Entrepreneurship Development Centre - Introduction

In a move geared towards confronting the nagging problems of unemployment, poverty and the rising spate of criminality amongst the youthful population in the Nigerian society, the Federal Government in the year 2006 issued the directive that Entrepreneurship education be injected into the curricular of University education and for Entrepreneurship Study Centres (ESCs) to be established to co-ordinate the offering of entrepreneurship education courses to ALL undergraduate students effective from 2006/2007 academic session. Following the directive, the National Universities Commission (NUC) came up with Guidelines for the establishment of Entrepreneurship study Centres in the Universities” and in April 2011 issued the “Bench mark Minimum Academic Standards for Undergraduate programmes in Nigerian Universities-GST Entrepreneurship’’. The establishment of ESCs serve the purpose of complimenting the theoretical aspect by putting theory into practice. 


According to the NUC guidelines for the establishment of ESCs (2011): “An Entrepreneurship Study Centre is a place in the University where motivated students are encouraged and supported in launching and successfully growing an enterprise with the aim of promoting self employment”. It is a Centre that provides full range of business education and support services for the students and general university community in one convenient location. The NUC BMAS designates two benchmark courses- course 1, the theoretical aspect and course 2-the practical (vocational skills) aspect. In compliance with the NUC BMAS, entrepreneurship education was introduced in the Rivers State University in the 2011/2012 academic session starting with the teaching of theoretical aspects, EDC 211- Introduction to Entrepreneurship studies. Teaching of the practical aspects, EDC310 (Entrepreneurial practice) commenced in the 2016/2017 academic session following the establishment of the Entrepreneurship Development Centre in February 2016.

Objective Of The Unit

In a bid to achieve the mission of the Centre of empowering trainees to be able to establish and run their own businesses within their respective disciplines or preferred fields of endeavours as entrepreneurs, the objectives of the Centre include;
  • Enhance the capacity of potential and practicing entrepreneurs, who are desirous to learn practical skills that will make them self-employed and self dependent
  • Provide available infrastructural and support services to prospective and practising entrepreneurs
  • Make employers of labour in Rivers State University graduates and assist in eradicating unemployment in Nigeria
  • Collaborate with individuals, groups and organisations in providing entrepreneurial services for the University Community and its public
  • Provision of market linkages
  • Mentoring of Small and Medium scale enterprises and offering supportive services.
  • Promote awareness of entrepreneurship needs and opportunities
  • Expose students and trainees to entrepreneurship theory and practice
  • Enable students and trainees to acquire entrepreneurial knowledge, attitude and skills

List Of Staff Data

NameRankArea Of SpecialisationEmail
Prof. Bariyima D. KiabelProfessor/DirectorAccountingKiabel.bariyima@ust.edu.ng
Owabie NgoziAdmin Officer IINgoziowabie3@gmail.com
Akiniwor IhuomaData Processing OfficerIhuomaakaniwor1@gmail.com

Duties And Responsibilities Of The Centre

The main activities of the Centre includes:

  • Coordination and teaching the practical aspects of entrepreneurship
  • Coordinating practical demonstration in selected entrepreneurship fields
  • Undertaking community and capacity building initiatives on entrepreneurship

As part of its mandate, the Centre is expected to organise events and workshops in respect of the following:

  • Business creation/entrepreneurship
  • Business growth
  • Access to quality employment
  • Human Capital development and management
  • Digital training and dissemination
  • Lectures and conferences
  • Entrepreneurship day to show-case Centre products
  • Entrepreneurship fair, annually

The Centre is also mandated to organize lectures and conferences as well as engaging on research activities that will bring about discovery of new developments of products and information economy.

Administrative Structure Of The Centre

The Centre has a Director at the helm of affairs. The Director, who must be appointed by the Vice-Chancellor, make reports to the Vice-Chancellor directly. The Director, working in concert with the following management structure should provide the leadership and management of the Centre:
  • An advisory Board to be chaired by the Vice Chancellor should be constituted to set direction and management control of the Centre. The Board shall be composed of a member from each of the faculties. Appointment into the Board shall be made by the Vice-Chancellor on the recommendation of the Deans of Faculty with a tenure of two years only.
  • There shall be two co-ordinators with clearly specified functions. The co-ordinators who shall be appointed by the Vice Chancellor reports to the Director.
  • A core professional staff (in the field of Entrepreneurship) shall be employed by the Centre and shall not be University staff. The Board shall appoint the core staff, determine the salaries and shall set the terms of employment subject to the approval of the University Governing Council. The Governing Council on the recommendation of the Vice Chancellor shall determine the relationship and emolument of University staff other than core staff of the Centre participating in the activities of the Centre.


