BACKGROUND OF THE CENTRE
Nigerians, especially the youths, in the past decades, have fallen deeper into poverty despite consistent increase in oil revenue over time. The accompanying economic growth has not translated into prosperity for the citizenry, hence the increasing incidence of poverty. Consequently, optimum development of the productive sector that will lead to meaningful wealth creation, resulting to reasonable income earned, including through employment generated in the process, is needed. The most veritable tool for achieving this desired goal is through entrepreneurship development, in view of the fact that entrepreneurs, especially those pivotal to the set up and running of small and medium enterprises, SMEs, which have been acclaimed and proved to be the engine of economic growth and development the world over.
Globally, it has been held and acknowledged that the most appropriate step in this direction (entrepreneurship development) is the institutionalisation of training in entrepreneurship. While this has been actualised even in most of the developed economies of the Western world and the foremost emerging economies at various levels of education including primary and secondary, some others like Nigeria have considered the tertiary level to be the most appropriate. This commenced in 2006 through a presidential directive via the Federal Ministry of Education, which made entrepreneurship education compulsory for all students in tertiary institutions in the country, effective from the 2007/2008 academic session.
The overall objective of the educational directive is to not only educate the youths, but particularly to foster entrepreneurship culture among them who constitute a considerable proportion of the total population. The ultimate goal is to produce an army of entrepreneurial-minded citizens with the skills and mentality to establish and manage sustainable business ventures, thereby transforming the economic landscape of the nation with the desired impact on improved income/welfare and reduced poverty.
The role for actualising this noble goal has been assigned to the Entrepreneurship Development Centre. The Entrepreneurship Development Centre of Plateau State University is under the office of the Vice Chancellor of the University. The Centre is headed by a Director, who is a seasoned senior academic staff, reporting directly to the Vice Chancellor. The pioneer head was Professor Rahila Gowon, who set up the structure and framework for its establishment and optimal functioning. Followed by Mbwa Williams Adiak as acting Director, who has considerable academic and practical business experience and recently, the Vice Chancellor appointed Prof. Longmas S. Wapmuk as the Director of the Centre. It has a staff strength of Six (6).
VISION OF THE CENTRE
To become one of the foremost Centres for Entrepreneurship Studies and Development in Africa.
MISSION OF THE CENTRE
To promote Entrepreneurial culture, self-employment, economic independence, and self-actualisation among the youths through the utilisation of innovation and creativity within its sphere of influence.
OBJECTIVES/ FUNCTIONS OF THE CENTRE
The major objective of the Centre for Entrepreneurship Development is to establish a facility to house ESP 300 programmes and expand business incubation programmes that have national focal point for idea formulation and exchange with economic development through entrepreneurial efforts in Plateau State, and perhaps the North Central geo-political zone of Nigeria. Some of the functions are as follows:
1) Creating and developing knowledgeable, enterprising and effective entrepreneurs.
2) Developing entrepreneurial culture in students and staff of PLASU and the entire Plateau citizens.
3) To establish well-equipped facilities for the acquisition of skills considered crucial to entrepreneurship.
4) To serve as incubator of business ideas and programmes.
UNITS IN THE CENTRE
The Centre for Entrepreneurship Development is positioned to have five Units namely:
ACHIEVEMENTS IN THE CENTRE
Besides, the former University guest house was beautifully painted by the students to the admiration of all within the location and guests, a further testimony of the effectiveness of the skills acquisition programme.
As developments unfold, the Centre is poised to continuously key in to the University’s Management’s vision of a foremost national and international academic and human development citadel, through executing the relevant programmes. What is required is support in the relevant areas.
Prof. Longmas S. Wapmuk