Can a Chemist become a Billionaire?
“Entrepreneurship is not just about philanthropy; it is about making money and making it big.”
This was the assertion of the Guest Speaker, Mr Oyeku Matthew, at the second in the series of the Town and Gown seminars organized by the Department of Chemistry, titled ‘Chemistry Entrepreneurship: A Panacea for Job and Wealth Creation’, held on February 23, 2015.
He described Chemistry entrepreneurship as a paradigm shift from conducting basic research, which the results end up only in academic journals. It is also the combination of both technical and entrepreneurial skills.
“It can also be founding a company that gives you the opportunity to create an enterprise, be it large or small, in which you know you are personally making a difference”, he added.
Speaking on the development of Entrepreneurship in Nigeria, Mr Oyeku said, “Though entrepreneurship development is at its lowest ebb in the country, one laudable effort is the institutionalization of entrepreneurship development programme into the curriculum of tertiary institutions in Nigeria by the National Universities Commission.”
He noted that the need to tackle unemployment, grow national economy, and create wealth to reduce incessant poverty, led to the creation of Chemistry Entrepreneurship.
According to him, skills, perseverance, hardwork, autonomy, energetic persuasiveness and flexibility, among others, are essential attributes required of an entrepreneur.
He also stated that possible sources of fund include: research and development grants; self, family and friends; angel investors; venture capital and other means.
Mr Oyeku also highlighted factors militating against Chemistry entrepreneurship, such as lack of financial capability by the researcher to deliver the innovation to market places, weakness of Small and Medium Enterprise sector to further develop the scientific research findings or innovation, market factor, as well as low level of funding.
He also enumerated steps to starting a new business, which according to him, include determination whether to be an employee or an employer, reading up materials on entrepreneurship, and doing a thorough evaluation of oneself to know whether one can be an entrepreneur.
“Decide on the type of business ownership you want, conduct a thorough research into various window investments available and don’t limit yourself. Also, acquire necessary training, recruit labour and locate your market”, he added.
He concluded by stressing that the education and the economy of the 21st century must be driven by entrepreneurship, adding that entrepreneurial activities should be encouraged at an early stage of learning.
In his remarks, the Head, Department of Chemistry, Dr. Kolawole Ajanaku, stated that the main objective of the programme was to interact with individuals who are making impact in the industries and to enhance the practical knowledge of the students.
Present at the seminar were the Dean, College of Science and Technology, Professor Shalom Chinedu; and other faculty, staff and students of the department.