SENSITISATION OF YOUTHS ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP SKILLS IN NIGERIA

Abstract

The fact that there is an increasing level of youth unemployment in Nigeria, cannot be overemphasized. In this connection, the present high level of youth unemployment demands sincere urgent attention to minimize these challenges. This paper therefore, is concerned with sensitizing today’s Nigerian youth on entrepreneurship skills, which have the capacity for innovation, investment, creativity and expansions in generational markets, products and techniques. This paper discusses the conditions necessary for the development of small enterprise, and the source of generation ideas in a business venture vis-à-vis its assessment. Setting goals, mission statement and target for the business and the issue of project feasibility study were extensively discussed. Sources presented. This paper challenges the youths in Nigeria to wake up from their slumber; and start doing something with regards to setting up enterprises instead of waiting endlessly for white-collar jobs. This will help reduce youth unemployment.

Introduction

Nowadays, there is an increasing level of unemployment, especially with the youths. Coincidentally, there is equally a high rate of school drop-outs as well as thousands of school leavers who roam the streets without jobs. The International Labour Organization (ILO), 2994, reported that the present education system in Nigeria is such that Universities turn out thousands of graduates every year but that only about 10% of these University graduates secure white-collar jobs or salary-payment type of employment in the public and private sectors of the economy.

This means that 90% of the unemployed university graduates queue for the informal sector of the economy. A recent study carried out by the Education Sector Analysis (ESA) of the Federal Ministry of Education, 2006, suggests that 90 percent of the unemployed are in the age range of 16-24 groups which comprises the youths. This situation clearly explains the growing number of fluent English speaking and graduate armed-rubbers in the homes and the nations’ highways as well as willing and daring graduates, hired as assassins and political thugs.

In the United States of America (U.S.A), which is adjudged the world’s biggest economy, 96 percent of businesses are described as small scale enterprise. This outfit is said to employ about 81% of the total workforce of the economy (Scult, 2006). There is sample evidence from the U.S, Japan, China and the developing economies of Malaysia and India that entrepreneurship skill is a low-cost strategy for job creating, technical innovations and accounting capital, all the factors necessary to bring about economic change, reduce poverty and engender human progress. How then can youths be made to embrace the importance of entrepreneurship skills? This paper is to sensitize today’s youths on the concept, characteristics and entrepreneurship traits needed to establish business enterprises. It will also outline the conditions necessary of the development of small scale enterprise. Moreso, the paper will expose youths to sources of ideas in business venture and outline goals and targets setting for enterprise.

The Concept of Entrepreneurship

The concept of entrepreneurship has been around for a very long time, but its resurgent popularity implies a “sudden discovery”, due mainly to the increasing number of unemployed youths in the Nigerian environment. It is now like a new direction for America enterprise. This is a myth, as we shall see, because the American system of free enterprise has always engendered the spirit of entrepreneurship.

In developing countries like Nigeria, the concept is gaining increasing recognition, with modifications in Government and private sector thinking. An entrepreneur is, in its most general sense, a person who creates or starts a new project, opportunity or venture. Most commonly, the term entrepreneur applies to someone who establishes a new entity to offer a new or existing product or service into a new or existing market, whether for a profit or not-for project venture. Entrepreneurs often have strong believe about a market opportunity and are willing to accept a high level of personal, professional or financial “risk” to pursue that opportunity (McOliver, 2006).

From the above explanation, entrepreneurship is simply the capacity for creativity, innovation, investment and expansion in new markets, products and techniques. In the same vein, just as we call people who do business as businessmen, people who engage themselves in entrepreneurship are called entrepreneurs. Common difference between a businessman and an entrepreneur is that, while a businessman does not necessarily need to have some creative and innovative ideas embarking on a business, an entrepreneur needs these ideas to form a viable enterprise.

Characteristics of Entrepreneurship

From the studies carried out by McOliver and Nwagwu (2006) the following factors were identified as the central characteristics of entrepreneurship:

  1. Novelty: This simply refers to a situation whereby problems are looked from different perspectives. It implies that entrepreneurship has the capacity to look at problems from different angles with the view to finding solutions.
  2. Creativity: This refers to a situation whereby entrepreneurs invest techniques that may never have been tried. Entrepreneur must be creative in the sense that it should be able to invent techniques and solutions that are entirely new. This emphasizes the “ability”, not the “activity”, of bringing something new into existence.
  3. Investment: This means putting in resources in terms of human resources or personnel money, material, time and space. With entrepreneurship, resources could be harnessed to produce services and products.
  4. Marketing: This simply refers to a situation whereby ideas concerning entrepreneurship enterprise are sold out or communicated to others by using the resources to exploit business opportunities.
  5. Profitability: This is the idea of generation income and human ability to employ other services. In this regard, entrepreneurship must be profitable by being able to provide services and even income to others.

