The University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) on Wednesday began its weeklong maiden product fair aimed at showcasing and promoting the innovative endeavours of the university through research.
Declaring the fair open at Nsukka, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof Charles Igwe said that the event was the first of its kind in the history of the university.
The fair has the theme, “Promoting Business Through Innovations and Research”.
According to the VC, who was represented by Prof Pat Okpoko, the Deputy Vice Chancellor Administration, today’s business Promotion and products fair was the first of its kind in our university since its 61 years of existence.
“It will demonstrate to prospective investors the commercial possibilities and opportunities of prototype and technological fabrication made possible through dedicated research over the years by the UNN.
“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,” he said.
The VC said he was optimistic that the first fair and subsequent ones in the series would provide the transactional interface for mutual benefit between the university and the the business community.
Prof. Nnayelugo Okoro, Director, UNN Centre for Business Development (UNCBD), said the business promotion exhibition in the University would provide opportunities for sharing of new businesses.
He said the aim of organising the fair was to design, improve and sustain a cluster of innovatively different and workable creative solutions that would make clients business engagement a rewarding experience especially in the light of COVID-19 pandemic.
“UNCBD is the brain child of Prof Charles Igwe, the Vice Chancellor of UNN, to assist the university in making the institution a centre of excellence through the generation of globally competitive programs and products.
“The fair will showcase the patents/inventions and products of the university to investors who are expected to assist in commercialising them,” he said.
Nnanyelugo, who was former Dean, Faculty of Arts UNN, explained that the fair would provide opportunity to build networks for business expansion and platform for participants to interface with investors.
According to the director, the fair holding in UNN Freedom Square field that had participants mostly from UNN faculties, departments and centres and other participants would last for eight days.
Mr Silas Ifeanyi, the President of Fund Trust Group, in a lecture entitled “Managing Business in a Pandemic Era: Challenges as Opportunities,” said that threats posed by the outbreak of COVID-19 had been turned into creating more business opportunities.
“The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic forced many organisations to device alternative means to run and sustain their business operations under the COVID-19 safety protocols.
“Many organisations have created online platforms in order to sustain their business as well as attend to their clients just to ensure that they maintained social distancing of persons,” he said.
He urged business owners to always know the Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threat of their businesses known in business circle as SWOT as it showed when the business was progressing or collapsing.
“What is known as SWOT analysis help a business owner to know when his business is progressing or collapsing.
“Strength and Opportunities in business show the business is doing well whereas Weaknesses and Threat are danger signals in business, which if not well managed may lead to the collapse of the business, “he said.
Ifeanyi expressed appreciation to UNN, especially the director of UNCBD for finding him worthy to deliver the first lecture of the fair.
Also speaking, Dr Godwin Anigbo, Permanent Secretary, Enugu State Ministry of Commerce and Industry, commended UNN for the product exhibition and promised that the ministry would give the necessary support to the university.
Anigbo, who was represented by Mrs Ngozi Ike, Deputy Director, Market Development and Export Promotion in the ministry, said the exhibition would go a long way to create interface between the business community and the university.
“I commend the university for the product exhibition and promised the ministry’s necessary support” he said.
Some of the participants told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the exhibition would enable them to showcase and market products their faculties, departments and centres had produced.
They said they would look for partnership from the business community for their products to be produced in commercial quantity