The Special Adviser to the Governor on Innovation and Business Incubation, Ms. Chinwe Okoli, delivered a Keynote at the 5th International Conference and Exhibition for Science, Technology, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship (FAPSCON 2023) held at Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam Campus, on 4th October 2023. Students were awarded Mr Governor’s Prize for Young Innovators.
The conference was chaired by the Commissioner for Industry, Anambra State Mr. Christian Udechukwu. In his opening remarks, Mr. Udechukwu emphasized the University's commitment to nurturing students in both knowledge and character. He urged students to contribute innovative ideas to the body of knowledge before graduating, underlining the importance of graduating as innovators with integrity. He also highlighted the collaborative relationship between the government, industry, and academia, stating that this conference serves as a bridge. He further reiterated the Governor's mandate to support local manufacturing and innovation through the "Made in Anambra Project” and the significance of harnessing the finest ideas emerging from the University for commercialization in partnership with the private sector.
Ms. Chinwe Okoli delivered a keynote speech on the topic ‘Breaking Barriers to Innovation, Local Manufacturing and Technology Development in Nigeria” Shedding light on critical barriers to innovation and technology in Nigeria, she pointed out that one of the most significant barriers is the lack of awareness of opportunities innovation and technology presents Ms. Okoli explained the link between innovation, technology, and local manufacturing, emphasizing their potential impact on Anambra State and Nigeria as a whole. She outlined the Governor, Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo’s commitment to transforming Anambra into the creative and digital capital of Nigeria. “The Solution Innovation District will become the Silicon Valley of the East. Mr. Governor has designated the current government house to become the permanent site of the SID when the Governor relocates to the new government house next year. Mr. Governor has set up a well-equipped SID center in Awka which has a digital skills lab, robotics lab, co-working space, steady power, and internet access. Our mandate is to activate, build, and scale the innovation ecosystem in the State. We offer digital skill training and services, incubate start-ups, and train innovative SMEs in Anambra State” Okoli stated. Ms. Okoli encouraged attendees to acknowledge the barriers to innovation but always focus on possible solutions. She stated that the university needs to be a hub of smart ideas such that students graduate with both their certificates and the innovative businesses they founded.
The conference concluded with the announcement of the winners of the "Mr. Governor Prize for Young Scientists and Future Innovators." This competition, open to secondary schools, recognized exemplary inventors, innovators, and tangible technological products. The winning schools and their inventions are as follows:
First position was Regina Pacis Model Secondary School, Onitsha who invented a Gas Leakage Detector; Second position was, Choice De Immaculate Demonstration, Obosi, and they invented a Speech Vibrator for the Deaf; and the third position which was a tie were Deeper Life High School, Nteje who invented a Robot to Stop Moving Vehicles from Obstacles and Divine British School that invented Phototherapy Machine for Jaundice.
These remarkable achievements exemplify the innovative potential of Anambra State's youth and their dedication to advancing technology and entrepreneurship and Mr Governor is very committed to supporting Anambra innovators to scale through the Solution Innovation District.
Dignitaries in attendance include Lady Ada Chukwudozie who was ably represented by Mr Ajimijaye Silas Omomehin of the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board, MD OMAA Motos, Mr Chinedu Oguegbu among others. They were warmly welcomed by the university management and representatives: Prof. Mathias Ananti, DVC Administrator, Prof. Osita Chiaghanam, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC) Academics, Sir Chris Obi, Registrar, Dr. Nath Udezo, Bursar, Prof. K.K. Nwozor, Dean of Physical Sciences, Dr. E. Onyema Iloh, Sub-Dean of Physical Sciences among others.
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