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Facilitator Canvasses Startup Businesses in Chemistry

It has become imperative to have startup businesses in Chemistry in Nigeria, the Guest Speaker at a recent Town and Gown Seminar of the Department of Chemistry, Covenant University, Majek Okunola Owoo, has said.

Mr Owoo, the Vice-President, Institute of Chartered Chemists of Nigeria and President/CEO, Mabolc International Ltd, said having startups was important for the chemical industry's competitive environment and the industry's attractiveness from an employer's perspective. "Startup companies are usually more flexible in spotting and reacting to changing trends in the market. A sustainable competitive environment thus requires a vibrant ecosystem of startups interacting with established companies," he stated.

The Guest Speaker added that startups offered the opportunity for young graduates to take responsibility for their own company from the very beginning of their careers, which was simply impossible in large multinational companies.

Mr Owoo, who presented a lecture titled 'Chemistry the Nature's Pride' at the seminar, said Chemical change had always been part of the Universe, even before human beings evolved. He noted that chemical processes were constantly occurring within human beings. "When their bodies move, a series of chemical reactions take place to give the muscles the energy taken in from food," he stated.

Mr Owoo noted that modern methods of chemical analysis had led to a greater understanding of the chemistry of nature so that it was possible to identify those chemical compounds that produced the colour, taste, and smell of a flower or a fruit.

The Guest Speaker asserted that chemistry played a major role in inventing a sustainable future based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He said that chemical sciences understood atoms and molecules' physical and chemical properties and practical methods for creating new molecular structures with useful applications.

While stating that chemists were at the center point of the UN's adoption of the SDGs because it had profound consequences for chemistry and related molecular sciences, Mr Owoo urged chemists to play a key role in developing the processes, products and monitoring mechanisms that the SDGs envisaged. He said the emerging approaches must involve frugal, disruptive, widely applicable, and sustainable innovation.

He said that chemistry could help meet the UN's SDGs because it offered a broad spectrum of products and services essential to people's daily lives to ensure they were safe, sustainable, and environmentally sound. Chemistry, he stated, also enabled more efficient use of our natural resources, increases energy efficiency, allowed for reduced greenhouse gas emissions, found new services for current waste products, and was at the forefront of the development of sustainable materials.

In his efforts to justify chemistry's claim to be the 'quality-of-life science par excellence, Mr Owoo explained that chemistry ended poverty in all its forms everywhere. According to him, it ended hunger, achieved food security, improved nutrition, and promoted sustainable agriculture. He stressed that chemistry ensured healthy lives, promoted well-being for all ages, and ensured inclusive and quality education for all and promoted lifelong learning.

In his charge to the students, the Guest Speaker said that Innovative High-Tech startups were all the rage; they drove innovation and challenged current market structures with new approaches. "We are speaking of a new entrepreneurship culture and a boom in innovative company floatations," he said.

Mr Owoo averred that there was the need for a stronger and more realistic force of approach in Nigeria for the chemical industry, which was a driving force for innovation in other sectors, and with strong innovation being key to increased competitiveness.

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