the Lagos State Government to look at easing the process of grassroots sports development in public schools to encourage entrepreneurs facilitate sports development in the state.

He said that the aim of grassroots competitions such as Magic Tour, was to help children to discover their sports talents and also create avenues for them to showcase the talents.

According to him, talents discovered at such tournaments can be nurtured to represent the country at international meets.


Tech entrepreneur urges MSMEs to sell people’s needs to stay in business



A tech entrepreneur, Mrs Vivian Chigozie-Nmonwu, on Tuesday advised Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), to henceforth build their businesses around people’s needs rather than wants.

Chigozie-Nmonwu of VI-M professional solutions gave the advice on a webinar while discussing the topic “COVID-19 and Entrepreneur: “How to navigate the impact of COVID-19 on our businesses, particularly MSME”.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that the meeting was organised by ACCION Microfinance Bank in Lagos.

She said that MSMEs were the worst hit during the economic lockdown because of their poor structure which hindered their sales.

“Therefore, to navigate, MSMEs need to sell what will keep them in business in the future, no matter what disruption or recession that will come.

“Over the last few months, there is a clear definition between essential and non essential commodity.

“So, this means that for us to do better and for our businesses to grow better, you will need do build the business around what people need and not what they want.

“There is a different between customer needs and wants.

“So, part of the lessons learnt and part of the things we can do is to build our businesses around the needs,” she said.

She urged entrepreneurs to also monitor and watch the economy to be able to know and follow trends presented by the pandemic and see how to use their business structure to solve them.

The tax and financial consultant also urged business owners to be agile and flexible in their strategy so that if in the future anything happens again they will be sure to still stay in business.

She said that for them to survive, they needed to have reliable networks and stronger collaboration to be able to navigate through post COVID-19.

According to her, you must check the value of network to know what they are bringing to the table.

Chigozie-Nmonwu advised those selling on the streets in particular to find a way to automate their businesses so that even in their physical absence the business could still go on.

She urged them to come up with a business plan that showed milestone for the business among others.

Edited By: Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Opinion: Why decoupling-with-China rhetoric hardly sways entrepreneurs




Earlier this month, U.S. multinational conglomerate Honeywell launched its emerging market headquarters and innovation center in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

It came only a few weeks after U.S. energy giant ExxonMobil and its Chinese partners held a special virtual groundbreaking ceremony for a chemical complex in China‘s southern province of Guangdong.

Undated file photo shows the night view of the Huizhou Dayawan Petrochemical Industrial Park in south China‘s Guangdong Province. Multinational oil and gas corporation ExxonMobil broke ground on its solely-funded chemical complex in Huizhou in April 2020. (Huizhou Information Office/Handout via Xinhua)

Undated file photo shows the night view of the Huizhou Dayawan Petrochemical Industrial Park in south China‘s Guangdong Province. Multinational oil and gas corporation ExxonMobil broke ground on its solely-funded chemical complex in Huizhou in April 2020. (Huizhou Information Office/Handout via Xinhua)

These stellar projects by U.S. flagship enterprises, happening while the coronavirus pandemic is still raging across the globe, and the clamoring for decoupling with China has once again captured headlines, have given off a clear signal that global investors remain confident in a promising future of China even at this unprecedentedly challenging and uncertain time.

Perhaps the most important source of that continued confidence comes from China‘s forceful epidemic response and well-managed postpandemic economic rehabilitation.

Since the outbreak, China has taken some very decisive containment steps, and effectively put the disease under control. This significant progress has allowed Beijing to roll out a raft of measures to bring production back on track, and reopen businesses. As a result, recovery is underway, and China is getting back on its feet steadily.

Workers are busy on the production lines at the workshop of Dongfeng Passenger Vehicle Company in Wuhan, central China‘s Hubei Province, March 24, 2020. (Xinhua/Xiao Yijiu)

Workers are busy on the production lines at the workshop of Dongfeng Passenger Vehicle Company in Wuhan, central China‘s Hubei Province, March 24, 2020. (Xinhua/Xiao Yijiu)

Figures from China‘s National Bureau of Statistics showed on Wednesday that profits from China‘s major industrial firms in April edged down 4.3 percent, recovering from the 34.9-percent drop registered in March.

