The University of Wolverhampton’s new Centre for African Entrepreneurship and Leadership (CAEL) has been given the official seal of approval by a delegation of partner visitors from Africa - including students and graduates who are already benefiting from the collaboration.
CAEL provides short courses and executive and doctoral training in the UK and Africa and also develops academic partnerships with African universities – these include the University of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, the University of Maiduguri, College of Education Minna and Bayero University Kano in Nigeria - and it focuses on developing sustainable schemes to support SMEs, graduates and youth employment.
Over 100 delegates travelled to Wolverhampton from Nigeria for the event including Senators, Vice-Chancellors, Directors of Entrepreneurship Centres, Special Advisors on tertiary education, Commissioners as well as the Deputy Governor of Bauchi State. The delegation was headed up by Her Excellency Oluremi Tinubu, former First Lady of Lagos State and Senator representing Lagos Central Senatorial District who was representing her husband, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the former Governor of Lagos and new patron of CAEL.
The visitors were given a tour of the University, attended lectures, met students, toured the new Business School and met the Mayor and Mayoress of Wolverhampton, Ian and Paula Brookfield, at a civic lunch where they discussed democratic governance and Wolverhampton’s long-term socio-economic strategy.
CAEL student Christiana Wakawa from Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State – epicenter of the Boko Haram conflict in northern Nigeria, was part of the delegation and she spoke about the experience offered to her by the University of Wolverhampton which helped her to initiate and develop her own business plan using locally sourced materials.
She said: “Civil unrest over the past few years in our State had led to insurgency which destabilised the economy and left a lot of women and children displaced. The training provided by CAEL has had such a big impact on my life and on business in general in our state. I have acquired confidence and new skills and have been able to train over a 1,000 women and young people in entrepreneurship.
“For me it was a dream come true and I now own my own tailoring company, DT Stitches, which has gained international recognition.”
CAEL director Dr Pascal Anosike said: “We were delighted to welcome a whole host of dignitaries including industry leaders, policy makers and elected government executives from Africa as well as some of the students we are helping. During their visit we showcased the best of what the University has to offer and gave them an introduction to the area. In addition to celebrating our achievements over the past few years we were able to pursue some exciting new opportunities with a much wider group of partners.”
Engr. Nuhu Gidado, Deputy Governor of Bauchi State, said: “We are very pleased with the work we’ve done in partnership with the University whereby we trained all local government officers and members of the house of assembly on modern procurement techniques. We have implemented the frameworks developed following the training widely across our State and we are now working with the Centre and the University to develop a socio-economic template framed around entrepreneurship and rural transformation.”
Over the past four years, CAEL has worked with a number of African partners to embed entrepreneurship education and promote good governance practices in Africa. It has successfully engaged more than 1,500 individuals and institutions from Nigeria, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe in the areas of training, research and curriculum provision. In 2014, one of the Centre’s initiatives with the University of Maiduguri, in northern Nigeria won both the prestigious Guardian Universities Award and PraxisUnico Impact Awards.
From left Dr Paschal Anosike (Director Centre for African Entrepreneurship and Leadership CAEL), Prof Geoff Layer (VC University of Wolverhampton), Her Excellency Oluremi Tinubu (Former First Lady of Lagos State and Senator representing Lagos Central Senatorial District), His Worshipful, Rt. Hon Ian Brookfield (The Mayor of Wolverhampton) and Dr Anthea Gregory DVC, Academic.
Nigerian CAEL student, Christiana Wakawa, gives the delegation an overview of her personal journey.
For more information please contact Mags Winthrop in the Media Relations Office on 01902 322736.