By Alfred Fornah
The Connecting Diaspora for Development (CD4D) Participants on Friday 5th October concluded a one day workshop on post CD4D Program in Sierra Leone.
The event which took place at the newly established Strategic Entrepreneurship Program (SEP) start Hub at the Institute of Advanced Management and Technology ( IAMTECH) in Freetown attracted senior lecturers from Milton Margai College of Education and Technology (MMCET), IAMTECH, Civil Service Training College (CSTC) and Ernest Bai Koroma (EBK) University.
Speaking at the event, Abubakarr Bangura who is one of the active participants of the CD4D Program said the aim of the workshop is to bring together key stakeholders from the various CD4D selected educational Institutions to develop a concept note on post CD4D; focussing on developing business incubators at CD4D educational institutions in Sierra Leone. The incubators will serve as inspiring venues for practicalizing entrepreneurship mind-set of students and advancing youth start-ups as a way of contribution to decent job opportunity for students and youth as formulated in the New Direction of HE President Julius Maada Bio.
Dr Michael Wundah, Principal of IAMTECH in his statement commended Mr Abubakarr Bangura and the other participants for their effort towards the effective implementation of the CD4D program. “On behalf of IAMTECH, we are gratified for this laudable program, the CD4D has registered immense progress, and that we are now celebrating a successful Project”. Whilst speaking about the need for education, he stated that the newly launched Strategic Entrepreneurship Program Start Hub can be transformed into a research centre that will not only serve IAMTECH, but also serve as inspiring place for other tertiary institutions in the country.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM’s) Project Officer for CD4D, Mr Mangeh Sesay thanked the Management of IAMTECH for embracing the Program and also reaffirmed his institution’s commitment in engaging the diaspora to contribute to national development including entrepreneurship education in the country.
Mr Joseph Lansana, Private Sector Manager of the Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA) who served as one of the Key Resource Person/ Facilitator of the workshop said that ODA has been working very hard with IOM in order to see that the program is well implemented in country. He emphasized the need to promote and advance entrepreneurship education in tertiary institutions.
Lecturers from the various participating institutions brainstormed to come up with a concept note on Business Incubator program for Universities and Tertiary institutions across the country. The concept note will be presented to heads of CD4D participating institutions and to the government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Tertiary Education. It will also be presented in the CD4D conference in The Netherlands at the end of October this year. Some lecturers from different CD4D selected academic institutions will be attending this conference. The delegation will be using the opportunity to visit business incubators at different Dutch educational institutions and lobby for support for the implementation of the incubator program in Sierra Leone. The program will play a significant role in establishing linkages with the private sector so as to provide them a platform to conduct research on innovation, market trends and consumer behaviour, etc and an opportunity to develop profitable businesses of high potential students at the targeted institutions.
CD4D is a three years program that is funded by the Dutch Government. The Project links up resources of diasporans to the needs of their countries of origin. The program which is expected to end in March 2019 is targeting five countries. For Sierra Leone, the focus is on capacity building of institutions in the education, health and Agriculture sectors. So far, 32 assignments have been conducted by Fourteen (14) dutch-Sierra Leonean experts in different tertiary institutions in the Country. The setting up of business incubators at four CD4D educational institutions is expected to serve as key followup action in the post CD4D program.
Communication Officer ODA.