By Izunna Okafor, Awka
Anambra State Governor, Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo, has approved the appointment of the Founder of Grand Africa Initiative (GAIN), Chinwe F. Okoli, as Special Adviser to the Governor on Innovation and Business Incubation.
The State Commissioner for Information, Sir Paul Nwosu, made this known in a statement issued to newsmen on Monday.
According to him, Okoli holds a Bachelors Degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and a Masters Degree in Public Policy and Management from the University of London, United Kingdom, as well as a Diploma in Management of Higher Education Institutes from the Galilee International Management Institute, Galilee, Israel.
Telling more on the profile of the Soludo’s latest appointee, Sir Nwosu also revealed that she has received extensive local and international training and is experienced in the following areas: public policy design and assessment; managing high-level business relationships; liaising between governments and the private sector, academia and networks; design set-up and management of physical/digital innovation hubs; science parks; co-working spaces; innovation districts; angel investment networks/fund and thriving innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems.
He said: “Her trainings include: Business Incubation (Facebook, Lagos and Silicon Valley, California, U.S.A); Business Acceleration (African Development Bank, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia); Angel Investment (African Business Angels Network – ABAN – Nigeria); Fundamentals of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation IASP – in Iran and France); and Design, Structure, Set-up and Management of Science Parks, Innovation Hubs and Open Innovation Districts (Ideon SciencePark, Sweden).
“She served as the Manager of the first university-embedded innovation hub in Nigeria located at University of Nigeria, Nsukka where she co-designed, and implemented the business structure, curriculum, and full startup incubation programme. She identified and coached students and youths who mostly had zero business ideas to develop competitive startup businesses.
“She also served as the pioneer Manager of the First University-embedded Science Park in Nigeria called Lion Science Park, located within the University of Nigeria and focused on research commercialization and business acceleration.
“As a thought leader on youth development, innovation and entrepreneurship, she has contributed her knowledge and experience as a resource person at summit level forums such as the Heads of State and Government Summit of Organization of Africa, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) held in Nairobi in 2019 as well as West and Central Africa knowledge-sharing event hosted by the EU and OACPS member States in Senegal which resulted in the Dakar Declaration and several other high-level policy influencing discussions.
“She has participated and served a Guest Speaker/Resource Person at global events in Nigeria, Sweden, Iran, Ethiopia, France, United States, Senegal, Kenya, United Kingdom, and Turkey.
“Chinwe Okoli is the Founder of Grand Africa Initiative (GAIN), an Africa-focused non-governmental organization enabling African youths through training, mentorship, and support to develop and harness their unique ideas, talents, and abilities for success in education, entrepreneurship, and innovation. Within the last three years, GAIN through its programmes and trainings has reached over one million (1,000,000) African youths in over 90 countries.
“She served as the Technical Assistant to Professor C.C Soludo at the Presidential Economic Advisory Council, Nigeria.
“Passionate about youth, women and Africas development, she played a key role in championing the South Africa-Nigeria Youth Dialogue aimed at promoting integration, peace, entrepreneurship, innovation and social cohesion among the youths of both countries.
“She co-anchored the summit-level launch of the South Africa-Nigeria Youth Dialogue with Nigerias Minister of Foreign Affairs in December 2021. The event was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa.
“Chinwe F. Okoli is the author of two books: The Ladder to Academic Excellence and A Daunting Odyssey.”