Directorate for Entrepreneurship And General Studies (DE&GS) (CE&GS)
Welcome to the Directorate for Entrepreneurship And General Studies (DE&GS), National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN). The Directorate services NOUN students in Entrepreneurship and General Studies (GST) with focus on creativity, innovation and life-long learning.
The Directorate for Entrepreneurship and General Studies (DE&GS) was established on the 11th May 2017 as a Centre for Entrepreneurship and General Studies (CE&GS). Based on the activities of the Centre for the nomenclatures was changed by the University Management from Centre for Entrepreneurship and General Studies (CE&GS) to Directorate for Entrepreneurship and General Studies (DE&GS) on the 21st May 2019. First and foremost, the Directorate being an arm of the University services NOUN students are acquiring general skills that will lead to lifelong learning and employability. Secondly, the Directorate provides services for the general community through training, consultancy, and research.
Therefore, the mandate of the Directorate is to inculcate lifelong learning skills, create entrepreneurs by inculcating entrepreneurial skills, helping the students to discover their creativity and innovation, take initiative, utilise possibilities, take risk and responsibilities.
To be regarded as the foremost entrepreneurship and general study centre anchored by the university to provide sustainable entrepreneurial skills and general knowledge through comprehensive reach that exceeds all barriers.
To provide functional cost-effective flexible learning which adds life-long value to student’s entrepreneurial initiative, creativity, research, and innovation?
Explore. Develop. Deliver.
Specifically, the objectives are:
Acquisition, development, and inculcation of the proper value-orientation for the survival of an individual and society
To prepare the students for a post university life with opportunities for job creation and entrepreneurial skills.
To promote the culture of entrepreneurship among NOUN students
To identify students with creative and innovation ideas for start-ups
To produce graduates who will be capable to communicate effectively
To develop the intellectual capacities of the students to understand, appreciate, and promote peaceful co-existence.
To produce graduates with broad knowledge of the Nigerian Nation and people with a view to inculcating in them mutual understanding and patriotism
To expose graduates of National Open University of Nigeria to the rudiment of ICT for computer literacy and ability to live usefully in this ICT age
General Philosophy/ Goal
The Directorate has two main functions- to build soft skills into students by exposing them to general courses and to prepare them to be self-reliant; hence the focus on entrepreneurship and general studies. Therefore, the goals are to produce:
Graduates with some value addition over their field of study for being self-reliant.
Well-rounded, morally and intellectually capable graduates with vision and entrepreneurial skills in an environment of peace and social cohesiveness
NOUN Entrepreneurship Education and Incubation Centres
Over the years the federal government of Nigeria has floated several programmes to strengthened Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and to encourage youth in entrepreneurship. Some of such programmes are Nigerian Industrial Development Bank Ltd (NIDB), Nigerian Bank for Commerce and Industry (NBCI), Small and Medium Enterprises Equity Investment Scheme (SMEEIS), and Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YEDP) which was established on 15th March 2016. Despite the several programmes, youths have less presence in entrepreneurship and unemployment is on the increase.
To meet the need of the Nigeria society, the National Universities Commission (NUC) introduced entrepreneurship into Nigeria university curriculum. Even at that the teaching of entrepreneurship at the university level, it did not have much impact on the youth. In compliance with the NUC directive and its provision that each university has about 40% liberty to review the minimum benchmark; The National Open University of Nigeria Centre for Entrepreneurship and General Studies was upgraded to Directorate for Entrepreneurship and General Studies in 21st May 2019. With the mandate of the university, the Directorate carried out a study to identify the gaps. It was found that most university students are not interested in vocational training skills such as barbing, hair dressing, fishing, tailoring, carpentry etc rather they want opportunity where they can demonstrate their creative and innovative ideas and skills. Also, the findings revealed that the country needs creative and innovative entrepreneurs to grow the economy. Most of the corps members who acquired vocational skills during service were found not to use the skills after the service year. It was also found that most trainees who were monetary empowered through government organised skill trainings do not continue with the skill rather such monies are diverted to some other things. From the result of the interview held with some of the trainees and serving corps and those who have completed their service year, majority do not know where their ability lies. Some have the view that participating in empowerment scheme is an opportunity to share from the national cake. Therefore, what is NOUN doing differently?
