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Sunday, August 23, 2020

ENTREPRENEURIAL DEVELOPMENT: KEY TO NIGERIA’S ECONOMIC GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

Written byOLAWALE RASAQ ADEMOLA

OLAWALE RASAQ ADEMOLA
About the author: He is a graduate of Finance, University of Ilorin. He is an entrepreneur, financial analyst, financial inclusion activist, career and finance coach. He owns the leading multi-service hub (OOC) that provides top-notch and outstanding customer services ranging from Business consultancy, content and creative writing, Data analytics, Graphics and General printing, Publicity, Research Consultancy, Cover letter, CV reviews and other related Edu services. He served at the department of finance and accounts, ministry of Agriculture and rural development, Ado-Ekiti State, Nigeria.


ABSTRACT

The reality after graduation is becoming more challenging for youths. In the past, most graduates are dependent on the government for employment after graduation, but now, that is not the case, it is therefore required of every youth to take self-employment with high esteem, as such, it cannot be overemphasized that entrepreneurship development is the appropriate program to mitigate this predicament of unemployment because jobs have to be created by and for the people to accelerate economic growth which, in the long run, leads to economic development. It is the goal of the writer to explore entrepreneurial development as key to Nigeria’s economic growth and development. The Biblical and intellectual approach was copiously employed in this essay for an effective analysis of the topic. This essay, however, looks at entrepreneurs as a key to economic growth and development, and the challenges being faced in Nigeria. Furthermore, it x-rays the role of the believers, church, educational system, and government while providing a way forward to challenges already identified.

INTRODUCTION

Nigeria is naturally endowed with natural resources, a variety of unexploited minerals, and a wealth of human capital. However, Nigeria still falls far short of the economic and social growth let alone development given that over half of Nigeria’s population lives on less than one dollar a day. To add salt to the wound, Nigeria has a low score on the Human Development Index (HDI), an index that measures the average achievement of a country in terms of the cost of living and standard of living. Economic growth is certainly an essential factor to foster economic development of any nation, economic development which is being measured by improved living standards of the populace have remained a great challenge in the country.

According to Nigeria employers’ consultative Association (NECA), the rate of unemployment was forecasted to hit 33.5% in 2020 from the 2019 rate pegged at 23.1%. Many graduates who by chance got admitted and having graduated couldn’t get a job usually ends up being restless and try anything such as crime or deviant behaviour to make ends meet, hence there is a need for empowerment and provision of technical skills which will birth self-employment and financial independence. Moreover, the current global pandemic has made matters worse in Nigeria as some companies are operating below capacity level, more secure jobs will be lost and few jobs will be created owing to the loans being currently serviced by Nigeria, and the current predicament in the financial sector, particularly the money and the capital markets which will have an adverse impact on the economy. This is not only visible but will be highly challenging as far as employment and job security are concerned.

Considering the Nigerian youth unemployment challenges among similar others, these can be mitigated through sustained job since entrepreneurship remains the viable option for wealth creation. In the opinion of Lemo (2013), he observes that entrepreneurship is a catalyst to reduce unemployment, reduce poverty, aid youth empowerment concerning their business’s development, and contribution to overall productive capacity, which in the long run facilitates the national economic growth and development.

In the last two decades, entrepreneurship has become one of the economic variables that attract the attention of governments and researchers both in developed and developing countries. The reason is not far-fetched; it is because of its role in economic growth and development. Entrepreneurs are considered to be the veritable backbone on which the world and modern ideas continue to develop and are fast becoming the bedrock of modern civilization amidst concerns of unemployment.

To buttress this, interests in entrepreneurial development continue to occupy a centre stage in the developed and developing countries of which Nigeria is not an exclusion. In 2012, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) accelerated its program by introducing the Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) initiative to facilitate access to requisite skills, resources necessary for successful entrepreneurship and to support the federal government’s aim to launch economic transformation through the promotion of entrepreneurship and self-reliance initiatives, particularly among youth, but then this scheme has not been working as expected because the mindset of graduates is to get a white-collar job.

DEFINITION AND CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

Entrepreneurship

The concept of entrepreneurship is dynamic and many academic disciplines have contributed their perspectives on the concept of entrepreneurship. The term “entrepreneurship” is seen in different ways with varying conceptual schools of thought in different fields of study such as economics, management, and psychology. However, despite these differences, there are some common ingredients such as creativity, tenacity, independence, taking a risk, and rewards embedded in the different schools of thought. Indeed, entrepreneurship entails the introduction of a change, an innovation, or a new order.

