Oyo Global Forum, OGF, a Nigerian grassroots organisation, has partnered with the Centre for Enterprise Innovation, CEI, at the De Montfort University, the United Kingdom, to provide a platform, tagged Enterprise Bootcamp, to improve the entrepreneurial competencies of over 60 young Nigerians.
The programme which was implemented in Oyo between Friday and Saturday targeted young entrepreneurs and those just nurturing ideas, who underwent a two-day intensive training.
Oyo town covers four local government areas in Oyo State and has recently witnessed a rise in drug-related gang violence linked with high rate of poverty and youth unemployment. Organisers said the programme was aimed at addressing the menace.
In a series of master classes and practical workshops, they took the participants through important processes, steps and tips on starting small, business planning, use of technologies, social enterprise, customer service, among others.
The participants also worked in groups to tackle challenges on decision making, team building, partnership, and leadership.
The facilitators at the training were Abiodun Egbetokun of the National Centre of Technology Management, Peggy Alexopoulou of the Loughborough University London, Seun Adepoju, an IT expert, and Biodun Adereni of HelpMum.
Also, Seun Kolade, a senior lecturer at the De Montfort University and OGF leader, took the session on business plan.
“For many years, OGF has launched a wide range of practical interventions to tackle various challenges affecting the prosperity and security of our community,” Rahaman Olorunpoto, OGF Vice-Chairman who was the coordinator said at the event.
“We are pleased this new partnership with De Montfort University (DMU) has been hugely successful. We also thank our Nigerian industry partners who generously offered their expertise and resources to deliver sessions. Special mention is also due to the government’s owned Bank of Industry, who sent representatives.”
Mr Kolade, who is also a researcher with CEI, said the intervention provided the participants opportunity to obtain necessary information and acquire key skills to move their business ideas to actualisation.
“With necessary information and skills, along with practical and funding support from industry partners, we aim to unleash the entrepreneurial agency and creative energy of young Africans. This will chart a new era of prosperity and growth for the continent,” he said.
Mr Kolade, who initiated the partnership with OGF, said plan was underway to replicate the intervention in other cities in and outside Nigeria.
“We will be keen to capture the short and longer-term impact of the workshop through my colleagues, such as evaluations of the workshop, video interviews, case studies etc.,” David Rae, CEI Director, said in a letter on the event.
“We are very keen to support and evidence the impact of entrepreneurship education and development in African countries through initiatives such as this.”
The Bank of Industry, represented by Foluke Ogunmefun, told the participants they can access loans from up to N50,000,000 from the one billion naira OYO/BOI Fund. She said Oyo State Government and BOI had committed N500 million each to the fund.
“Every business located within Oyo State can access this loan provided the requirements are presented; a business plan, a registered business name and a business account.”
She urged interested business owners to visit the Ministry of Trade and Commerce, Oyo State, located in Ibadan to apply, after which other processes will follow.
Participants were full of praise for the organisers, saying the programme has had a big impact on them.
“Even though, I have been in the IT service business for some years, my participation in this programme enabled me to learn new things necessary for business growth and sustainability,” Muslim Habib said.
“The Bootcamp has not only been an avenue to learn for me but it has provided me with an opportunity to put to use my event planning skills once again as a member of the planning committee,” another participant, Afees Akinola, remarked.
“This programme has afforded me the opportunity to network with big players in the entrepreneurship industry and connect with them.”
Commenting, OGF scribe, Taiwo Adebayo, said the organisation would explore further collaborations to build on the success of the Bootcamp.
“It was an excellent programme and the feedbacks have been impressive. We now have something to build on through further collaborations towards helping our secure funding and gain some more hard skills.”