Mar 25, 2014

Entrepreneurship is an alternative solution to unemployment

    The capacity and willingness to develop, organize and

manage a business venture along with any of its risks in order to make

a profit. The most obvious example of entrepreneurship is the starting

of new businesses.
    In economics, entrepreneurship combined with land, labor,

natural resources and capital can produce profit. Entrepreneurial spirit

is characterized by innovation and risk-taking, and is an essential part

of a nation's ability to succeed in an ever changing and increasingly

competitive global marketplace.
    At its core, entrepreneurship is starting a business from scratch, which includes everything from idea conception to managing the company for the long term.
    Nolan Bushnell, who founded Atari and Chuck E. Cheese's,

believes the key to becoming an entrepreneur is as simple as doing

    The turnout for the just concluded NIS recruitment exercise

that left scores injured and about 21 people dead has underscored a

very chilling point: unemployment is still very much an issue that

threatens the economic survival of the people and that of the nation.
Unemployment rate in Nigeria increased to 23.90 per cent in 2011 from

21.10 per cent in 2010, according to the National Bureau of Statistics

(NBS) and it has expressed worry that it may rise by an additional two

per cent before the year ends. Given the NIS recruitment turnout, many

people are wondering if the figure had not been doctored.
Since the exercise, however, an outcry has been raised against the

state of unemployment in Nigeria and several alternatives have

emerged to unemployment in the country. One is entrepreneurship. The

question, however, is can entrepreneurship solve the youth

unemployment crisis? A group of entrepreneurs, especially young

entrepreneurs believe that, yes, entrepreneurship can indeed solve the

youth unemployment crisis, and then called on all stakeholders,

especially the government, to ensure entrepreneurship development in

    A group of researchers, in their “Entrepreneurship

Development: A Panacea for Unemployment Reduction in Nigeria”,

published in the Journal of Emerging Trends in Economics and

Management Sciences, agreed that it was imperative to “increase

entrepreneurial activities to reduce high rate of unemployment” in

    Entrepreneurship development, they said, “has led to employment generation, growth of the economy and sustainable development,” adding that entrepreneurship plays an important role in

bringing down unemployment in the country.
Just last year, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor reported that

entrepreneurs in Africa help boost employment and GDP rates.

Countries like Nigeria, Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi,

Namibia, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia were listed.
“The entrepreneurial landscape in sub-Saharan Africa is changing

rapidly and the region is now becoming a Mecca for business

development and growth,” remarked Mike Herrington, lead author of the

report and GEM Executive Director and Professor at University of Cape

Town, South Africa, on GEM’s website adding that “opportunities

abound and a positive spirit is emerging amongst the population of

these countries.”
    The United Nations (UN), has also observed that global

development is entering a phase where “entrepreneurship will

increasingly play a more important role.” The body cited three major

reasons for this observation. In the West, it said, the managed economy

of the 1970s-2000s was characterized by reliance on big business and

mass production and thus, gave way to “a so-called entrepreneurial

economy.” It observed that in this age and time, knowledge-driven goods and services have become more flexibly provided by smaller firms, forcing the emergence of a creative class to require less interference, but more facilitating state.
Second, in the emerging countries, it said, especially – Brazil, Russia,

India and China, “impressive growth has been driven by a veritable

entrepreneurial revolution. The need in these economies to sustain

growth through sustainable access to resources, knowledge, markets,

and low-carbon industrialization puts a premium on innovative

More so, in the least developed countries, where aid dependency is

high, donors have been shifting the emphasis in development

cooperation towards private sector development, the UN said, adding

that “promoting youth entrepreneurship here has become a vital policy

objective of many development organizations and donors.”

Roles of entrepreneurs in national economic development

    In discussing the roles entrepreneurship plays in bringing

down unemployment in the country, it is pertinent to seek out the role

of entrepreneurs in economic development. As someone succinctly put

it, an entrepreneur plays a pivotal role not only in the development of

industrial sector of a country but also in the development of farm and

service sector.
    Young entrepreneurs in Nigeria are also saying that with the

new upsurge in entrepreneurship in the country, they are introducing

new ideas into a fledgling economy that can help the country grow.
These entrepreneurs believe that entrepreneurship is one of the most

important input in the economic development of a country, while noting

that as entrepreneurs, they act as a trigger head to give spark to

economic activities by their entrepreneurial decisions.
    The role of the government in promoting entrepreneurship
The UN, in its “Entrepreneurs and economic development” report,

observed that “for entrepreneurs to play an appropriate role, the role of the state remains important, if not more so than before. Strong states, as regulators and gatekeepers, play a particularly vital role. In the

absence of appropriate ‘rules of the game’, entrepreneurship may result

in undesirable social outcomes, including corruption, crime, speculation

and financial crises, and may worsen the vulnerabilities of people

during natural disasters.”
    While entrepreneurs and bodies like the CEI have constantly

advocated for friendly policies to encourage the SMEs and startup

entrepreneurs in the country, the Nigerian government has insisted that

they are making sure that the Nigerian entrepreneurs are giving level

playing grounds to do business.
    For instance, the Federal Government, in collaboration with

foreign bodies have been making capital available to SMEs. And experts

believe that the international organizations have, since mid-1980s,

continued to play vital roles in providing foreign capital to some SMEs in

Nigeria. World Bank, African Development Bank (ADB) and International

Finance Corporation (IFC), are among the said organizations. It could be

seen that entrepreneurship business was, hitherto, neglected in

    Also, some of the agencies such as the Nigerian Export

Promotion Council (NEPC), National Economic Reconstruction Fund

(NERFUND), the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), among

others, have been established by government to aid entrepreneurship

development in Nigeria.
Entrepreneurship opportunities in Nigeria
    Tech-based businesses are currently revolutionizing the way

business is done in Nigeria. According to Mr Tomi Davies, the CEO of

TechnoVision, “technology has infinitely improved communication of

ideas through its making tools available for entrepreneurs to express

their visions... It is already changing the way we search for, buy and

even consume our food. From recipes to restaurants we are seeing the

incursion of technology.”
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