Business Innovation Accelerator driving entrepreneurship and leadership skills

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By Charles Ogwo

The Business Innovation Accelerator (BIA) in its desire to help young entrepreneurs sharpen their managerial and leadership skills among other goals, has begun a training programme geared towards creating entrepreneurial know-how for profitable and sustainable business management. The Lagos Business School (LBS) in collaboration with the Bank of Industry (BOI) established the Business Innovation Accelerator with the aim of providing high-quality entrepreneurship training and empowerment to young Nigerians across the six geopolitical zones of the country.

Henrietta Onwuegbuzie, director of BIA at LBS said the programme aims to teach African entrepreneurs the skills to grow their businesses, by making money through creating values. She revealed that BIA provides high-quality and in-depth entrepreneurship training to accelerate the growth of impact-driven entrepreneurs for national transformation. “It is aimed at training and supporting Nigerian entrepreneurs toward developing an impact-driven mindset as a necessary ingredient for profitable and sustainable businesses. Successfully scale businesses to deliver world-class solutions, and conduct quality training in managerial, financial and leadership skills of entrepreneurs to make their businesses bankable, de-risked and more resilient,” she said.

In addition, she said; “BIA is set to provide apprenticeship opportunities to strengthen the knowledge base and skills of the entrepreneurs toward enabling them to scale their businesses and create more jobs, successfully and sustainably, facilitate the export of high-quality goods, and position Nigerian businesses to take advantage of opportunities presented by the AfCFTA and other export opportunities toward improving the national economy and to conduct research to inform policy guidelines toward improving the business environment in Nigeria and Africa.”

L-R: Toyin Oyeniran, one of the students who received her certification of completion of the BIA programme; and Henrietta Onwuegbuzie, director of BIA.

She maintained that creating an enabling entrepreneurship ecosystem for young entrepreneurs is ideal for growing their businesses more than just giving money to them. Onwuegbuzie explained that in navigating the contemporary business environment successfully, an entrepreneur’s training is more essential than funding; though both are needed for the effective running of a business. “Training is more important than just giving funds. We are focused on giving people training and the principles of running their businesses,” she reiterated. The associate professor of entrepreneurship emphasized that entrepreneurs can make money by doing things right, which is why BIA is a programme tailored to give young Nigerians a paradigm shift from being job seekers to becoming job creators. She pointed out that unemployment is a big clog to the country’s economic growth, especially with the advent of technology which has drastically reduced the number of employees a firm could take per time. According to Onwuegbuzie, “It takes training to see opportunities. We train young entrepreneurs to see opportunities. Every problem is a potential job opportunity. That Nigeria has a lot of problems, simply means the country has a lot of opportunities for potential businesses.” She applauded the government for creating the needed awareness on easing the burden of doing business in Nigeria but insisted that it is not enough. She frowned at the fact that the government is more concerned with giving money to the people instead of training them. “Training should come first before money. At BIA, we are trying to it make up with training –the trainers in the ecosystem. We have trained over 60 entrepreneurs across the six geographical zones. This helps them to apply the acquired skills to solve business problems per time,” she noted. She pointed out that the BIA training is available to both LBS participants and other entrepreneurs across the six geo-political zones of the country. The university don reiterated that the overall goal of BIA is to build successful and sustainable businesses for Nigeria’s socio-economic growth and development through job creation and the commercialization of participants’ entrepreneurial solutions globally. 

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