Based on the findings, National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) developed a framework that gave opportunity to NOUN students to demonstrate their creative and innovative ideas. NOUN entrepreneurship prepares student entrepreneurs by taking them through entrepreneurship education and mentorship with focus on meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) towards achieving 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and beyond.
During entrepreneurship education, the students learn how to:
• Discover and direct their innate abilities for economic viability
• Improve on their creativity and innovation
• Direct their passion for their new discoveries
• Manage creativity and innovation
• Relate with other people and the society for peaceful co-existence
The student’s creative and innovative ideas are directed towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To make it manageable during enterprise idea presentations, incubation, and mentor-ship, the SDGs are grouped into four categories:
i. Well-being: This covers Goals 1, 3, 4, 5, 10 & 16
ii. Infrastructure: This covers Goals 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, & 11
iii. Natural Environment: This covers Goals 13, 14, & 15
iv. Partnership: This covers Goal 17
Students’ creative and innovative ideas are not only focused on products. It also covers social entrepreneurs and research.
In NOUN, 200 and 300 level students go through entrepreneurship education. At the last semester of 300 level, students present their enterprise ideas which is accompanied with a business plan. As at December 2019 12,502 students presented their enterprise ideas across the seven incubation centres in the country. Those with creative and innovative ideas were selected and enrolled into the incubation centres. 188 incubatees were enrolled in year 2019. This started student incubation in NOUN. The centre has both resident and non-resident incubatees. Those with creative and innovative ideas create enterprise for others to imitate or use. NOUN differentiates between a businessman and an entrepreneur.
The Directorate also renders service to non-NOUN students by:
• Training Micro, Small and Medium Entrepreneurs
• Training individuals on creative thinking and innovation
• Providing access for loan opportunities for start-ups and growth
• Providing mentor-ship for start-ups
NOUN Incubation Centres Competitive Advantage
Incubate students to start-up
Provide mentor-ship during incubation and a year follow-up after start-up
Provide equipment and facilities for practice
Active involvement in innovative research
Protect the rights of innovators
Collaboration with Industries, Research Institutes, governments and non-government agencies for guidance and mentor-ship
Guide the business registration with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)
Extends hand of fellowship to the community
Provide opportunity to all trainees (students and non-students) to obtain loan for start-up or grow their business
Provide support in business plan development
Incubation Centres are created to provide opportunity for students with creative and innovative ideas for mentorship and start-ups. The mentorship process begins once a student has been admitted into the incubation Centre. NOUN has seven incubation centres across the geo-political zones in Bogoro, Maiduguri, Kano, Abuja, Enugu, Uyo and Lagos. The admission is not limited to students with innovation in production but to all innovations including research and social entrepreneurship. There are some students who have innovative ideas that call for further research; these set of incubatees are supported by providing technical support in the research and collaborates with other bodies where contain equipment may be required for the study.
The incubation period for the students is between 1-3years. They start their incubation period at 400 level. This gives them opportunity to have a good start-up at graduation.
There are adequate documentation off admission and progress of incubates. The time of students’ graduation from the incubation period is not uniform. The incubation period varied depending on their innovation. Students’ graduation is launched with start-ups.
The post-incubation period last for one year; where the Coordinators of each Incubation Centres follow-up the graduate progress to ascertain stability before final release.
Activities in the Incubation Centres:
Educate the Incubatees
Development of innovation Idea
Business Management Process
e-Business and Digital Marketing
Statutory Agencies in Business
Writing Business Plan/ Proposal for sponsorship
Guide the business registration with Corporate Affairs Commission
Provide equipment and facilities for practice
Active involvement in innovation research
Provide expertise guidance
Protect the rights of innovators
Collaboration with industries and Research Institutes for guidance and mentorship
Collaboration with governments and non-government agencies
Students are mentored through the following methods:
One-on-one mentoring. The first mentor in this instance is the Incubation Centre Coordinator who guides the incubatees according to individual needs. Secondly, incubatees are attached to successful entrepreneurs in their areas on individual basis to guide them. Meetings are organised where they can meet one-on-one.
