Fifteen students and early career researchers from the Fiji National University (FNU) attended a three-day Uber entrepreneurial workshop in Suva.
Ubercamp workshop at FNU was conducted through a formal application process where successful applicants were selected from undergraduate and graduate students and early-career researchers to pitch their entrepreneurial ideas after successful coaching sessions by experts.
The FNU 2022 workshop is funded by the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the Fiji National University Students Association and FNU’s Research Office.
Ubercamp at FNU aimed to prepare people for a business pitch, capture the entrepreneurial mindset and explore young people’s prioritisation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). It promotes the use of technology and modern techniques while expanding and promoting new learning ideas to become successful entrepreneurs.
Professor Fiona Wood, the Ubercamp facilitator, said they were pleased with the turnout adding the participants brought innovative ideas and exchanged real-life scenarios and challenges that entrepreneurs face daily.
“We intend to build capabilities and understanding of what innovation and entrepreneurship are, and how they can work in teams with people from different backgrounds to address important issues for Fiji in relation to the UN SDGs,” Prof. Wood explained.
“We had fantastic Fijian presenters who shared with participants their entrepreneurial journey. Each participant considered a different entrepreneur pathway, so this workshop has been beneficial to all participants. If we continue with such initiatives, we will empower, motivate, and guide our young people to achieve success in their lives and under the SDGs, which is critical for the country.”
According to the FNU Director Research, Dr Ronald Kumar, the Ubercamp is aligned to Pillar One of FNU’s Strategic Plan 2021-2026, the University places priority on Education for Employability. The University is committed to producing work-ready graduates at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels with the skills, knowledge, competencies, aptitudes, and behaviours required to succeed in a competitive job market, including by establishing new businesses and an entrepreneurial mindset, as well as a willingness to meet the industry’s challenges and opportunities.
While FNU’s Pillar Two focuses on Research with Real-World Impact which provides students with the best possible experience that helps them grow as citizens of the world and as moral, spiritual, and intellectual beings.
FNU’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation Professor Roland De Marco said the Ubercamp workshop was important for the young people, empowering them to become entrepreneurs in the future with innovative techniques and ideas.
“We want to have an impact on our society by carrying out practical projects that are aligned with the National Development Plan, and such programmes can be problem-solvers for many,” said Professor De Marco.
“Ubercamp is like a seed that we give to the students, and if they use the learning from the workshop well, they can use that as a seed to grow, succeed, and make an impact in society.”
Participant Sonia Krishnan, 21, a third-year law student at FNU, said the Ubercamp would help her make better career decisions.
“It has been a fantastic Ubercamp for me because I learned a lot of things that will help me at various stages of my life. I am grateful to FNU for allowing me to participate in the Ubercamp,” she said.
“We should always show interest in such Ubercamps because they allow us to learn, which will help you make better decisions and become more knowledgeable.”
FNU’s Director of Research, Dr Ronald Kumar said there are plans to host more similar workshops later this year.
“We need to prepare our young people to be entrepreneurs, and by doing so, we are attempting to solve the problems of unemployment, social problems and providing opportunities for our youth during challenging times. This is a project for us with real-world implications,” said Dr Kumar.