History of COCES
Chike Okoli Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies (COCES) is a brainchild of Chike Okoli Foundation, established in 2007 in partnership with Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka with an aim to provide practical, skill-based and focused with problem solving orientation through business incubation and mentorship. At inception, the Centre started operation from Dr Raymond
Obieri Building. Thereafter, the Chairman of Chike Okoli Foundation, Dr Stella Okoli, OON, built a magnificent edifice for the Centre in their permanent site which was commissioned in 2011 and donated to the University. Consequently, COCES relocated to their permanent site.
It is important to state that the Centre being proactive, commenced entrepreneurial studies shortly before the Federal Ministry of Education (FME) gave a directive through the National Universities Commission (NUC), mandating all tertiary institutions in the country to offer entrepreneurship programme and establish an entrepreneurial Centre. Hence, while some other tertiary institutions were trying to obey the mandate, Unizik was consolidating what has already commenced on a strong footing.
Ever since then, the Centre has continued to expand. A story building in collaboration with TETFund was erected in 2017 for the Centre which now accommodates workshops and laboratories for the various skills/training hosted by COCES. The COCES facilities and environment have continued to be a delight to all and a pride of the University. The buildings are connected by pedestrian walkway and well grassed lawns with beautiful landscaping. Part of the facilities of the Centre include an expansive auditorium hall, air-conditioned offices and classrooms, laboratories, workshops, library, COCES kitchen, 250kVA standby generator for regular power supply, etc.
Chike Okoli Centre for Entreprenural Centre has become a reference Centre (recognized by the Nigerian Universities Commission) where other Universities visit to generate ideas that will assist them in setting up and running their individual centres effectively. In this regard, COCES has mentored Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Benue State University, Makurdi and Paul University, Awka
Philosophy of COCES
Chike Okoli Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies believes that by engaging Unizik Undergraduates and COCES external students in quality entrepreneurial studies, it will set in them the right mindset that will transform them from ‘take-a-job mentality’ into ‘make-a-job mentality’. The
Centre is committed to developing marketable skills through quality training which can easily be mainstreamed into economic activities in Nigeria and beyond. The Centre provides a solid framework for manpower development, self motivated and reliant entrepreneurs and places a
high premium on the quality of staff deployed, events organized and facilities used for its various courses, workshops, trainings, as well as certification and diploma programmes.
To be the foremost Entrepreneurial Centre in Africa that provides comprehensive and highly qualitative entrepreneurial training.
To provide for Unizik undergraduates and COCES external students people from the immediate community entrepreneurial education, trainings and skills which will enable them successfully start, manage, and expand micro, small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs), thereby become self-reliant and create jobs, instead of job seekers.
The Centre runs a two years diploma programme through which students are prepared to be self-reliant through the acquisition of skills which add value to the Society. The diploma programme prepares student for the degree programmes. In addition to the diploma programme, the centre runs short-term Certificate courses in specific skill areas like bag making, bead making, wire works and confectionery, among others. Since 2008/2009, the Centre has been in charge of the University Wide General Studies Course, ENT200: Entrepreneurial education and new venture creation. This course is taken by all 200level students of the university. As an Entrepreneurial Centre, (COCES) ensures that students of acquire utility skills in the preparation of business plans and project execution.
Objectives of COCES
- To develop quality entrepreneurial skills and knowledge amongst Unizik students’ and external COCES students which in turn will make them wealth creators.
- To enhance the employ-ability of Unizik graduates of the various technical skill courses by providing them with high quality and industry driven training.
- To offer supportive programmes/courses to SMEs owners.
- To utilize the Centre’s resources for community development initiatives and collaborative partnerships.
- To provide trainings through conferences, seminars, workshops etc, in the area of entrepreneurship and career awareness.
- To establish opportunities for Unizik students and COCES external students to interact, relate and partner with prominent practitioners in relevant entrepreneurial areas.
- To provide market linkages, collaboration and partnership with institutions and funding agencies
- To offer short certificate courses and Diploma in various entrepreneurial training and