23 students graduate from first Business Encounter training prog. at UG

Published Date

Published Date, Thurs, 07/01/2021
This article was taken from: https://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2021/07/01/23-students-graduate-from-first-business-encounter-training-prog-at-ug/?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=pmd_dd2b7ce3b1a50fad2b414887517e3a4730032f45-1627307865-0-gqNtZGzNAjijcnBszQeO

The University of Guyana’s Institute for Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship (UGIRIE) on Saturday, June 27, 2021, hosted a graduation ceremony for 23 students who participated in a 12-week Business Encounter Training programme. The programme, according to a UG release, served to equip the participants with the skills and competencies needed to design and establish businesses that are innovative and highly competitive.

During the virtual ceremony which was aired via Zoom, several of the participants were awarded for their innovative and cutting-edge business projects, some of which have now become household names in Guyana and will penetrate regional markets in the coming months. Those receiving awards included: Ms. Finella Martin-Lee, Messrs Michael Lewis, Nawaz Haniff, Ms. Ashli Marks, Ronaldo Venture, School of Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation, Mr. David Forde, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Ms. Farzana Baksh, School of Pharmacy, and Mr Raeburn Jones, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry/Entrepreneur, Mocha- Arcadia Multi-Purpose Cooperative.

Vice-Chancellor, XI, Prof. Paloma Mohamed Martin, in her remarks noted that the University’s Blueprint 2040 is coming alive with the implementation of the UG Institute for Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (UGIRIE) programme. She cited two areas – Innovation and Entrepreneurship – which are specific to Goals 2 and 4 of UG’s Blueprint 2040, and observed that the UGIRIE Business Encounter Training programme is a small step but a very important one in the journey towards UG realising the aspirational goals of the University’s Blueprint. The VC highlighted that UG is totally focused on creating ‘Citizen Success’. “With this initiative, it becomes more than just technical competence for our graduates, it becomes a matter of modelling for them what success, good behaviour, good values, etiquette in class and online etiquette look like. Since 60 percent of learning happens through observation, so it becomes important for facilitators and mentors to help model for and guide our young people,” Prof Martin expounded.

UGIRIE’s Founding Director and former Dean of UG’s Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Prof. Pat Francis, recalled that when the project first started it was unsure where the resources would have come from to ensure its sustainability. However, she expressed that at UG, there is a vision to support and develop young entrepreneurs as this is what is needed in Guyana, hence, all efforts were made to ensure that the project received the financial backing from various partners the greatest of which, were the partners of the Greater Guyana Initiative. Prof. Francis further noted, that the research being done as well as the courses and workshops being offered by the UGIRIE, will be streamlined as electives and will eventually find their way into the curriculum of the university following due academic process. She added, “Our students are bright; they have what it takes to be innovators. Give the young people a chance so that Guyana can move from businesses being buying and selling, to a people who are innovating and bringing in foreign exchange into the country”. “Our students must be exposed to other countries and facilities that will stimulate their ideas, so as to bridge the gap that exists…If as a nation we are going to meet the needs of the next century, we must ensure that graduates do not leave UG looking for jobs but rather, to have them graduate as innovators creating jobs. That is, they must put their talent, mental, and physical energies to work for Guyana,” Prof. Francis urged.

The UGIRIE project is a beneficiary of the Greater Guyana Initiative (GGI), which is funded by the Stabroek Block co-venturers ExxonMobil, Hess and CNOOC. The $20-billion-dollar commitment is geared at building human capacity and supporting sustainable and diversified economic growth across Guyana. The University of Guyana is one of five major partners in the initiative, and has since benefitted tremendously in several areas of academic and institutional advancement.

Mr. Matthew Scharf, Senior Public and Government Affairs Advisor at ExxonMobil Guyana noted that the company has continuously supported various UG initiatives since 2015 as they contribute to national development. Camex Restaurants Inc., Executive Director, Dr. Terrence Campbell, in his remarks acknowledged, that UG has a pivotal role to play in Guyana’s development, so consequently, the efforts by UGIRIE to share and transfer business skills with young entrepreneurs from different backgrounds are both critical and timely. International Business Consultant and Entrepreneurship Development Specialist, Ms. Yvonne Mattis, gave a detailed overview of the Business Encounter initiative. Ms. Mattis also served as the UGIRIE Workshop Programme Consultant.

UG’s Faculty of Social Sciences Dean (Designate), Dr. Paulette Henry, who has led the development of national professional standards for social work practice in Guyana, distributed the certificates to the participants. Birthed in 2019 by Prof. Francis, the initiative focuses on the upscaling of UG’s award-winning, student and staff innovation concepts which facilitate the expansion of business opportunities. Programmes and courses, the UG released added, offer practical approaches for establishing, accelerating and scaling up UGs research and innovations to businesses. Moreover, UGIRIE focuses on concepts that are gounded in good science and technology.

University of Guyana…
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The simple but significant ceremony was eloquently moderated by Deputy Vice Chancellor (Institutional Advancement), Dr. Mellissa Ifill.