In Nigeria, domestic entrepreneurship is often discussed within the context of Micro, Small, and Medium Scale Enterprises (Nwokoye, 2013). Certainly, it can be concluded that entrepreneurship is a behavioural characteristic of persons, but then it should be noted that entrepreneurship is not an occupation and neither is it a small business. Enterprising individuals in larger firms usually referred to as ‘intrapreneurs’ or ‘corporate entrepreneurs’, undertake entrepreneurial actions as well, as such entrepreneurship is not restricted to persons starting or operating an (innovative) small firm.

From a Biblical perspective, one of the key ingredients to entrepreneurship is longsuffering, however, diligence allows the Christian to live with excitement and passion to complete his work and calling from God (Proverbs 10:4; Romans 12:11; Colossians 3:23). More so, they are faithful in service to others as detailed in (1 Peter 4:10). If all of these features are evident in the bible then a Christian is a potential entrepreneur.

Entrepreneur

An entrepreneur is beyond a person starting a business, the word “entrepreneur” can be traced to the French word, “entreprende” which means “to undertake” (Akanni, 2010). It is also used to describe taking charge or leading a project, which would deliver values and bring it to completion. This is an indication that an entrepreneur is simply a risk-taker. In the opinion of Hornby (2006), he describes an entrepreneur as a person who makes money by kick-starting or running businesses, especially when it involves taking financial risks. In other words, an entrepreneur is a person who does not only starts a business, but he moved further to identify a business opportunity to organising resources, to the management of the risk of a business or an enterprise despite heavy challenges.

Entrepreneurship development

Entrepreneurship development is simply the process of enhancing entrepreneurial skills and knowledge through structured training and programs. Several scholars such as Ndechukwu (2001), McOliver (1998), Ameashi (2006) among many others have defined entrepreneurship development by referring to the qualitative and transformational growth of an entrepreneur, they all see the term as the ability to take calculated risks, the identification of business opportunities, the prowess to harness the necessary resources to use opportunities identified, the tenacity and the willingness to initiate and sustain appropriate actions towards the actualization of business objectives despite daunting challenges.

Furthermore, entrepreneurship development centres on the expansion of the entrepreneurial base to ensure that the pace at which new ventures are birthed is increased as it centres more on growth potential and innovation which therefore accelerates employment generations as well as fast-tracking economic growth and development.

Economic growth and development

Economic growth is the sustained increase in the welfare of an economy together with the ongoing changes in that economy's industrial structure and distribution of income. Just like a firm keeps a record of the progress it makes over the years, so do an economy maintains its record of performance by the national income accounting. Economic growth is usually quantified by Gross domestic growth (GDP). Gross Domestic Product is designed to measure the totality of those activities that fall within the boundary of the national accounts system i.e. The total number of goods and services produced in a country within a given year.

Development is simply progress in a structural or physical setting. Abianga (2010) echoes the same perspective when he stressed that development is the act or process of growth, progress, and improvement within a physical setting.

Economically, development suffices when there has been consistent growth, measuring this development involves quantifying the increase in welfare to endowing with numerical precision the large-scale economic and social changes taking place in an economy; gross domestic product, export, employment creation, capital formation, and per capita income.

ROLE OF ENTREPRENEURIAL DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA’S ECONOMIC

GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

It is not an assumption, neither is it a tentative statement that entrepreneurship is linked to economic growth because activities that are needed to channel ideas into economic opportunities lie at the very heart of entrepreneurship. Moreso, entrepreneurs are the link between new ideas and economic growth, little wonder why Henderson (2007) explains that entrepreneurship is increasingly being recognized as a primary engine of economic growth by combining several existing resources with innovative ideas, adding values through the commercialization of new products and the creation of new jobs.

Entrepreneurship is a cornerstone of development strategies, it births new enterprises, new commercial activities, new economic sectors, generate jobs for others, produce goods and services for society, introduces new technologies and improves or lower cost outputs. The quintessential account of some entrepreneurs includes Larry Page and Sergey Brin who founded Google while they were students at Stanford University. Similarly, Mark Zuckerberg with the help of Andrew McCollum both computer Science students of Harvard University created Facebook. These entrepreneurs are currently global guns in their respective industries and adding value to the economy.

