By Jonathan Ugbal
Education and innovation is the fulcrum of business in the 21st century with only the bold who dare and venture into the wild able to achieve any meaningful success says wife of Cross River State governor, Dr. Linda Ayade.
Linda who says the state is currently governed by “a man who has successfully combined academics and business” averred that the time has come when the thinking that business was reserved for people without skills and those who did not do well in class has given way to a new perception and thinking.
She disclosed this, Saturday while declaring open the 2015 edition of the Young Business Icons Summit and Awards held in Calabar.
Dr. Linda who stressed the role which online journalism has played in defining the current socio-political terrain in the state, stressed the need for the youths of the state to disembark from the normal mentality of waiting for government jobs with uncontrollable disdain for vocational and artisan jobs to begin to have a rethink.
While encouraging Cross Riverians to strive to carve a niche for themselves in order for the economy to achieve meaningful growth, she congratulated the organizers of the summit for choosing the State to host the event, and expressed optimism that the summit will produce trailblazers as the profiles and business ideas of some of the contestants were quite impressive.
Dr. Linda who was represented by the Special Adviser, Office of the Wife of the Governor, Dr. Mrs. Rose Eneji, maintained that “We live in a time when education and innovation have become the fulcrum of business and only those who dare to take the bull by the horn can achieve any meaningful success.” Success she said.
On his part, Agba Jalingo, Publisher and Editor-In-Chief of CrossRiverWatch averred that “I don’t like government jobs and have never been a fan of any of it because it has over time made our people quite lazy.”
He questioned the rationale behind an entire generation of young people in the State perceiving the government as the only job creating avenue and urged everyone to change that perception and reconstruct the thinking which has dragged the State backward.
Agba also stressed the need for capacity building to speedily bridge the tremendous capacity gap among young people in the state and ensure that people don’t always come from other parts of the country to snatch away job and business opportunities from Cross Riverians.
He explained that the reason for the Awards is to celebrate some incredible Cross Riverians who have chosen to be their own boss, and creating jobs for others too, regardless of the many odds.
“I want to tell you that today is marking the beginning of a project that will change the fortune of our State and will also outlive us. We are here to celebrate some of the best Cross Riverians I have ever met. Not the politicians; these are the real people who are changing Cross River in their small world, with nothing else than pure passion and commitment plus God’s grace.
“I have been around here for long enough to know how difficult it is to start and sustain an enterprise in our State. It takes raw determination and Spartan discipline and passion, to succeed and cross certain margins. And the winners here today have demonstrated a combination of all these.
“We have come to celebrate them to spur them on, to tell them that they are not alone in their striving. We want to use their stories and experience to inspire other young Cross Riverians to take the path of entrepreneurship and begin to create opportunities for our people.”
The Chairman of the Cross River State Democracy Club and Youth Parliament, Mr. Emmanuel Etim in a paper presentation titled “Youth Entrepreneurship As A Panacea For Un-development” opined that there is a global consensus that young people are the greatest assets any state could rely on for meaningful development.
Etim who is the state Director, Nigeria Youth Chamber of Commerce urged policy makers in the state to actively set policies, programs and processes to promote youth entrepreneurship as a panacea for the underdevelopment in the state.
He lamented there has been no systematic attempt to look at youth entrepreneurship as a source of job creation, empowerment and economic dynamism in a rapidly globalizing world.
He also decried the situation where the tendency has been either to subsume the youth into the general adult population or to ignore their efforts to forge a livelihood through enterprise activities which according to him has resulted in “the lack of an adequate understanding of the potential benefits of youth entrepreneurship as a means of improving youth livelihoods”.
Commenting on the position of youth entrepreneurship in the state, Etim maintained that despite several recorded achievements, only a few have been able to access funding to start and grow their businesses in the state, stressing that a lot more still needs to be done to promote youth entrepreneurship in Cross River State.
On possible solutions, Etim posited that the state government mainstreams youth entrepreneurship development initiative into its development programs.
In a similar vein, a media assistant to Cross River’s governor Ben Ayade, Mr Solomon Asha while addressing participants congratulated Agba Jalingo for taking the “bull by the horn” in his bid to ensure efficient information dissemination concerning and relating to Cross River State.
He stressed the need for Cross Riverians to embrace training and networking opportunities such as the one he is speaking in, to ensure they benefit fully from the many opportunities which are available.
“We have the seaport coming, the superhighway, the Garment factory, and currently Governor Ayade is in Japan sourcing for partnership with foreign partners and investors for the proposed Cross River State Petro-chemical and gas industry. If we don’t develop our capacity and tailor our potentials towards that which maximizes them, then we will lose out” he said.
The event which drew participants from across the socio political divides featured the presentation of awards to 10 young entrepreneurs who submitted their profiles for scrutiny and voting by the public.
A special recognition award was also presented to the wife of the governor, Dr. Mrs. Linda Ayade.