To engage students and academics in enterprise creation and entrepreneurship. Also, to tackle gender inequalities identified within Nigeria's culture and develop strategies to address the findings. Additionally, to create an operational strategy for a new start up business incubation, subsequently providing a framework for other institutions within the Sub-Sahara region to support regional economic growth.
This comprised students, graduates and academics from the University of Maiduguri with an interest in business and enterprise creation.
In 2012, academics from the University of Maiduguri in Northern Nigeria visited the UK looking for a suitable partner institution to deliver an economic growth programme. This was in response to the slow growth in new businesses, which the Nigerian government wanted to change through its higher education sector. The University of Wolverhampton was chosen to support the business incubation under the direction of the Nigerian Federal Government’s agenda for economic growth. Building on the University of Wolverhampton’s 25 years of renowned knowledge transfer with SMEs and new start-up growth, it was selected as the ideal knowledge exchange partner.
An award winning programme of entrepreneurship activity, delivered in-country, against a backdrop of
conflict and civil unrest. Working in partnership with the University of Maiduguri, the Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (CEED) was launched. The Centre supports a new generation of regional entrepreneurs within sectors such as food and drink, IT and media.
Additional challenges faced included intermittent electricity and internet access, requiring creative thinking and a flexible approach from the delivery team. The close partnership, including the African Development Bank and Fidelity Bank, ensured that appropriate space as well as funding was made available for the fledgling businesses to prosper.
Consequently, the knowledge exchange resulted in national and international acclaim by winning two awards for Collaborative Impact and Best International Project. It was also short listed for the Times Higher Education Award for International Collaboration of the Year.
"I conclude that we are now in a very serious working relationship and that Nigel [Birch] and Rebecca [Macdonald] are now our brother and sister.” Letter of Commendation – Professor M.M.Daura – Vice Chancellor University of Maiduguri
To deliver an enterprise programme, enriched by cultural experience to a group of entrepreneurs. On completion, delegates would leave with a fully formed start-up business proposal and business plan. Additionally, individuals would be equipped with a comprehensive toolbox of soft skills and a professional identity to complement each business idea.
Entrepreneurial students from Oman in either their final year of study or having recently graduated. Study areas include Engineering, Product Design and Languages.
In August 2014, the University of Wolverhampton hosted a delegation of 38 young entrepreneurs from Oman. This resulted from the development of a successful partnership between the Ministry of Higher Education Oman and the university. The Ministry of Higher Education sponsored the delivery of an innovative Graduate Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme, offering an intensive four week enterprise learning experience to participants.
It was a fantastic opportunity for the university to showcase its academic experience and solid capabilities within the entrepreneurship space, gained from over 25 years of knowledge transfer activities including new start-ups and incubators.
The promising entrepreneurs were immersed in a full range of interactive and innovative activities, providing a balance between theory and practise. Themes included the entrepreneurial mind set; innovation and enterprise cycles; ideas generation and; business planning and management. The rigorous process, provided a spring board for creative business ideas, supported by a comprehensive soft skills tool kit and testing of new start-up proposals.
Cultural experience gained during weekend down-time provided the entrepreneurs with a rich and personal understanding of UK culture. This was the first time away from home for most of the participants, providing was a unique contrast to their own lives in Oman. Excursions included London sight-seeing and shopping, Warwick Castle, various eateries and trips to industrial heritage sites such as Iron Bridge Gorge in Shropshire.
“Coming from a place where there is no cultural diversity and getting a chance to live in a multicultural place has made me more open minded, accepting and adaptable.” Reem, Nizwa College of Applied Science
“This summer holiday was amazing being part of the enterprise programme, creating business plans, preparing pitches and presenting our ideas made us proud of ourselves.” Nada, Rustaq College of Applied Sciences
“The programme has added new value to my life, it’s made me realise that entrepreneurship has a great future especially in my country. I am excited more than before to work on my business idea and to be a successful woman like the entrepreneurs I meet in the UK.” Abeer, Sur College of Applied Sciences Oman