Group mentoring. A mentor is matched with a cohort who has similar idea. One-on-one and distance mentoring are combined to achieve this.
Distance mentoring. Mentors are sourced across the globe to mentor incubatees. This is done using both synchronous and asynchronous techniques. The synchronous is done virtually using the university Learning Management System (LMS) with a schedule. For asynchronous, mails, text, and the university LMS are combined.
The centre is involved in the following mentorship types:
Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Business Creation and Growth
Events & Networks
NOUN Young Entrepreneurs Exhibitions
NOUN Young Entrepreneurs in AYE in 2017
NOUN Young Entrepreneurs in Nile University Exhibition 2018
NOUN Young Entrepreneur in Tony Elumelu Foundation, 2018
NOUN Young Entrepreneurs in Nile University Exhibition 2019
NOUN Young Entrepreneurs in AYE in 2019
NOUN Young Entrepreneurs Exhibition in NOUN H/Q 2019
NOUN Entrepreneurship Summit
Set up seven Incubation Centres. At least one in each geographical zone.
Developed entrepreneurship education model that brings interaction among the Directorate, students, faculty, industry, and agencies.
Developed platform for virtual entrepreneurship education and practice.
Have 188 incubatees that are been mentored and followed up at different levels as at 2019.
Have successfully changed the entrepreneurial mind set of the students. Most of the students now think entrepreneurially irrespective of their course of study. Many have testified to this. We have few video clips in the gallery.
Two of the students received awards. Bosede Alabi in 2018 received one-million-naira award from Tony Elumelu Foundation as start up for her business plan and in 2019, Obinna F. Nwanuo received an award of proficiency in Digital Media and Entertainment at the Nile University Entrepreneurship Fair. It was given by the Director of Abuja Enterprise Agency.
The university through the directorate has been engaged by NIRSAL as Entrepreneurship Development Institute
Records of students’ diversification of creative and innovative ideas by given them opportunity to present their business ideas and participate in entrepreneurship fair.
Mentor-ship and follow up of trainees with creative and innovative ideas.
Two students’ product launch awaiting NAFDAC certification
Started with 8 staff and now 70 staff in the Directorate.
For further information, please contact:
Prof. Inegbedion Juliet O.
Director, Directorate for Entrepreneurship and General Studies
- GST 101 – Use of English and Communication Skills I
- GST 102 – Use of English and Communication Skills II
- GST 103 – Computer Fundamentals
- GST 104 – Use of Library
- GST 105 – History and Philosophy of Science
- GST 107/707/807 – A study guide for the distance learner
- GST 201 – Nigerian Peoples and Culture
- GST 202 – Fundamentals of Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution
- GST 203 – Introduction to Philosophy and Logic
- GST 204 – Entrepreneurship and Innovation
- GST301 – Entrepreneurship Studies
- GST 302 – Business Creation and Growth
Note: GST104, GST204 & GST302 start Next semester
- Cooperative Learning
- Experiential Method
- Case Study Method
- Problem Solving Scenarios
- Scenario-based Simulation
- Differentiated instruction strategies
- Project Method
- Flipped classroom
- Developing new ideas
- Defining a project
- Acquiring entrepreneurial skills/tools
- Co-creating, and solving problems
- Reflecting on consequences
- Developing new ways of action
- Virtual workshops
Method of Assessment
- Tutor Marked Assignment
- Business Plan
- Prototype of business plan
- Practical (real product or service)
Learning Competences met:
Being able to:
- Take initiative
- Communicate in different contexts
- Search and take opportunity
- Sell ideas
- Turn idea into action
- Create value added product or service