Palm Leaves

EKSU Chancellor, Olowolafe introduces N1bn innovation fund for undergraduates

May 22, 2024 | 5:25 AM Technology

The Chancellor, Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, Dr Tunji Olowolafe, has announced a N1 billion innovation fund designed to empower agro-tech companies founded by present graduands and students of the institution.

Dr Olowolafe announced this at the 28th convocation ceremony of EKSU held 3rd and 4th of April 2024 while also thanking the visitor of the university and Governor of Ekiti State, Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji, for finding him worthy to be appointed as Chancellor.

He said, “The one billion naira Innovation Fund is designed to empower agro-tech companies founded by present graduands and students of our great Ekiti State University.

“The general discussion in Nigeria is about cost of living and food security. All of us eat. But many of us do not spend time to think about what we eat, how it is produced and how did it get to our tables. These are very important questions.”

In his address, which dwelled on the need for students and academic staff to imbibe the culture of diversity and engage in food production efforts, Dr. Olowolafe also harped on the vast potential of agriculture and its essential role in the growth of the nation’s economy.

He said, “My passion lies in nurturing inclusive and sustainable growth within our local communities. Agriculture stands as the backbone of our nation, and it is here that I see the greatest potential for innovation and economic prosperity.

“As we give awards to the best academic students, we can also give awards to the best agro entrepreneurs on campus. Some can do grains while others do vegetables. Some can do poultry while others can do fisheries. Some can even do logistics whilst others do apps.”

Dr. Olowolafe noted that the EKSU campus is located on very fertile land, thus, he added, “Let us see how we can optimise the use of this land for agricultural purposes. Each student can lease a small plot of land for production. As we learn to pass our exams, we can also use these farms to eat and earn a living. There is no age or gender restriction.”

A trained medical doctor, successful businessman, and philanthropist, Dr Olowolafe said, “Our work does not stop with agriculture. I believe in harnessing the untapped potential of our youth, particularly in fields like business process outsourcing. This sector presents a world of opportunity for our graduates, especially those from Ekiti State University to immediately contribute to the global economy. To this end, I am excited to create a platform for 100 of the brightest minds from our esteemed institution to engage in meaningful, sustainable work that challenges them and grows their skills.”

The Chancellor also announced the establishment of a new program designed to offer support and subsidies for up to 30 academic staff members, which he said is aimed at facilitating their participation in international conferences, training sessions, and research activities.

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