Entrepreneurs Hold Key to Power Sector Breakthrough - Expert
There are great opportunities in the power sector for entrepreneurs and startups to create jobs independent of government, but the industry has largely been underdeveloped.
This was the submission of Engr. Niyi Fatogun, the Chief Executive Officer of Surf City Network, who was the Guest Speaker at the Town and Gown seminar of the Department of Electrical and Information Engineering of Covenant University.
Speaking on the theme, ‘The Challenges of Electrical and Information Engineering Entrepreneur in Town (Nigeria) and Opportunities Therein’, Engr. Fatogun stated that with the nation’s power generating capacity currently standing at less than 1,500 megawatts, entrepreneurs should seek to create the balance of power needs of the nation.
While acknowledging that the nation’s power generation scheme is the preserve of the government, he, however, said that the distribution chain is open to private operators to spark off entrepreneurial activity. “As potential entrepreneurs in the power sector, I am challenging you to create a market for the offerings you are coming up with, and franchising is a major aspect of opening up any market that will speedily give you a favourable market share,” he averred.
The guest speaker said there was a glimmer of hope that the current slowdown in the economy will make entrepreneurs, especially startups, to help come up with clean energy solutions that will revamp the production and manufacturing sectors.
He stated that the Information Communication Technology sector carries unimaginable potentials in addressing the unemployment and power sector challenges, explaining that while ICT can play a complimentary role in evolving solutions that will tackle the nation’s power crisis, it also has the wherewithal to generate employment for a multitude of unemployed youths and professionals in the country.
Engr. Fatogun acknowledged that there is the challenge of funding, but urged budding entrepreneurs to learn to save early in life and show their friends and family that they can be trusted with funds. According to him, “these are folks that know you well and understand what you can accomplish if availed the opportunity”.
While taking a swipe at the banking sector for not being business friendly, he said banks ought to be principal promoters and sustainers of startups in the country, but their mode of operation today is contrary to building up business, which in turn has seen many startups folding up within its first two years.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Chairman, Ado Odo/Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State, Mr Kayode Idowu-Ojumo, commended Engr. Fatogun for the practical life experience in his presentation, and noted that entrepreneurship maybe difficult at the beginning, but profitable at the end. He revealed a plan by the local government to kick-start programmes that will boost entrepreneurship spirit in the area such as making startup loans available, granting tax reliefs and creating enabling environment for entrepreneurs to succeed in the local government area.
Mr. Ayoola Kolawole, who represented the Area Manager of CISCO, Mr. Imoh Akpan, said his organization was at the seminar to see possible ways of advancing the Covenant University’s Smart City Project by looking at avenues in the Department of Electrical and Information Engineering for driving the project.
He said CISCO will work concertedly with Covenant University in creating adequate enlightenment in the area of cyber security, and avail students of the University the opportunity to enjoy benefits of undergoing CISCO programme.
The Head, Department of Electrical and Information Engineering, Dr. Victor Matthews, said the Department decided to up the ante in organising the Town and Gown seminar by bringing a government official, a private entrepreneur and a major player in the ICT world to speak on issues bothering on development.
The aim of the gathering, according to him, was to expose students to a life of industry within the confine of the university to arouse the entrepreneurial spirit in them, which is essential in opening doors for them when they graduate.
“Little wonder, the Indian man says money litters the street of Lagos. With the amount of waste generated in one state, Nigeria has the capacity to convert it to clean energy, which in turn can drive development and industry,” said Dr. Matthews.
The departmental Town and Gown witnessed a huge turnout of participants featuring faculty, staff and students across all fields of engineering.