• Tuesday, March 05, 2024
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BusinessDay

‘More needs to be done to promote entrepreneurship’

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Olumurewa Odunjo, president/CEO, LS Scientific, in this interview with the Start-Up Digest team, provides an insight on science and engineering services, and highlights challenges facing the industry and entrepreneurship growth in Nigeria

How did you come about LS Scientific?

Having worked in the industry for about (8) eight years with industry leaders like Thermo Fisher UK and VWR International UK as Export Manager & Key Account Manager, I felt a need to move back to Nigeria in 2007 and set up a Business in this field in order to bring new technology and innovation to Nigeria in the area of Scientific’s study with a full support from my former employer. That was the year LS Scientific was conceived and registered as a limited company both in Nigeria and United Kingdom

What would you say is the strength and major contribution of LS Scientific in its industry?

The key strength of LS Scientific is mainly innovation, quality and competiveness of Products / Services and the major contribution is the knowledge Transfer in the area of various application in scientific study including Water testing Methods, Distillation, Titration methods, effective safety methods, Nitrogen, CO2 and protein determination and so on for manufacturing companies thereby increasing their efficiency and improving the quality of products being promoted in the Nigerian Environment

How would you rate the industry in which you operate, especially when compared to similar industries across the globe?

The industry is very detailed and knowledge oriented one as there is zero tolerance to errors because the result could lead to intense danger including outbreak of diseases, death and legal issues. Also it the basis of initial studies of all products before they are manufactured and during manufacturing thereby making it the foundation for innovation in the world. Without scientific studies being a key factor, we will not have seen the advancement of technology across the world.

Although Africa accounts for 13.4% of the world’s population it produces only 1% of the scientific knowledge. Why do you think Africa is lagging behind in scientific knowledge?

The reason for this has to do with the foundation for the preparation of new scientists, laboratory technicians, microbiologists, and chemists as the courses are not well promoted within our Universities and research institutes which is a result of inadequate funding by the necessary authorities. Also, the fact that even in the private sector, scientific study is not given utmost priority which has led to a lot of brain drain from the continent to the western countries where you see manufacturing companies spend up to 25% of their revenue on R&D

What can be done to fill this gap?

There needs to be increased focus on sciences, research by the necessary authorities in the area of Budget Allocation for all public institutions and also private sectors need to be well educated and constant training for their employers on new innovative scientific methods for the purpose of improving quality of their products and product range

What is your guiding philosophy as an entrepreneur?

My philosophy has always been “people empowerment” that is why my organisation has been adding value to its employees and also customers across the country

Is Nigeria really supportive of entrepreneurship growth?

Nigeria is a fast growing country with immense opportunities and natural resources. In as much as our Government is doing much, more needs to be done to promote entrepreneurship growth.

What recommendations do you have for entrepreneurship development in the Country?

There needs to be special interest rates and special taxation bracket for entrepreneurs spearheaded by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) respectively. There also needs to be constant promotion of the focus on the Entrepreneurship by the Trade & Commerce Ministry as jobs available to people is still far below the demand due to our growing population. So if people have special skills and wish to embark on the entrepreneur path, there needs to be total support from our Government.

Where do you want LS Scientific to be in the next decade?

I would like to take LS Scientific from a company that does not only import some of the new products (Chemicals, Glass ware and Instruments) to one that does the 100% manufacturing of these lines in Nigeria and exporting the expertise to neighboring African countries within the next decade.