China‘s drive to get back to normal is undoubtedly a shot in the arm to help provide urgently needed medical supplies like masks and protective suits to the world, stabilize global supply chains, and shore up heavily-hit manufacturing industries worldwide and international trade.

China‘s economic resilience, unique and competitive manufacturing edges, abundant industrial workers and solid fundamentals for long-term economic growth offer investors and entrepreneurs another reason to keep their faith in the Asian country.

China-skeptics in the United States who have vowed to reshore already outsourced manufacturing jobs need a grip on reality: existing global supply chains are a natural, decades-long progression jointly shaped by a variety of factors like operation costs, industrial capabilities, and a sufficient and skilled workforce.

China still remains home to the world‘s most attractive and populous consumer market. Last year, consumer spending contributed 57.8 percent to China‘s overall economic growth. With 400 million middle-income earners, greater potential for consumer products and public services awaits to be tapped.

Over the decades, encouraged by the massive and fast-growing Chinese consumer markets, foreign companies have been shifting a model of “made in China” to “made for China.”

Moreover, the Chinese government’s persistent pledge to create a more friendly business environment, for stronger protection of intellectual property rights and to bolster global free trade and multilateralism has made its domestic markets more attractive. The foreign investment law that took effect at the start of the year is a fine example of China‘s commitments.

A worker conducts welding at a factory of the CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Co., Ltd. in Zhuzhou, central China‘s Hunan Province, March 3, 2020. (Photo by Chen Sihan/Xinhua)

A worker conducts welding at a factory of the CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Co., Ltd. in Zhuzhou, central China‘s Hunan Province, March 3, 2020. (Photo by Chen Sihan/Xinhua)

According to a survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and PwC China in March, over 70 percent of U.S. companies said they had no plans yet to relocate production and supply chain operations or sourcing outside of China.

During a press conference after the annual “two sessions” on Thursday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang highlighted the importance of openness in stabilizing industrial and supply chains, saying that China will further enhance cooperation with the rest of the world and introduce more measures for further opening-up.

Indeed, the sudden outbreak of the coronavirus this year has prompted many political leaders and business titans worldwide to revisit the highly interconnected global supply system and prescribe remedies.

Looking ahead, they ought to understand that although the virus has affected the world economy in a variety of ways, it will not stop or reverse globalization. China, with its strong commitment to opening-up and cooperation, as well as its unique place in this deeply interwoven global economy, will always remain deeply relevant.


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Interview: Jet Li vows support to entrepreneurship dev’t in Africa




Renowned film actor, director and martial artist Jet Li on Thursday vowed his support to the efforts of entrepreneurial development in Africa.

Jet Li stressed the need to facilitate situations and create a conducive environment for African entrepreneurs, pointing out that platforms such as the Africa Netpreneur Initiative (ANPI) play an important role in entrepreneurship development on the continent.

In an interview with Xinhua, Jet Li expressed hope that Africa would see more entrepreneurs in the future, and such initiative as the ANPI reaches the youth and is exploited effectively on the continent. The ANPI has been launched by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s founder, Jack Ma, being his foundation’s flagship philanthropic program in Africa.

Jet Li was a cheerleader during the finale competition of the 1st edition of Africa Netpreneur Prize held in Accra, Ghana in November 2019. The interview was made as preparations for the 2nd edition of the Africa Netpreneur Prize are underway. The interview was made through Internet voice call.

Over a ten-year period, the ANPI plans to recognize 100 African entrepreneurs and commit to allocating 100 million U.S. dollars in grant funding, training programs, and support for the broad African entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The initiative annually accepts applications from entrepreneurs of all African countries, regardless of the sector. Ten finalists will compete in a televised finale named Africa’s Business Heroes Show and win prize from the Jack Ma Foundation.

Li said that entrepreneurship is the future of Africa, which should be supported in different aspects.

Reiterating that African entrepreneurs should be provided with such platforms to grow, Li said he would help enhance the ongoing entrepreneurial initiatives on the continent.

“My first visit to Africa was in 1977. The second time I went there was last year for the first final competition of the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative…entrepreneurship is the future of Africa’s young people. African entrepreneurs should become the heroes who create jobs,” said Li during the interview.

“I should do something for Africa…I will go to Africa again, and want to see African entrepreneurs get not only the financial award, but also advice from successful predecessors. That can be even more valuable,” he said.

