The Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, says collaborations with foreign counterparts would rapidly drive entrepreneurial development among students as well as improve cordial relationships among nations.
Ogundipe made the assertion at the opening of a three-day Transnational Ventures Acceleration Programme, on Thursday in Lagos.
The programme organised by the university in collaboration with the Carleton University, Canada, was basically for business startups and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
The programme aims at transforming businesses from local to transnational companies, networking with investors and expansion into Canada and the U.S., among other benefits.
According to Ogundipe, since assumption of office as the 12th Vice Chancellor of the institution, he set out to resuscitate all moribund memorandum of understanding of the institution with international partners.
He said that the essence was to build a world-class institution of learning in a globally connected world.
“The internalisation agenda enables the university to play a strategic as growth catalyzer for startups and SMEs through the provision of the theoretical and practical know-how for scaling their businesses early, rapidly and securely,” he said.
The Professor of Botany added that the programme was borne out of insightful discussions with scholars of international repute Prof. Tony Bailetti and the Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada, Mr Adeyinka Asekun.
“New ideas were proposed that will extend knowledge that can leapfrog the Nigerian economy and one of such ideas is the Nigeria-Canada Investment Summit.
“Again, as part of ensuring that all possible opportunities are harnessed, the partnership between Carleton University and our university has also set up the TVAP as follow up to the Nigeria-Canada Investment Summit.
“This programme will give startups and SMEs in both countries the opportunity to tap into the know-how and international networking that make it possible to scale their businesses internationally.
“Unilag is strong on entrepreneurship and innovation, and we are committed to delivering this as a compliment to national economic development,” Ogundipe said.
He added that the institution would continue to aspire to meet the motive for which it was established.
The vice chancellor added that proactive steps were being taken to develop entrepreneurial skills among students and expose them to international best practices.
Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Canada, Amb. Adeyinka Asekun, said that Nigeria was blessed with enterprising persons who should be encouraged to do their businesses in a well-structured manner.
“The more the people you have that are able to create businesses and jobs, the less the people you have that are dependent on the state looking for paid employment.
“We need to encourage persons who will make things happen on their own through such collaborations that will develop them rapidly and ensure they have access to international markets, investors and collaborators.
“It programmes will also give persons the required tools and exposure. It is an exchange programme where Nigeria gets to learn from Canada and vice versa.
“Even though we are a developing country, there is a lot they can learn from us; it also deepens the relationship between the two countries,” he said.
Prof. Bailetti of the Carleton University, Canada, and the facilitator of the three-day programme, said that the general aim of the collaboration was to make the world a better place.
“Both countries will benefit more when we understand each other better and make the world a better place.
“When we do not understand each other, there is little or nothing we gain as individual countries.
“I feel there is a lot to gain in terms of existing opportunities when we understand and know each other better,” he said
NAN reports that a team of Canadian entrepreneurs attended the occasion.