From Felix Ikem, Nsukka
The University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) has organised its first Business Promotion and Products Exhibition Fair.
The exhibition, tagged “Promoting Business through Innovations and Research”, organised by the university’s Centre for Business Development, had faculties, departments, centres and business owners display their patents and inventions, making instant sales while demonstrating their products and services.
Prof Charles Igwe, UNN Vice Chancellor, who declared the fair open in Nsukka on Wednesday, said that the event was the first of its kind in the history of the university.
According to the VC, who was represented by Prof Pat Okpoko, the Deputy Vice Chancellor Administration, ‘today’s event is the first-of-its-kind in our University 61 years of existence.
‘It is aimed at showcasing and promoting the innovative endeavours of the university through research as well as demonstrating to prospective investors the commercial possibilities and opportunities of prototype and technological fabrication made possible through dedicated research over the years.
‘The array of new products on display at the fair is an eloquent testimony of the innovative research spirit that is currently driving the research of the university.
‘I am optimistic that this first fair and subsequent fair of the university in the series will provide the transactional interface for mutual benefit between the university and the industry,’ Prof Okpoko said.
Mr Silas Ifeanyi, President of Fund Trust Group, a grass-roots financial institution, who delivered a lecture at the event entitled “Managing Business in a Pandemic Era: Challenges as Opportunities,” said that threats posed by the outbreak of COVID-19 have turned into creating more business opportunities.
‘The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic forced many organisations to device alternative means to run and sustain their business operations under the COVID-19 safety protocol.
‘Many organisations have created online platforms in other to sustain their business as well attended to their clients just to ensure that they maintained social distancing of persons,’ he stated.
In a remark, Prof Nnanyelugo Okoro, the Director, University of Nigeria’s Centre for Business Development (UNCBD), said that the centre was the idea of Prof Charles Igwe to assist the university administration in making the institution a centre of excellence through the generation of globally competitive programs and products.
‘The centre has conceptualised the fair as an annual event with the target to design, improve and sustain a cluster of innovatively different and workable creative solutions that would make client’s business engagement a rewarding experience, especially in the light of the new normal, occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘The fair, which is holding at UNN Freedom Square, is expected to last for eight days will showcase the patents/inventions, products and services of the university to investors who are expected to assist in commercialising them,’ he said.
Nnanyelugo, the former Dean, Faculty of Arts, added further that the fair will provide an opportunity to build networks for business expansion and a platform for business owners to interface with investors.
Dr Godwin Anigbo, Permanent Secretary, Enugu State Ministry of Commerce and Industry, who was represented by Mrs Ngozi Ike, Deputy Director, Market Developed and Export Promotion at the ministry, commended UNN for the product exhibition fair and promised that the ministry would give the necessary support.
She noted that the fair would go a long way to create an interface between the business world and the university.