The opening ceremony of the Nigeria-Canada Transnational Ventures Acceleration Program (TVAP) held on Thursday, November 7, 2019 at the Arthur Mbanefo Digital Research Centre (AMDRC) University of Lagos.
The Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, FAS, in his welcome address intimated all present with the initiation of Nigeria-Canada TVAP, which was birthed from the University Management’s visits to foreign institutions for collaborative opportunities with international actors. He explained the University’s drive to empower it’s students with entrepreneurial skills, which will set them apart, making them locally relevant and globally competitive.
The University envisions producing employers of labour, thereby reducing the demand for jobs in Nigeria and the world at large.
His Excellency, Mr. Adeyinka Asekun, Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada, in his speech, commended the University of Lagos for the strategic move. He appreciated Prof. Tony Bailetti of Sprott School of Business, Carleton University, for partnering with Nigeria to strengthen its trade with Canada.
Also present to give his goodwill message was Mr. Ryan A. Ward, Canadian Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria. He spoke of his Commission’s enthusiasm to be a part of an initiative of such importance. He commended the University of Lagos and Prof Bailetti for the drive in the right direction.
Prof. Bailetti expressed his joy to be at the University of Lagos and actualization of the collaboration between UNILAG, Carleton University, Canada and the Scale Early, Rapidly and Securely (SERS) Project. He commended the passion and dedication to excel, which he had noticed in Nigerian entrepreneurs and gave a brief insight to what participants of the 3-day Transnational Ventures Acceleration Program (TVAP) will learn.
The renowned, entrepreneurship and innovation guru of Canada, was accompanied by some other entrepreneurs from Canada and his son, Eduardo Bailetti, founder and CEO of ScaleCamp, who spoke of his drive to train 5000 entrepreneurs by the year 2020. Eduardo informed the Communication Unit of the University of Lagos, of his recent MoU with Cross River State Youth Economic Summit to train 500 entrepreneurs. He disclosed also that the Vice Chancellor Prof. Ogundipe and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Development Services), Prof. Folasade Ogunsola are in conversations with him to train about 500 or more students of the University in scalable entrepreneurship.
The opening ceremony came to an end with a warm vote of thanks delivered by Prof. Ogunsola. She thanked the special guests of honour, participants and staff. She expressed the University’s appreciation to Prof. Bailetti for giving UNILAG’s dreams wings to fly. She talked about the University’s unrelenting drive to make it’s community better by changing the popular narrative and helping the world see the good in Nigeria.
The workshop aspect commence shortly after group photographs were taken at the end of the opening ceremony. Here, Prof. Bailetti kicked off the session by creating an interactive atmosphere for all participants to introduce themselves, their business, the channels through which their business follow and why their businesses should be invested into.
The training sessions, which were thorough and interactive continued till the third and final day of the program, Saturday, November 9, 2019.
To wrap up the programme, participants got the opportunity just to pitch their business ideas to panels of evaluators and investors. The insightful feedbacks from the evaluators gave participants better perspective about their business ideas and prospects.
The University specially appreciates all participants, facilitators, evaluators, members of Organising Committee and staff who made the workshop a reality. The Nigeria-Canada TVAP, drew entrepreneurs from far and wide, all of whom were awarded Certificates of Participation.
Hearty cheers to Prof. Tony Bailetti as he also marked his birthday in the course of the program.