The Entrepreneurship Development Centre is currently under the headship of Prof. B. D Kiabel, a Professor of Accounting, Department of Accountancy, Rivers State University, Portharcourt. Prof. Kiabel joined the Department of Accountancy in November 1990 as a Graduate Assistant and rose to the rank of Professor in August 2015. He was first appointed Head of Department in February 2006 – a position he held up to September 2007. Between November 2007 and March 2008 he served as post-graduate coordinator in the Department. In March 2008, he was re appointed Ag. Head of the Department. Prof. Kiabel had at various times also served as Departmental Examination Officer: Member, Faculty Examination Malpractice Committee: Departmental CCE Programme Co-ordinator; Faculty Examination Officer; Member, Faculty results Committee; Chairman, Faculty Quality Assurance committee; Member, Senate Business Committee; as well as Member and Chairman (at different times) of various University ad-hoc Committees.

Prof. Kiabel received his doctorate in accounting in 2007 from the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, PortHarcourt. He was the first to be awarded a PhD degree in Accountancy from the Rivers State University and the pioneer Professor of Accounting in the Department. In addition to teaching auditing and taxation at both the undergraduate and post graduate levels, Prof. Kiabel has been actively involved in teaching accounting principle to various levels of students both from within and outside the Faculty of Management Sciences. His research interest covers the areas of auditing, taxation and financial accounting.

Prof. Kiabel has published a total of eight textbooks in the areas of financial accounting, taxation, auditing and research methodology. He has written several journal articles in accounting and related business fields that appeared in publications including Journal of Taxation and Economic Development, Journal of Global Accounting, Journal of Accounting, Finance and Investments, the Nigerian Accountant; Nigerian Business and Social Review; International Journal of Economic and Development Issues; The Asian Economic Review; Nigerian Journal of Management Sciences; Journal of Business Studies; Journal of Contemporary Research; European Journal of Economics, Finance and Administrative Sciences; European Journal of Social Sciences; The American Journal of Scientific Research; Research Journal of Finance and Accounting; International Scientific Journal and many others. Prof. Kiabel was an Editor of the Journal of Accounting Sciences, published by Oxford Mosiac publication, Oxfordshire, England and currently on the Editorial Board of a good number of National journals.


Before joining the Department of Accountancy in 1990, Prof. Kiabel worked as a Trainee accountant in the firm of Allwell Brown and Co (Chartered Accountants). He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), full member, Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered) (NIM), Associate member, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) and Member, Institute of Entrepreneurs, Nigeria.

In February 2016 when the Entrepreneurship Development Centre, Rivers State University was established, he was appointed Director of the Centre-a position he has held till date.


The philosophy of the EDC is anchored on the belief that entrepreneurship training will equip students with the knowledge, skills, attitude and motivation that would enable them to achieve entrepreneurial successes while they are undergraduates and after graduation. Entrepreneurship training should impart both theoretical and practical knowledge on the individual student, develop self confidence and equip them to be innovative and self-reliant.   


The major activity of the EDC is the co-ordination and teaching of the practical aspects of entrepreneurship. The practical field programme commenced in the second semester, 2016/2017 academic session. The vocational skills training concentrated on the following areas from which students chose a skill of interest:

Horticulture; poultry; piggery; snail production; bakery; aquaculture; cloth dyeing/textile making; fruit juice extraction/bottling; honey production and bacon production; public speaking/ analysis, preferably for students in the faculty of agriculture; Plumbing; domestic electrical wiring; brick-making, metal work/fabrication; ceramic production; refrigeration and air-conditioner maintenance, public speaking/analysis, brick making; landscaping, feasibility studies/project appraisals; housing/estate development; GSM mask distribution and configuration; public speaking preferably for engineering and environmental sciences students; Outreach legal services, street law/pro-bono services; legal drafting; photography/media coverage; interior decoration, public speaking preferably for law students; Production of scouring powder for washing of plates, pots and kitchen sink; cloth dyeing/textile making; car wash production, toilet cleaner; glass cleaner; antiseptic disinfectant; air freshener, website design and public speaking for science students; Electrical wiring; metal works/fabrication; basic computer training/maintenance; paper production; plumbing, business plan; photography/media coverage; interior decoration; Business plan; feasibility studies; photography/media coverage, website creation, film production, volunteering (placement), social media skills, public speaking for all other students in the various faculties.

Thus, the EDC had produced from among the student population fashion designers, Videographers, Welders, Seasoned Caterers, students with skills in Interior and Exterior decoration, Brick Making, Fabrication works, Website Creation, Soap Making, Photography, Domestic Electrical Wiring, Refrigerator and Air Conditioner Repairs, Plumbing, GSM Repairs, Poultry, Fisheries, Landscaping, Public Speaking etc. The practical skills training programme is offered by all undergraduate students across faculties in the second semester of their third year except for the Faculty of Science which offers the course in the first semester also at the 300 level.   

