- The University College London has generated about N5 trillion for the British government while creating jobs for graduates
- The university embarks on training entrepreneurs and helping them create spinoffs and empowers them with startup capital
- One of the beneficiaries of the university's graduates said she benefited from lectures run by the institution which helped her to set up her business
While the Nigerian government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are on a stand-off, University College London has increased its financial contribution to the UK economy, especially in how it encourages graduates to create jobs.
A report commissioned by the university assesses that the institution generates close to 10 billion pounds, an equivalent of over N5 trillion every year in economic programmes from its spending of N800 million, according to the Guardian.
University makes gains equivalent to 2012 London Olympics spendings
London Economics, a consultancy firm, said that the amount is equivalent to the gain in international trade and investment delivered by the London Olympics in 2012.
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The Guardian reports that most of the N5 trillion made by the spread of the university’s research and knowledge comes from growing companies and startups like the one co-founded by Rachel Twimasi-Corson, whose firm is selling hair care products and Whole Foods in addition to exporting to more than 50 countries.
Student testifies to gains of attending business trainings by university
Rachel’s Afrocenchix has 14 employees who are nothing compared to the 19,000 jobs that the university support. Twumasi-Corson says the university is crucial to funding and supporting her business to get off the ground through a lecture she attended while she was studying medical anthropology.
She attended a lecture run by the university’s enterprise operation, which helps students with entrepreneurial activities as well as businesses with their roots outside of the university. She decided to pitch her business, Afrocenchix for a competition which is run by the university.
The entrepreneur said even though she did not win the competition, it went to great lengths to get her business firmly established.
The winning prize was N2.6 million in funding as well as office space in central London and business counsel from the university’s enterprise unit.
Twimasi-Corson said the training set her on the part of a sustainable business with employees, saying she has 12 full-time employees including 14 contractors.
Twimasi’s was just one of the 234 graduate startups that were launched in one year, from 2018-19 as well as 83 spinout firms which generated N5.5 billion in turnover while attracting N3.7 billion external investment and giving employment to 2,950 staff.
Is ASUU strike a blessing in disguise? The story of how some Nigerian students are making waves in business
Recall that Legit.ng reported that over the years, Nigerian undergraduates have been under the pain of long strike actions that are always as a result of the frictions between the government and ASUU.
Before that question is answered, a brief history of the union is necessary. According to the ASUU’s website, the union is an offshoot of the Nigerian Association of University Teachers (NAUT) which was formed in 1965. ASUU formation happened many years after in 1978. This was after the country had enjoyed the oil boom era.
Punch Newspaper reports that that ASUU went on its first strike in 1988 which was to show its displeasure over General Ibrahim Babangida's regime. That action led to their proscription in the same year. It was gathered that the body went on strike again in 1999 over bad working conditions and it lasted for more than four months.