According to the ANPI, application for the 2020 competition is going on with already 15,000 applicants. Ten finalists will be selected from among those who complete the application process, and share an enlarged prize pool of 1.5 million U.S. dollars this year.


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General news

Cleric wants entrepreneurship training programmes in orphanages 



Mr Silas Olarotimi, Presiding Preacher (Pastor), Anointing of Grace Church, Ilorin, has called for the establishment of entrepreneurship programmes in orphanages in the country.

Olarotimi, who made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Ilorin on Thursday said that such gesture would equip the kids with skills for productivity and self-reliance.

He expressed worries that many orphanages were mainly equipped with with food items and other welfare packages, saying “there is need to inculcate training into their operations”.

“Many orphanages are only stocked with foodstuff, they have no standard training centres, there is need to secure the future of these kids,” he said.

He urged government at all levels to partner good spirited private individuals to make the orphanages more productive and rewarding to the society.

“Our donations should not be limited to welfare packages such as food, clothing and medication, let us help them build careers.

“It is everybody’s responsibility to support the orphanage, we  cannot abandon them, they deserve to live, survive and make impact in our society,” he said.

Olarotimi said that with proper mentoring, many kids would leave the orphanage fully equipped for a rewarding and fulfilling life.

Edited By: Azubuike Okeh/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Sen. Tinubu urges graduates to acquire entrepreneurial skills



Sen. Oluremi Tinubu, representing Lagos Central Senatorial District, has urged graduates to acquire entrepreneurial skills to be able to compete in the labour market, especially during the post COVID-19 period.

Tinubu gave the advice at the closing ceremony for the Work Experience Programme (WEP) organised for graduates in her constituency.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the programme started in November 2019 with no fewer than 260 graduates across the constituency who underwent the internship programme.

The exercise was conducted with the purpose of empowering youths with requisite work ethics, inculcating customary code of polite behaviour and promoting positive workplace culture.

They empower youths in the Lagos Central Senatorial District via ensuring employability and adequate preparation for the labour market.

Tinubu, represented by
Mr Wahab Alawiye-King, one of the facilitators at the programme, said apart from acquiring certain employability skills, graduates needed self-confidence to succeed in the job market.

The senator said that the programme was designed to make the participants ready for the labour market, which she said was highly competitive and hostile.

“Nobody envisaged COVID-19 pandemic, hence to succeed in such environment, one must acquire additional skills.

“We are in the era of working from home and as such, we must acquire extra skills in order to meet up with the challenges of Post COVID-19,” Tinubu said.

According to her, employers are looking beyond degree holders in today’s dynamic world, noting that most companies want graduates with skills that match available jobs.

She said that graduates need to acquire digital skills to be able to compete in the labour market.

“Post COVID-19 has opened our horizon and expanded our scope, and as a result, ability to adapt and adopt in the work environment is of essence.

“So far, 245 interns were involved in the exercise and 185 have been posted to different organisation, both the government and private establishments,” Tinubu said.

She said that conmmunication skills, leadership skills, interactive skills, analytical skills and IT proficiency were parts of the major requirements needed by today’s employers, urging graduates to improve themselves.

”We always say there is rise in the unemployment rate that graduates left schools for so long and they are still at home.

”But, the reality is that the jobs are not there; and many graduates do not have the skills and competencies to compete and pick up the few jobs.

”So, our young people must know that to get a job, they have to be ready. They need to acquire the right skills.

”We are in a digital economy; l urge them to engage other people and strive to acquire skills that could get them the better opportunities of being employed,” she said.

Tinubu said she conceived the idea of WEP to equip graduates with relevant skills to enhance their employability in the labour market and make them have practical work experience.

“They undergo training under the programme in government and private establishments.

According to her, the programme is committed to the wellbeing and welfare of the people of her constituency.

She, therefore, urged graduates to improve their confidence level for success.

In his remarks, Mr Omiyale Adejare, the Chairman Yaba LCDA, commended Tinubu for the kind gesture, saying it was a laudable programme.

Adejare said the programme would impact positively on the lives of the people.

He called on other politicians to emulate such in planning and developing youths in their district.

Adejare advised youths not to relent on their efforts, urging them to continue to search for knowledge in order to empower themselves.