The vocational skills training programme of the Centre is being facilitated by a private sector company – Entrepreneurship and Innovation Centre Ltd (E & I). E & I is a company that specializes in business incubation; Entrepreneurship training/development and skills acquisition. University management, on behalf of the Centre, signed a “Contract of Agreement” with the company specifically for the company to provide: (1)Entrepreneurial skills training; 2) Business development services; (3)Access to finance markets, technical competence and linkages; and (4) IGR for the University.  Thus, the EDC through its collaboration with E & I Centre Ltd implements the Entrepreneurship training and practical vocational skills programme of the Centre. It is worth pointing out that engagement of the private sector company is in line with the NUC BMAS for undergraduate programme in Nigerian Universities – GST Entrepreneurship (2011) which requires the practical aspects to be taught by “guest lecturers and successful business persons within the vicinity of the University’’.

Despite the vocational skills training from which our students had benefited, truth must be told that a good number of them, on graduation, are unlikely to eke out a living as entrepreneurs. Many are likely to look for paid employment in the labour market. However, as it is the case with most Nigerian graduates, entering the job market after completing a University degree can be a challenging task, especially in the current competitive global economic context. To improve our students’ chances of getting the desired job, he/she must be equipped not only with the technical competences (i.e., the hard skills acquired in his chosen career) but also the “Soft Skills” that are critical to succeed in the global market place. Soft skills, also known as non-technical competences or employability skills, are skills that characterizes traits or interpersonal aptitudes that affect one’s ability to work and interact with others. From experience, fresh graduates seeking employment in most reputable organizations are exposed to aptitude test and interviews. These tests and interview sessions are designed around soft skills which these graduates, in most cases, were not exposed to in the course of their training in school. It is for this reason that the EDC, effective from the 2019/2020 academic session shifted focus to making our graduates more competitive in the labour market through enhancing their employability skills. These skills which are taught alongside the existing vocational skills training include: Public Speaking, Team work, Adaptability, Conflict Management, Creativity, Work Ethics, Leadership, Attention to detail, Business Etiquette, Presentation skills, Emotional Intelligence.

The teaching of these skills is handled by practicing entrepreneurs and other resource persons sourced from the private sector by our Partners at the Centre the Entrepreneurship and Innovation (E&I) Centre Ltd. It is our hope at the EDC that the acquisition of soft skills by our students would make them to be job-ready and adapt to the economic reality of the society seamlessly after graduation.


The prospects of the Centre, designed to be self sustained, are bright. Apart from the students training, the activities of the Centre shall be business-wise. The Centre should operate a bakery, car wash, fashion design outfit to produce hat, bags, leather work, shoes, beads, wire necklace etc. All items produced should be commercialized and sold for income to the Centre. It  should also produce all the exercise note books for the primary, secondary and students at the University level. The Centre’s photographic, film and documentary unit should cater for all the photographic, film and documentaries of the university. Same should be true of the printing and publication press Unit to be established under the Centre. The Centre’s bakery unit should produce all the breads and confectionary requirement within the university and her environs. As a business outfit, the Centre collaborates with government agencies and business organizations in income-yielding ventures. The Centre should produce the school uniforms for pupil and students in the University primary and secondary schools respectively. Already, a proposal had been sent to the University for the establishment of an RSU FASHION VILLAGE to be domiciled at the EDC Complex. The proposed project which is designed to provide employment for our undergraduate students and, indeed, our graduates and Rivers youths in the Fashion/Design Industry was actually motivated by the very high interest shown by our student trainees in this skill-set over the past five years of running the practical entrepreneurship training programme. An RSU FASHION VILLAGE when established would fulfill the following objectives:

i) To promote teaching and learning for students and the RSU community; ii) As an income stream for the University and sustainable livelihood skill for the students; iii) Develop fashion designers which would include youths, young women and people living with disabilities; iv) Bring about more participation of youths and graduates in fashion design and garments production; v) Provide training and immediate employment for qualified tailors to start working and earning an income; vi) Participants can move to owning major fashion and design outfits and become employers of labour. Vii) Inspire youths to find fashion and design a profitable and lucrative venture.

Happily, there is a ready facility at the Tetfund-sponsored Entrepreneurship Development Centre complex – a 300 – sitting capacity Hall-that could be utilized to house this project. An RSU FASHION VILLAGE project has the potential to provide our students/graduates and, indeed, Rivers youths with fashion skills that would engender mass production of clothing for industries, individuals and schools. Our Staff School and the International Secondary School will have all school uniforms made at the fashion village. Individuals who usually travel to Aba to have their clothes sown would probably have to cut cost and getting the same value for their money here. The RSU FASHION VILLAGE promises to be a viable project that would not only enhance teaching and learning but would also shore up our University’s internally generated revenue.


Within its short period of existence, the Centre had been able to actualize its core mandate of students’ entrepreneurship training and practical vocational skill programme. It has also put in place the necessary structures to shore up internally generated revenue for the University. It is hoped that when the Centre building is completed, the EDC, with continued existing management support, will be better positioned to realize its vision of providing opportunities for students of the university and members of the public.  The Centre should proffer the capacity or opportunity for students to acquire and use entrepreneurial skills to help solve the problems of the Niger Delta. Besides, the region’s abundant resources would be skillfully utilized to create wealth and contribute substantially towards economic development and wealth sustenance for the nation.