Over 200 students from various universities in the south west with keen interest in ICT solutions were recently present at Techie Entrepreneurial Nigerian Talented (TENT) a Paradigm Initiative Nigeria project that seeks to add value to Nigeria's ICT industry and also address the Nigerian unemployment problem.
The programme, which lasted for three days was an opening for undergraduates to discuss how they can maximise the four or five years spent on tertiary education to build ICT businesses.
Universities that participated included Benson Idahosa University, Covenant University, Federal University of Technology Akure, University of Ibadan, University of Lagos, Lagos State University, Lagos State Polytechnic, Yaba College of Technology and the host institution, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU).
Chief Executive Officer, Signature Community New York, Mr. Nick Jekogian, in his keynote speech, encouraged the students to always endeavor to bring value to the table.
According to him, what you create in your dorm rooms can be replicated all over the world, there may be opportunities in the US but Africa, and Nigeria in particular may have a better opportunity to create the next big thing.
On her part, Chief Operating Officer, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, Mrs. Tope Ogundipe, stated that the TENT gathering at Ife achieved its objectives. She said: "The turnout from both private and government owned universities was brilliant. In junction with our sponsors, partners, speakers and volunteers; we set out to jumpstart the culture of innovation and enterprise among technology students, to ensure that they graduate with viable tech business plans or actual businesses and not just CVs.
Ogundipe stated that with official figures from the Nigerian government on unemployment at 24.9 per cent and a minister revealing that only 10 per cent of graduates get decent jobs two years after graduation, PIN believes the TENT initiative will provide the opportunity to reverse the trend of producing job seekers, and moving towards grooming competent ready hands and employers of labour.
The panel led by Jekogian and his team drawn from both the academics and the industry judged the students demos of products and services, based on the innovation, viability, value and economics of their products and services and gave the students feedback on how to turn their ideas into global technology brands.
Amongst the seven schools that competed for the Taiwo Bankole Prize in the inter-school competition, Moribise Demola, won the Taiwo Bankole Prize for the inter-school prize for the Federal University of Technology; Akure. Makanju Oluwadamilare won a prize for his idea on developing 'Self-Repairing Systems,' Giwa Abdul-Azeez, for his amazing 'ear impediment devices' for communicating with the deaf, and Olajide Martins for his 'Age to Speech Recognition Systems;' a software which uses voice patterns to determine the age of the speaker.