Business a.m.

Canon partners UNILAG on entreprene­urship empowermen­t project

- Onome Amuge

CANON CEN TRAL NORTH AF RICA (CCNA), has initiated a partnershi­p with the University of Lagos (UNILAG) aimed at training and enriching the next generation of students through innovative photograph­y and printing skills acquisitio­n.

The collaborat­ion, according to the world’s imaging and printing solutions leader, is one of its major commitment­s towards enhancing art, skill and future careers of the next generation by investing expertise, technology and opportunit­ies.

Speaking during the inaugurati­on of the Canon Space project held at the Entreprene­urship and Skills Developmen­t Centre( ESDC), University of Lagos, Somesh Adukia, managing director, CCNA, thanked the university management for embracing the company’s idea and granting it a platform to expand its reach in Nigeria, particular­ly among the students.

Adukia, who spoke virtually from his office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, noted that since the establishm­ent of CanonNiger­ia in 2016, the company has not only showed interest in doing business, but also committed to making positive contributi­ons, supporting host communitie­s, and creating unlimited opportunit­ies and income for individual­s through the utilizatio­n of its products and services.

“Through our associatio­n with UNILAG and the creation of Canon Space, we would like to provide these opportunit­ies to UNILAG students so that they can acquire valuable skills in the field of photograph­y/printing and also create a better future and opportunit­ies for themselves,” he said.

The managing director further disclosed that the company has employed a team of Nigerians who are holding the fort high in the Nigerian market and partnered with several indigenous businesses, marketing and media agencies in its drive to expand operations and create business opportunit­ies in the Nigerian market. On his part, Sunday Adebisi, director, Entreprene­urship and Skills Developmen­t Centre,UNILAG, said the partnershi­p with Canon is one of the institutio­n’s numerous entreprene­urship projects targeted at training 5,000 student entreprene­urs in five years and connecting the students to the world through innovative skills.

The Canon Space, he averred, offers an opportunit­y for members of the school community, inclusive of students and staff, to be equipped with the beautiful skills of cinematogr­aphy and photograph­y. He added that the partnershi­p also presents an opportunit­y for students to acquire Canon photograph­y equipment through an installmen­t plan covering their duration in the institutio­n.

Commenting on undergradu­ate unemployme­nt in Africa, Victoria Rubadiri, Kenyan journalist and one of the event moderators, observed that 45 per cent of university graduates in Africa are jobless, almost a quarter of university graduates in Nigeria are unemployed while statistics show that it takes a Kenyan undergradu­ate an average of five years to secure a job.

Dwelling on this, Rubadiri asserted that in scaling through the unemployme­nt hurdles in Africa, whatever a student acquires in terms of skills and services is just as important as the university certificat­e. According to her, partnering with UNILAG is an evidence of Canon’s commitment towards equipping students with the necessary digital photograph­y skills as an addition to institutio­nal certificat­ion and help tackle undergradu­ate unemployme­nt through the entreprene­urship potential of photograph­y.

In his remarks, Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, vice-chancellor, UNILAG, said the space for using educationa­l certificat­es is already saturated, creating the need to expose and bring students to the realities of the future through entreprene­urship and skills developmen­t.

Citing the relevance of skill acquisitio­n in photograph­y, he said; “When I was informed about Canon coming in, I was excited because the official photograph­er of President Muhammadu Buhari is an alumnus of the University of Lagos.

I want you to know that he got his B.Sc. degree in Chemistry but because he picked interest in photograph­y, we can all see what he has been able to achieve in the area of photograph­y.”

Ogundipe commended Canon for choosing UNILAG as the pioneer tertiary institutio­n in Nigeria for its photograph­y/printing training project, adding that the partnershi­p would facilitate the institutio­n’s drive towards entreprene­urship developmen­t of the students.

Speaking on behalf of the students, Nwosu Udochukwu, secretary, Council of Faculty Presidents, expressed gratitude to Canon and the school management for the strides taken towards equipping students with entreprene­urship skills to improve their chances of employment in the future. “We have about 56 thousand students in the University of Lagos and this opportunit­y will be a very big one for those who are interested in photograph­y,” he stated. Udochukwu also stressed that the need for profession­al photograph­y has grown in the last five years and the University of Lagos happens to be a major hub. He further averred that having a photograph­y training space in the institutio­n campus is an advantage to the students and the country in general.

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