A participant, Opeoluwa Akintola, a graduate of University of Lagos, also commended Tinubu for the programme, saying that it would go a long way to uplift graduates in the area.

Also, Miss Yetunde Shitta-Bay, a graduate of Public Administration, also expressed her appreciation for the N40,000 given to each participant.

Shitta-Bay advised youths not to depend solely on white collar jobs, urging them to have other means of livelihood to eradicate unemployment in the society.

Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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COVID-19: NGO distributes palliatives to entrepreneurs in Ilorin



An Ilorin-based Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), Tamirah Well-being Initiative, has distributed food items to enterpreneurs in Ilorin   to cushion the effects of the lockdown aimed at curtailing the spread of the COVID-19.

The founder of the NGO, Mrs Rukayat Yahaya, said  at the presentation of the palliatives in Ilorin that the gesture would go a long way in assisting beneficiaries.

She said her desire to assist entrepreneurs in the state was borne out of the zeal and determination to mitigate the negative impacts occasioned by COVID-19.

Yahaya, who is the CEO of Tamirah Digital, commended the state government, especially, the Technical Committee on COVID-19, for supporting the NGO with 200 bags of 5kg rice, 200 cartons of spaghetti and 25 bags of sugar.

She said that no fewer than 1,120 business owners had registered online to benefit from the NGO’s initiative.

The NGO, she added, gave palliatives to no fewer than 200 people in the first and second phases of the initiative.

Yahaya solicited for the continuous assistance of the state government in the area of loans and special grants for entrepreneurs in order to surmount the challenges of a postCOVID-19 era.

Earlier, the state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy affairs, Hajia Aishat Ahman-Patigi, had commended the NGO for its gesture.

The commissioner explained that government alone could not bear the responsibility of providing for the needy and called for more  support  from NGOs.

She added that  government would be ready to work with responsibile NGOs to move the state forward.

Ahman-Patigi urged small business owners not to see the COVID-19 as a threat to their businesses but rather as an opportunity to showcase their entrepreneurial skills and potentials

Some of the beneficiaries, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria , expressed gratitude to the NGO and urged government at all levels to assist them with grants.

Edited By: Angela Okisor/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)




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Science & Technology

NABDA proposes viable agro-entrepreneurship for post-COVID-19



The National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), said it would support the Federal Government’s job creation policy for 100 million people, through economically feasible agro-entrepreneurship, for a postCOVID-19 era.

NABDA’s Director-General, Prof. Alex Akpa, stated this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Abuja.

Akpa said the activities lined up for this participatory agro-entrepreneurship programme would include the commercial scale production of biotech (bt) cotton seed and cotton lint.

“Bt cotton seed will be produced in commercial quantities and distributed to farmers to enable them to produce bt cotton lint massively, to support Nigerian Textile Mills and ginneries,’’ he said.

The director-general noted that massive production of quality cotton lint would revive textile industries in Nigeria, with the capability to create one million jobs, and an average return on investment of three years.

Similarly, the professor said that the agency would commercialise the maruka (pod borer) resistant biotech (bt) cowpea to farmers.

“This will help to enhance food security in Nigeria and increase export income from the commodity, with three years average return on investment,’’ Akpa said.

He noted that this medium scale operation had the potential for creating 100,000 jobs, with an average return on investment of three years.

According to the director-general, development of commercial integrated aquaponics facility for production of fish, fish feed and vegetables, is another activity the agency plans to embark upon.

He stated that the facility was intended for use intensively for the production of fish and vegetable in confinement, as well as import substitution for fish and exotic vegetables.

Akpa said that the medium scale operation was capable of creating 50,000 jobs, with average return on investment of three years.

He noted that the agency would also develop commercial hydroponic facility for the production of improved ruminants including cattle, sheep and goats, and bio-products such as meat, milk among others.

“The facility is intended for use in fodder production for intensive ruminant farming in confinement, for meat and milk production.

“It shall also be used for import substitution for fodder, milk and meat as well as elimination of community clashes over animal feed resources.

“This also has potential of creating 50,000 jobs, and two and a half years average returns on investment,’’ he said.

Akpa hinted on the development of commercial aeroponics facility for the production of disease-free and high-yielding yam seedlings and seeds, bio-fertilisers, bio-fungicides and bio-pesticides.

