BIODEC Owode Coordinator Dr. Henry Oshagbemi explains Bio-Entrepreneurship as a process of value creation from life science innovation otherwise illustrated as bioscience entrepreneurship, life science entrepreneurship or bioscience enterprise.
It was a memorable day on February 5, 2019 for over 150 lucky participants selected from all nooks and crannies of Ogun State for a three-day special training programme that would impact lives.
The training was tagged BIODEC Owode Special Programme for Entrepreneurship and Development (BIOSPEED) organised by the National Biotechnology Development Agency, Bio Resources Development Centre (BIODEC) Owode-Yewa, Ogun State.
The programme comprised Bio Enterprises Training and Capacity Building for Bio-Entrepreneurs; Entrepreneur Development at BIODEC Owode; and Training and Entrepreneurship Development at TIC Owode.
Bio-resources are biological in origin or nature such as agriculture, forestry or biological derived wastes while biotechnology has to do with controlled and deliberate manipulation of biological systems (living cells or cell components) for the efficient manufacture or processing of useful products.
He said that whatever the description, the fundamental notion is about moving a life science discovery or invention from the research phase through development to a commercial market.
“In simpler term, it is a process of creating value from various bio-resources available in Ogun State that are capable of boosting individual economy through small-scale bio-enterprises businesses,” he said.
The BIODEC Owode Coordinator explained that BIOSPEED was designed to improve the standard of living of the people of the South West in general and Yewa land of the Ogun State in particular through adequate empowerment with the attendant benefits of job and wealth creation through various Bio-enterprises.
The bio-enterprises training courses were grouped into three categories. Category A (Bio-Enterprises) consisting of fresh water fish production, poultry production, Giant paw paw production, Macro production of breadfruits, Plantain and Banana.
Category B (Enterprises) comprised Soap making, Mushroom production, Food formulation and production, Bio-insecticide production and Bio-enterprises establishment and management.
Category C (Enterprises) was made up of Breadfruit processing, Fish processing technology, Zobo wine production and processing, Laundry Starch production and processing, Bio-enterprises establishment and management.
Oshagbemi explained that the essence of the special programme was to empower youths, market women, farmers and pensioners of the South West through effective utilisation and development of bio-resources available in the region; to create wealth and job opportunities for youths and women of Ogun State; to promote application of biotechnological tools to farming culture of Ogun State and to promote establishment of small –scale bio-enterprises businesses.
Speaking on the importance of the training, he explained that the bio-entrepreneurship programme of BIODEC Owode was a timely intervention of NABDA to bring the gains of biotechnology closer to the people at the grassroots to complement Federal Government’s efforts at addressing economic recession currently plaguing the country.
He said that the BIOSPEED programme was aimed at developing entrepreneurial mindset in all participants to stimulate their interest in various bio-enterprises of which they have comparative advantage and to underscore notable advantages of bio-enterprises which include:
Creation of employment opportunities by generating more jobs for the masses.
- To help develop indigenous management skills capable of running the bio-enterprises effectively.
- To create products for export and foreign exchange earnings.
- To develop inputs for larger industries to use to further produce new products.
- To help revive our rich bio-resources which are already going into extinction thereby popularising their usefulness.
- To help generate wealth with the attendant benefits of reducing poverty level in Ogun State.
- To help in curbing social vices (crimes) among youths as they shall be empowered for the establishment of bio-enterprises of their choice through BIOSPEED and
- To create cooperate efforts among participants as an avenue for accessing credit facilities from Agricultural Development Bank and other related institutions.
Prof. Biodun Solomon, former NABDA DG had in his keynote address entitled, “Bio Resources Development As A Catalyst for Sustainable Agriculture Production in Nigeria,” spoke on the role of agriculture in the development of the economy.
Prof. Biodun Solomon said that the country’s economy is worth much more than what crude oil could offer, adding that the establishment of the agency was borne out of the need to develop the biological resources of the nation for use in agriculture, nutrition and industry.
He said that Nigeria is blessed with rich biological resources enough to steer the economy from oil and whose vast exploitation would ensure economic uplift of the country and urged participants to make good use of the opportunity to garner skills that would better their lots in life.
Prof. Alex Akpa, Acting Director-General/CEO, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), had in an address said that a programme like BIOSPEED would not have come at a better time than now when our country is battling with recession as a result of over-dependence on crude oil.
He advised participants to be very attentive and committed to learning so that at the end of the training they can make their own contribution to make Nigeria a better place.
Hon. Isiaq Abiodun Akinlade who facilitated the establishment of BIODEC Owode and the all-important training expressed joy at the successes that had so far recorded by the centre. He pledged to continue to use his knowledge and connection to bring more development to Owode-Yewa and environs. He urged the participants to take the training serious as agriculture is the key profession of the people.
On display were BIODEC Owode’s bio-products such as breadfruit powder, sobo wine, starch, mosquito killer, liquid and solid soaps, and bio-insecticides, chilly pepper extracts, among others.
Participants were taken round the centre to have a look at various units of the centre such as fish ponds, poultry farms and processing technologies.
Those participants who spoke on the programme wished that it would not be a one off thing but should be conducted from time to time.
They also called on all other centres throughout the federation to emulate BIODEC Owode in embarking on such training programmes to empower the people to take charge of their lives and improve their lots.