Additionally, the general acceptability of entrepreneurship education speaks volume of its usefulness and importance in the present realities with the creation of jobs and investment in people which spurs innovation and serve as opportunities for the poor. It also has several multiplier effects on the economy as a better source of competitive advantage since other natural resources can be depleted.

Undoubtedly, entrepreneurship contributes to the economy through the goods or services produced for which they are paid for by consumers, through the generation of economic activities such as buying, selling, marketing, payment of taxes to the government, undertaking corporate social responsibility to the various stakeholders within the community in which the enterprise is being operated among many others.

In Nigeria, the introduction of Presidential Initiatives, such as the You Win establishment, friends of Osinbajo, programmes and specialised institutions such as the small and medium enterprise development agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Bank of Industry(BOI), the Nigerian Industrial Development Bank (NIDB), the Nigerian Bank for Commerce and Industry (NBCI), the National Economic Reconstruction Fund (NERFUND), the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Industrial Development Coordinating Centre (IDCC), the NYSC venture price competition among many others formed to sensitize and create awareness in Nigerian youths, awaken their entrepreneurship expertise, and orientate serving youth corps members towards seeking alternative employment options, in particular, self-employment and the creation of the centre for entrepreneurial development being established in each of the tertiary institutions where different skills would be taught to a large extent shows that the Federal Government of Nigeria recognized the role entrepreneurship could play in jumpstarting the growth and development of the economy.

OBSTACLES STOPING RAPID ENTREPRENEURIAL DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA      

It is more than evident that entrepreneurial development plays a vital role in fast-tracking economic growth and development as Nigeria has enough resources to develop itself from developing to developed state but bad governance becomes a bone to pick. Apart from policy inconsistencies and political instability which adversely affects the growth and survival of the small businesses in the country, access to finance is a core stumbling block in the way to set up successful enterprises and the realisation of economic development, the following are some of the obstacles facing rapid entrepreneurial development:

• An inefficient pro-active regulatory environment that encourages innovative enterprise development at the grassroots level.

• Epileptic and dilapidated infrastructural facilities (especially with regards to roads and electricity)

• The presence of administrative and heavy trade barriers that hinder capacity building and operational supports.

• Corruption and absence of regulatory mechanisms for effective oversight of enterprise development initiatives, especially those in the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME ) space.

• Insecurity and spate of conflicts among Nigerian societies and communities.

THE WAY FORWARD TO ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA

Entrepreneurship cannot grow in a vacuum, since the process of entrepreneurial development emphasises on training, re-learning, reorientation, birthing conducive and a hitch-free environment for the growth of enterprises, therefore fostering entrepreneurship is a collective responsibility of individuals, higher institutions, bigger firms, and the government. Needless to say, is that the road to Nigeria's emergence as an economic superpower is blurry, thus more than just optimism, it calls for a clever economic restructuring that will help turn the country's fortunes around for good. However, entrepreneurship development is a good fit for this.

Additionally, since youths constitute a larger percentage of Nigeria’s population, this calls for the need to engage the youth more to venture in productive activities, and also, the wide-spread level of unemployment in the country would be minimized if Nigerians youth irrespective cultural differences and backgrounds are being exposed to entrepreneurial learning, unlearning, and re-learning to foster economic maturity and development. It should be noted however that some individuals will naturally become entrepreneurs, no matter what, while others in that same society will never become entrepreneurs, no matter the support they receive or the circumstance. In between these two extremes, lies largely numbers of individuals whose capacity to become entrepreneurs will depend on the circumstances they are faced with. The identification of those circumstances that are conducive to turning a majority of potential entrepreneurs into productive entrepreneurs should not be taken with levity hands by relevant stakeholders.

Importantly, Christians should understand that God calls not only ministers and other spiritual workers but everyone to specific roles in His kingdom. As Christian, we must realise that our calling is to kill cankerworms in society while establishing and leading business organisations that are designed to achieve positive results in the secular world. The following building process will help to unleash the Nigerian entrepreneurship system which will, in the long run, leads to economic growth and development:

• It is high time the policymakers became aware that entrepreneurship deserves equal emphasis as is being placed on science and technology; it is the entrepreneur that translates the innovation in science and technology into wealth. The church should reiterate the need for believers to develop a business that blends business excellence with Christian, Biblical, and theological perspectives. To buttress this, governments should also develop a culture of entrepreneurial thinking. This can be done in several ways such as getting entrepreneurship more integrated into the educational systems, encouraging calculated risk-taking, and embarking on national campaigns for entrepreneurship mindsets.

