US Embassy, FSD Team Up With UniPort To Empower Young Entrepreneurs By Otikor Samuel

Consul-General of the United States Embassy in Nigeria, Mr. John Bray, the Public Affairs Officer, Darcy Zotter and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Professor Regina Ogali, were among dignitaries who graced the second edition of the Emerging Entrepreneurs Conference at the IPS Park, University of Port Harcourt on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Governor Nyesom Wike was represented at the occasion by his Deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry-Banigo. 

The two-day event powered by Field of Skills and Dreams VTE Academy in partnership with the United States Embassy in Nigeria, drew young participants from across the country.

Speaking during a courtesy visit on the Vice-Chancellor, the Consul-General recounted some of his Consulate's intervention programmes in the Niger Delta, stressing the need for youths in the region to embrace efforts aimed at diversifying the region's economy to fast-track its development.

At the opening ceremony, Mr. Bray said: “There is growing evidence that entrepreneurs the world over are drivers of job growth. Whether they are creating micro, small or medium enterprises, entrepreneurs contribute to job creation and expansion of economic opportunities. The United States Government is firmly convinced that in addition to creating jobs and expanding economic opportunities, entrepreneurship contributes to political stability and vibrant civil society.”

Also speaking, the Public Affairs Officer of the US Consulate, Darcy Zotter, showered praises on the University for providing an enabling environment for hosting the conference. She assured of the Consulate's readiness to partner the University in building capacity aimed at closing the skills gap amongst young people in the Niger Delta.

In her goodwill message, Dr. Harry-Banigo conveyed the gratitude of the Rivers State Government to the organisers for hosting the conference in the State. The Deputy Governor listed some of the entrepreneurial initiatives embarked upon by the Governor Wike-led administration aimed at equipping the youths for self-employment. She expressed the commitment of Rivers State Government to support the drive for entrepreneurship skills amongst young people in the State.

Reading the address of the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ndowa Lale, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Professor Regina Ogali expressed gratitude to the organisers for bringing the conference to the University.

“This conference confirms our status as an Entrepreneurial University that is focused on teaching, research, innovation and creativity. I am also delighted to observe that the United States Embassy is determined to join us in proffering solutions that would enable young Nigerians to become self-reliant, rather than depending on government to create jobs for them,” the Vice-Chancellor's address read in part.

In her speech, the Executive Director of Field of Skills and Dreams, Omowale Ogunrinde, praised the US Consulate in Lagos for partnering her organisation on youth training. She showered praises on the Management of the University for the warm reception accorded her team in the build-up to the event.

“Our choice of UniPort was predicated on the fact that this University is an Entrepreneurial University with amassing support structures that encouraged us to bring a conference of this magnitude here, and we are very grateful to the authorities for their cooperation. We are out to teach young entrepreneurs the 'can-do spirit' and assist them to discover their latent skills set. We help to form networks that enable young people share their experiences and success stories,” the Executive Director stated.

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