Game Changer Dr. Osita Aniemeka is Training Youth as Entrepreneurs and “Agropreneurs” To Industrialize Nigeria

In Features 14 by Mary Kurek1 Comment

From interview and content provided by Dr. Osita Aniemeka, Director in Residence, Central Bank of Nigeria – South East Entrepreneurship Development Center

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is promoting a new strategic initiative aimed at growing the Entrepreneurial Quotient (EQ) of Nigerians by establishing Entrepreneurship Development Centres in the six (6) Geopolitical Zones of Nigeria. South East Entrepreneurship Development Center (SEEDC), headquartered in Umuahia, Abia State, is one of six and serves the five South East States. CBN finances the operations of SEEDC and is partnering with Abia State, which is providing the enabling infrastructural and training facilities to support the smooth and effective operation and delivery of requisite services to trainees. The State Government is providing counterpart funding and start-up capital for SEEDC graduates. The Bank has also engaged an Implementing Agency, the International Center for Development Affairs (ICDA), which is responsible for the day-to-day management of SEEDC.

Collaboration: 

The Bank is collaborating with Federal Government agencies, notably the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI), National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), Bank of Industry (BOI), National Directorate of Employment (NDE), and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) for the successful implementation of SEEDC and other EDCs. Membership of EDC Governing Council consists of the collaborating agencies, a representative of the Bank, with the Bank providing the Council Chairmanship and the Secretariat.

Objectives:

  • Developing the entrepreneurship spirit amongst Nigerians and providing insight into the tools, techniques, and framework for the functional areas of business enterprise including planning, production, marketing, personnel, and finance.
  • Developing skills of trainees to successfully start, manage, diversify, and expand business enterprises.
  • Linking trainees to financial institutions and other sources for capital.
  • Generating employment opportunities for Nigerians in pursuance of the provisions of relevant Government policies.
  • Raising a new class of entrepreneurs who can serve as a catalyst for the industrialization of Nigeria.

Responsibilities:

Central Bank of Nigeria- The Bank is providing funding for the SEEDC for the cost of operation, cost of consultancy, personnel, training and instructional materials, vehicles and equipment, and outreach centres.

Abia State Government- Provide appropriately equipped offices and training halls, Incubation Centres, and facilities necessary for and incidental to the smooth delivery of the objectives of the SEEDC and provide adequate financial resources for start-up businesses of the SEEDC graduates.

Implementing Agency (ICDA)- Develop and implement the curriculum for hands-on training for prospective entrepreneurs, especially secondary school leavers, graduates of tertiary institutions, and existing entrepreneurs.

Collaborating Agencies- Use their resources to support the implementation of the SEEDC to ensure efficiency and minimize costs.

Internships:

A core component for SEEDC Entrepreneurship Education is the students’ unpaid internship program, offering unique opportunities for students to be placed in distinctly diverse business environments. Students gain experience in these corporate settings, start-ups, or non-profit businesses, learning the practical aspects of the entrepreneurial spirit. The internships prepare them for their chosen professional careers and are similar in some ways, but not as rigorous as, apprenticeships for professions, trades, and vocations. It brings some form of standardization with oversight and lasts for three weeks during which the students are not paid. Entrepreneurship training at SEEDC makes it our mandate and mission to connect students with internship opportunities that further develop their skill set and professional competencies while providing the destination establishments with talented interns. The students get the opportunity to build a relationship with experienced professionals who not only lend advice, knowledge, and insights but also guidance and support as the students build their professional careers. The establishments who accept our students in this program are provided interns every Quadmester that assist in the advancement of entrepreneurially driven projects.


Dr Aniemeka’s Networking Interests:  

  • FOUNDATIONS AND DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS – Foundations and Development Partners who would be willing to assist in the scaling up of my work – deploying the success with the Central Bank of Nigeria Entrepreneurship Development Centers in Nigeria to Accelerate Africa
  • POLICY/DECISION MAKERS  – Decision makers in the global development space who would see the need to take the practical steps to help, not through aids, but by partnering with the International Center for Development Affairs to establish Entrepreneurship Development Centers in West and East Africa for starters and then the rest of Africa in due course.
  • FUNDING ORGANIZATIONS AND DONORS – Funding Organizations and Donors in pooling of funds together to serve as revolving loan for graduates of the Entrepreneurship Development Program.

Osita Aniemeka

Program Director: In 2010, Dr Osita Aniemeka became Fulltime Faculty at the Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai, Niger State, and in 2011, was appointed Director, Center for Learning Communities of same University, where his work included the establishment of the University’s Entrepreneurship Education Program. A 1998 Ford Foundation Fellow, Osita worked for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Project – NEXTT, growing the potentials of an economic agro-corridor, the LAKAJI Corridor, as a strategic tool for investment traction for Agropreneurship for providing jobs and boosting food security in Nigeria.

He’s a consultant to DFID; worked with UNDP | FMARD, and led the Nigeria Development Gateway Collaborative (World Bank-Development Gateway Foundation). Osita was Customer Service Agent for the legendary American Express Card and while in college at the Alabama Agricultural & Mechanical University (AA&MU), was a Research Assistant to the renowned Professor Zachary Senwo of the College of Agriculture. He rose from Senior Research Fellow at the Foundation for African Arts and Letters (FAAL), New York, to become Member of the Governing Council before returning to Nigeria to join the Faculty and Senate of IBB University.

With a Ph.D. in Communication and Entrepreneurial Leadership, Osita founded the International Center for Development Affairs (ICDA) in 1995 and joined the NGO Working Group on the World Bank (NGOWGWB) in 1997. He was Man of the Year 2002 (American Bibliographical Institute) for his years of development work in Africa. Dr. Aniemeka gained extensive experience in SME development strategy, performance management, non-profit governance, public-private- dialogue/partnership, and knowledge management working in the United States and in Nigeria.

He resigned from his college teaching at IBB University in 2014 when ICDA was appointed the Implementing Agency for the Central Bank of Nigeria | South East Entrepreneurship Development Center (CBN | SEEDC) and today, he’s the Center’s Program Director.

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