The professor noted that the facility was intended for use in advanced yam production, for commercial scale agriculture, to meet foreign and domestic markets.

According to him, it will also meet the industrial demand for quality yam seed and seedling, as well as other high grade farm inputs.

“This has the potential of creating up to 100, 000 jobs, with an average return on investment of two years.”

Akpa said the agency would develop facilities for vegetables and fruit storage, processing into concentrates and concentrate storage and marketing.

“”The facility is intended for the deployment of biotechnology in utilisation and management of in-season and off-season Nigeria’s abundant fruit and vegetable resources

“This will enable value addition and all-year round availability,” he added

“It will also ensure all-year-round availability of Nigeria’s fruits and vegetables, reduce post– harvest losses, and uplift rural livelihood, and this shall create about 55,000 jobs,’’ Akpa said.

He said the agency was planning to develop commercial scale facility for the production of bio-energy digester that had been designed, developed and patented in Nigeria, for use in producing electricity.

Akpa said the facility could also be used for domestic cooking and bio-fertiliser, for crop production.

According to him, the facility is intended for the production of biogas digester units,  that could be sold to households, markets, farms and restaurants operators among others, to produce biogas for domestic heating and electricity.

“It will also support energy access for all, especially in areas not covered by the national grid (off-grid), reduce indoor pollution and minimise deforestation, from use of inappropriate energy sources such as wood.

“This has the potential of creating 50,0000 jobs, with an average returns on investment of three years,’’ Akpa said.

Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Poverty: Don tasks FG on entrepreneurship



said that over 82.9 million Nigerians lived below its poverty line.

”In Nigeria, 40.1 per cent of the total population was classified as poor. In other words, on average, four out of 10 individuals in Nigeria have real per capita expenditures below N137,430 per year,’’ the NBS said.

The bureau said that between September 2018 and October 2019, it conducted the latest round of the Nigerian Living Standards Survey after 10 years.

The NLSS is the official survey that is the basis for measuring poverty and living standards.

Edited By: Vivian Ihechu/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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Science & Technology

COVID-19: ICT expert advice entrepreneurs to empathise with employees



An Information Communication Technology (ICT) expert, Mr Jide Awe, has advised entrepreneurs to embrace innovation, creativity culture and empathy for employees toward enhancing productivity in their businesses.

Awe gave the advise during an online COVID-19 Entrepreneurs Diet meeting coordinated by Young Innovators Nigeria (YIN), with the theme, “Sustainable Entrepreneurship: During and Post Pandemic”.

The expert, who focused on Human Relations and Engaging the Workforce, said that the COVID-19 pandemic had created societal and human impact that disrupted activities.

He said that the societal impact was redefining nature of work resulting in job loss, low income, economic stability, volatile labour force, remote working and innovations among others.

Awe noted that the COVID-19 era had businesses being less or totally unproductive but adapting to the change and adopting creative technology elements could turn things.

He said that learning from inevitable challenges at work made it more productive, engaging for employees, especially in the pandemic era.

“Owners and managers of businesses must be sincere facilitators and mentors who lead by example because human relation is a leadership priority that requires full commitment.

“Ideas shared are not formula, employee policies and systems will vary but uncertain times call for empathetic, practical and creative measures.

“Business owners should appreciate future of work, bearing in mind there is no permanent jobs, no permanent life and embrace new forms of work,” Awe said.

He further said that entrepreneurs should ensure their employees’ well-being and safety, which could encourage them.

The expert also said that the pandemic period was filled with uncertainties adding that entrepreneurs should empower employees with working tools for either physical, on-site or remote working.

According to him, fostering clear constructive communications, building confidence in employees, promoting focus on substance and flexibility will boost productivity.

He said that it was time to change the archaic, dysfunctional and inhuman approaches to work and embrace opportunities in emerging technologies.

“Entreprenuers having challenges this time should know that times of disruption require creativity and there is no particular template to address the COVID-19 poor productivity.”

Mr Mayowa Ajiboye, President of YIN, said leaders, employers needed to have the sincerity of purpose in dealing with employees.

Ajiboye emphasised that employers’ relationship with their staff members could foster enhanced productivity.

Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Donald Ugwu (NAN)


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