• Emphatically, a more sustainable action to social vices and poverty reduction is through encouraging youths, particularly those with identified entrepreneurial skills to go into private business particularly in science and technology because these have natural potentials for business development. As a result, there is a need for restructuring in the educational settings to prepare the minds of students for self-reliance.

• The government should make provision for access to local and international markets to aid entrepreneurial expansion and proliferation.

• Improvement in infrastructure (mainly of power and electricity) that could cripple new and existing businesses in the economy.

• The provision of access to finance and the introduction of a favourable loan policy that would address the specific needs of enterprises is quintessential.

• The government should enhance the entrepreneurial environmental conditions to galvanize Nigeria’s total entrepreneurial activities towards improved national economic growth and development.

• Corruption and nepotism have made government efforts to promote entrepreneurship to below expectations; hence to make a significant contribution, nepotism and corruption being a cankerworm should be shunned.

CONCLUSION

The quest for the attainment of a great and dynamic economy in this 21st century is important for Nigeria not to be left behind the rest of the world in the march towards the millennium development goals coupled with the pressure of globalization and the future of work. To achieve this, the government can utilise several measures such as religion to harness, inculcate and develop the entrepreneurial career of the younger generations that cuts across the entire spectrum of the education system from primary school to higher institutions as well as in the informal system and also improve their potentials toward entrepreneurial skills which will consequently foster economic growth and development while ensuring an enabling a conducive environment for business to strive.

Essentially, believers should know that we do business while being guided by the Holy Spirit as indicated in Ephesians 2:8-10; John 15:16a and 1Corinthians 12:12-18. As such our businesses should differ from secular businesses as Apostle Paul admonished in Ephesians 4: 17-18, “so I tell you this, and insist on it in the lord that you no longer live as the Gentiles do in the futility of their thinking, they are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.

An excellent spirit like that of Daniel is expected because we are salt of the earth and light of the world. As Christian, Galatians 6:9 detailed the need to develops endurance and staying power to accomplish God's will. Indeed, there is a need for Christians to pick up the mantle as an agent of change who are poised to spreading innovative ideas, accelerating and making positive change in this generation.

Conclusively, the business purpose is to “Let God’s Kingdom come on earth” and to be King, Priest, and Prophet in business and private life. The world must see Jesus in our actions, entrepreneurs who are deeply rooted in the word can be even more relevant when they become mentors, care-givers, and visionaries in their areas of influence. Potential entrepreneurs display initiative and ambition, have business sense and foresight, and are decisive, however, it must be conceded and addressed that until Christians take the gauntlet and build a new entrepreneurial mindset and by extension, a business anchored on Christ, economic growth and development would be a distant dream for Nigeria.

 

REFERENCES

Abianga, E. U. (2010). Effective Leadership and Followership Drives Community Development. International Journal of Management and Enterprise Development.

Akanni. (2010). Refocusing Education System towards Entrepreneurship Development in Nigeria: A tool for Poverty Eradication.

Amaeshi, U. (2007). Entrepreneurship as a core Economic Development Strategy for Nigeria. Journal of Business & Management Studies, 1(2), 1-9.

Henderson, J. (2007). Understanding rural entrepreneurs at the country level: Data challenges. Paper presented at the Frameworks for Entrepreneurship Research in Food, Agriculture, and Rural Development Workshop. Kansas City.

Lemo, T. (2013). Development and the entrepreneurial challenge policy and execution. ThisDay.

McOliver, F. (1998). Business Enterprises (How to start and succeed. Benin City: Uniben Press.

Ndechukwu, F. N. (2001). Packing Small and Medium Scale Industries for Equity Investment. At a Workshop Organize by the bankers Committee for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises.

Nwokoye, E. S., Onwuka, K. O., & Ogbonna, I. C. (2013). Business mentoring and domestic entrepreneurship in Nigeria’s manufacturing sub-sector: The place of foreign direct investment inflows. Journal of Developing Country Studies, 3(8), 8-18.




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