According to the Senate President, the opportunities in the tech and agric sector of Nigeria’s economy are many.
Saraki urges youths to take up challenge of entrepreneurship

According to the Senate President, the opportunities in the tech and agric sector of Nigeria’s economy are many.

Saraki said this while speaking to graduands at the 4th Convocation Ceremony of Adeleke University, Ede, Osun State on Sunday, July 22, 2018.

The Senate President's keynote speech was titled: National Economic Development Through Entrepreneurship: The Role of Private Sector Universities in Nigeria.

According to him, the opportunities in the tech and agric sector of Nigeria’s economy are many.

He said “There is no reason why any of today’s graduating students cannot become a Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, net worth $5 billion — or Brian Chesky, a co-founder of Air BnB. Michelle Phan of the cosmetic business Ipsy is now worth $300 million — not bad for someone who first started by uploading her videos on YouTube.

“Of course, Nigeria is not exactly a non-starter in tech, where the impact of youthful innovation is already transforming many sub-sectors, from payment solutions to health outcomes and entertainment. Nigeria is one of the Top Three destinations in Africa for tech investors; and tech start-ups have already put Yaba Lagos on the world map in this regard.

“Visiting Lagos in 2016, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, ‘I was highly impressed by the talent of the youths in the Co-Creation Hub in Yaba. I was blown away by their talent and the level of energy’ Not only were our tech start-ups able to weather the recession without breaking a sweat, they are attracting major seed funding.

"FinTechs like Flutterwave and Paystack not only raised over $100 million funding between them in less than two years, they are revolutionizing online payments and the adoption of card payments in Nigeria, fueling the growth of online retail ventures similarly powered by young entrepreneurs, of which Jumia and Konga are among the market leaders.

“What I would like our graduating students to note is that this frenetic activity is only a drop in the ocean, when we talk about the potential of the tech sector in Nigeria.

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Bukola Saraki at Adeleke University convocation (Twitter/@SPNigeria)

“We have about 15.5 million smartphone users in this country; that translates to only 23 per cent of the population. At 47 per cent, internet penetration captures less than half of the population.

“There is room for exponential growth still, and analysts are confident that FinTech, for example, has the potential to transform the financial services landscape in Nigeria over the next five years. We are looking to the youth to take up the challenge and grasp the opportunities, to drive entrepreneurship in this area.

“Agriculture is a major plank in our drive for the diversification of the revenue base, to wean our economy off its dependency on oil. And yet, we are nowhere near tapping into the Agricultural Value Chain in any sustainable way.

“From Rice to poultry to dairy products, we are producing far below required volumes. The unavoidable fact is that there is room for exponential growth.”

Saraki also called for a departure from the educational system where emphasis is placed more on paper certification and theory based teaching.

He said vocational and technical education will help the youth develop skills that will help them create jobs.

“It is my firm belief that, when we can usefully engage our teeming youths so that they grab opportunities for themselves in order to contribute their quota, we would have gone some way towards alleviating some of the many problems bedeviling our society.

“This is where the role of private universities really comes into focus, to help provide an enabling environment for the nurturing of raw talent. The education ethos ought to move away from the over-emphasis on theory-based approach and paper certification towards inculcating practical skills that support apprenticeship and boost innovation and industry.

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Bukola Saraki at Adeleke University convocation (Twitter/@SPNigeria)

“This is the place of Vocational and Technical education which provides that the youth imbibe practical skills that will not only make them employable but will also help the country to build an army of job providers.

“Private universities must therefore rise to the challenge, to ensure that entrepreneurial skills are taught across various disciplines. I am happy to note that Adeleke University has taken a lead in this area, and places emphasis on related programmes for skills acquisition to enable students take a more expansive view of their prospects and to make a living after graduation, and even have the opportunity to flex those entrepreneurial muscles and create jobs.

“If I have anything to add, it is that private universities should build their Alumni base, because, among other benefits, it will give students concrete examples of entrepreneurship to emulate.

“The university should encourage its alumni to hire students for paid internships, as this will impart them with necessary skills that will stand them in good stead when they graduate. Again, the design of the curriculum should never lose sight of the need for vocational education.”

The Senate President said that Nigerian youths have not effectively tapped into the full potential that social media provides.

He also urged the graduands to take advantage of the opportunities that social media provides to make impact.

“To the graduating students, I will say that it is perhaps true that Nigerian youths are not currently maximising the potential that social media has for stimulating entrepreneurship in many areas, including those that were unheard of just a few years ago. I would like to see more young Nigerians put what they learned in the university to impactful use by leveraging on the social media’s abundant opportunity for business ventures.

“Entrepreneurship starts with a mindset; form networks, begin to see your phone as a business tool and not just a fashion accessory; get tutorials for starting new businesses or to ginger new business ideas.

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Bukola Saraki at Adeleke University convocation (Twitter/@SPNigeria) 

“You have had the benefit of a very good private education here at Adeleke University, so it is perhaps fair to say that you have had a bit of a leg-up; it is now time to take that a step further to showing the dividends in terms of entrepreneurship. Do not wait for the jobs to come to you; create the opportunities for yourself and for others; create the jobs.

“How, some of you may ask? I would say the avenues are all around us. Go beyond watching make-up tutorials on YouTube to thinking about setting up a business to create your own line of cosmetics and skincare products. Rihanna the singer did it. Admittedly, she was already a millionaire many times over as a world-famous entertainer, but the point is that she did not content herself with that alone.

"She ventured and looked for new opportunities, gaps in the market that she could fill, and so she created the wildly successful Fenty range of cosmetics. It is all about being able to identify the opportunity and to grab it with both hands.”

Adeleke University is a private faith-based institution founded in 2011 by Dr. Adedeji Adeleke, through the Springtime Development Foundation (SDF), a philanthropic, non- profit making organization established to assist indigent students to benefit from quality higher education.

Source: Pulseng

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