By Ikechukwu Odu
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, Prof Charles Igwe, on Tuesday, said the ongoing 1st University of Nigeria Business Promotion and Products Exhibition Fair would provide a mutually-beneficial business transaction interface between the University and the industries.

Prof Igwe also said that the Fair was aimed at promoting the innovative endeavours of the University as well as demonstrating the commercial possibilities of the research-based prototypes and technological fabrications of the institution to prospective investors.

He made the statements during his welcome address at the Princess Alexandra Auditorium, UNN, adding that the array of new products on display at the Fair was a testimony of the innovative research spirit, which according to him, is currently driving the research wheels of the University.

Also in his address, the Director, the University of Nigeria Centre for Business Development, UNCBD, Prof Nnanyelugo Okoro, said the Fair is a push to commercialize university research outputs in the face of the dwindling government funding to tertiary institutions in Nigeria. He also said that its emphasis is on building entrepreneurial universities that would make graduates economically independent.

The Director also said “It is with great delight that the University of Nigeria Centre for Business Development, UNCBD, presents to you this maiden edition of the University of Nigeria Business Promotion and Products Exhibition Fair. UNCBD is a new idea within the spectrum of the University’s business schemes, instituted by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Charles Arizechukwu Igwe, to assist the University Administration in making the University a Centre of Excellence through the generation of globally competitive programmes and products. This Fair which has been conceptualized as an annual event is one of them. Our target is 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. In accordance with our strategy map, this Fair has come in record time to showcase the patents/inventions and products of the University to investors who are expected to assist in commercializing them,” he noted.

The don also explained that the current challenges faced by businesses in the 21st century across the world has made research and development imperative to keep businesses afloat, adding that there is an urgent need to animate the University’s core development philosophy of providing the needs of the industry, government and society, in line with the Triple-Helix Model, aimed at promoting academia-industry-government partnership.

While delivering a lecture on the title ‘Managing Business in a Pandemic Era: Challenges as Opportunities,’ the chairman of Trust Fund Group, Silas Ifeanyi, said that businesses around the globe are not only threatened by COVID-19 pandemic but also by emerging technologies which will cause massive disruptions to businesses and human lives.

Ifeanyi, who is also the chairman of a national hotel chain, Asabana Suites and Hotels Limited, also explained that business managers must go into planning to formulate strategic responses to issues threatening their businesses in order to survive.

He added that business owners must research into new consumer needs, how to change their services to satisfy current consumer needs, as well as needed adjustments to effect in their business environments in order to remain relevant.

While making a remark at the event, the Permanent Secretary, Enugu State Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Godwin Anigbo, said the state government would support UNN in ensuring that the goals of the Fair are realized.

Anigbo, who was represented by Ngozi Cecilia Ike, also lauded the efforts of UNN in proffering solutions to today’s societal needs.

The highlight of the opening ceremony was the cutting of tape to declare the Fair open by the Director, UNCBD, Prof Okoro at the Freedom Square, UNN.

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