Support SME’s, informal sector to Forster economic growth — UI VC Prof. Adebowale

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan Professor Kayode Adebowale has urged the government to continue to support the informal sector and strive for its expansion.
Prof. Adebowale stated this during his welcome address on Wednesday at the opening ceremony of the 3rd edition of the University of Ibadan Small and Medium Enterprises SMEs Fair, with the theme “Beyond Borders: Connecting Research, Innovation and Enterprise.”
Speaking at the Fair which has SMEs exhibitors from various sectors of the economy, Prof. Adebowale said “It is heartwarming and indeed a delight that this Fair is being held after a two years break occasioned by protracted industrial actions of the University Unions and other other extraneous factors. Despite the hurdles and challenges faced by Higher Education institutions in Nigeria.
“The University of Ibadan remains a leading institution in the conduct of cutting-edge research for development and is committed to bridging the town-gown gap which is the main essence of this Fair.  The theme of this year’s Fair: Beyond Borders: Connecting Research, Innovation and Enterprise is in sync with the theme of the University’s 75th Anniversary celebration: Building a global community beyond borders.
This is to deepen the town gap relationship. I am using this medium to invite you to be part of the grand celebration”.
Prof. Adebowale added that this year’s Fair showcased a lot of improvement in terms of the research outputs from the University’s seasoned and internationally- acclaimed scholars and researchers who have proved their mettle and made amazing discoveries through quality research.
“I am also excited to inform you that the University of Ibadan is in the process of establishing an SME Hub where practical solutions are proffered to the challenges faced by SMEs. The impact of SMEs on GDP and its contribution to the growth and development of a country’s economy is enormous and unequivocal. Consequently, the government is implored not to neglect this sector and strive for its expansion”.
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In her address, Professor Oluyemisi Bamgbose SAN the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships said: “The University of Ibadan will continue to be a major player in the Nigeria project.
“The 2-day event will strengthen the University enterprise collaborations thereby promoting the public-private sector research collaboration. Throughout this Fair, we aim to provide a nurturing environment where emerging enterprises can flourish, collaborations can bloom and groundbreaking ideas can take root”.
Prof. Bamgbose added that aside from growing SMEs, the Fair is meant to also encourage student entrepreneurs.
According to him, “We believe that all of this effort will culminate in the building of an Innovation Hub to engender the development of innovative products, processes and services in Nigeria through the application of cutting-edge research in our university”.
Emphasising the significance of the event, Associate Professor Ruth Ochanya Adio-Moses, the Convener of the UI SMEs Fair 2023 said: “The event shall reflect a blend of the town and gown synergy uniquely with each prepared to derive maximum benefits of the interaction and infusion. It is our sincere hope in these years to come to have testimonies of life-transforming experiences from all participants as we contribute our quota to the overall economic recovery of our motherland Nigeria”.
Also speaking at the event, the Chairman of the University of Ibadan @75 Anniversary Committee, Professor Peter Olapegba stated that the event is a great initiative and welcome development, particularly in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.
” This programme heralds the beginning of the UI @ 75 anniversary. The University of Ibadan is abreast of global trends, best practices and the development of small and medium scale businesses, reduce unemployment and poverty, encourage innovation and promote self -self-sustainability of systems.”
In his keynote address, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of GetFundAfrica, Mr Tunji Oke who gave a presentation on “Small and Medium Enterprises: Path to Sustainable National Recovery”  applauded the University of Ibadan for the SMEs Fair.
He urged the students to learn from the Fair and other Institutions of higher education to emulate the University of Ibadan.
Aside from the SMEs exhibitions at the  Fair which was organized in partnership with BLG events, the highlight of the event were the panel discussions moderated by Dr K. Fasola on “Taking your business beyond borders in shifting times “.
There are also assessment of students exhibitions known as studentprenures.
The major sponsor of the University of Ibadan 2023 SMEs Fair is Providus Bank.

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