Entrepreneurship Traits Vis-A-Characteristics

In order to understand entrepreneur better, researchers sought to defined traits common to a majority of individuals who start and operate new ventures. Hornaday (2005) was among the first to use surveys and intense interviews to develop a composite list of entrepreneurship traits as follows:

  • Self-confident and optimistic.
  • Able to take calculated risk.
  • Respond positively to challenges.
  • Flexible and able to adapt.
  • Knowledgeable about markets.
  • Able to get along well with others.
  • Independent minded.
  • Versatile knowledge.
  • Energetic and diligent.
  • Creative and the desire to achieve.
  • Responsive to suggestions.
  • Take initiatives
  • Responsive to criticism
  • Perceptive with foresight
  • Resourceful and preserving

Conditions Necessary for Development of Small Scale Enterprise

According to Nosagie (2008), the conditions necessary for the development of small scale enterprises are as follows:

  • The business environment must be opened and motivating. For the avoidance of doubt, the environment in this case includes all those whose activities are affected or can affect an enterprise. They must be willing to test and buy new ideas.
  • The innovation, whether it is a process techniques, service or product must be reality demonstrable.
  • The enterprise must enhance the attainment of the goals of the clients.
  • The resources, including capital, labour and productivity level must be relevant in order to remain competitive and profitable.
  • The entrepreneur must be trustworthy and a willing taker of non-insurable risk.
  • The legal, political and institutional framework within which a private enterprise can successfully operate must be put in place and seen to be in place.

Sources of Ideas in Business Ventures

Shuaibu (2005) gave the following brief summary of the sources of ideas in business venture as follows:

  • Observation: Observation is one of the sources of ideas in a business venture by which a prospective entrepreneur gets an idea about entrepreneurship. For instance, apprentices get ideas about a particular business through observation for a stated period of time.
  • Library Research: Many entrepreneurs revived the idea about a business venture through library research going through publications on existing business ventures.
  • Existing Reports: Some entrepreneurs also get ideas about a business venture from existing is often used by people to get ideas about business.
  • Published Market Statistics: This is a viable source of ideas about a business venture which is often used by people to get ideas about business.
  • Trade Association and Meetings: Trade Associations also publish information on their business outfit periodically. Through this, people can get ideas on the business from such publications.
  • Experts: Majority of people consult experts on entrepreneurship in order to gather ideas on a particular business venture.
  • Business and Credit Agencies: This is also a sources of ideas through which people get knowledge about a business by making contacts with the agencies.
  • Professional Market Surveys: People also make reference to professional market surveys in order to get ideas on business ventures.

According to Ekanem (2006), there is the need to take the followings into consideration in the assessment of business ideas or ideology:

  • The Product: There is the need to service the product; and this service must be assessed in order to understand the nature of the producer; the service itself and any pervious knowledge of the product alongside it price. Are there any potential buyers and customers?
  • Customer and Client: We need to know who are the customer and those persons that are also the client. By extension, we also need to know their profession, age, sex, group and their religion. In some cases, there may also be the need to know their nationality, tribes and background.
  • Nature of demand: as entrepreneurs, we need to know the specialized needs of customers, for example, in the area of good packaging, timely delivery and discounts. Can the demands be met? Are demands seasonal?
  • Suppliers: One also needs to know whether the supplier can meet the demands of he entrepreneur and business. Are their prices competitive?
  • Distribution: it is necessary to also check if the means of distribution meet your demand, and if you can cope with the demand. Do you have distribution channels? Are there any around the vicinity? These entire questions must be adequately addressed.
  • Staffing: Know the personnel required and the nature of employment. Ascertain whether it is casual, part time, shift, or regular. Also assess the office space required for the staff and the cost of hiring staff and consider the strategy for retaining good staff.
  • Premises: Check whether you need external premises or alternative ones to your home or shared facility and legal implications and considerations. For example, insurance or access to your customers.
  • Equipment: Assess the nature of equipment required, whether purchased, rent, or lease and thus, have a prior knowledge of suppliers. Besides, also check the issue of maintenance, and determine who will be responsible and at what price. Understand the safety requirements of the equipment cost, and so on.
  • Cost of Setting up the Enterprise: Know how much you require. Ascertain and determine where to get it and how much you already have; and the viability of the enterprise. 
  • Goals and Target – Setting for an Enterprise
  • Minappa (2000), enumerated the following goals and target-setting for an enterprise:
  • Anyone considering an enterprise and a profitable adventure must understand where he or she is going.
  • Unless one knows where one is going, he or she may wonder around aimlessly, and may never know even when he or she gets there.
  • A beginner entrepreneur must have an end-in –view. Even in our religious race, “we are working for the hereafter”. Going to the God-head is the unlimited goal of all religionists.
  • This goal and derived strategy with realistic targets must be articulated in writing. Writing down a feasibility study reporting, helps to clarify the goals and the strategies.

Furthermore, Monappa (2000) stated that the basic areas of feasibility report include:

  • To investigate the ability of the project to bring returns;
  • To aid decision-making;
  • Meet the conditionality of financial institutes;
  • To reduce project mortality;
  • Forecasting;
  • Guide for project implementation; and
  • Benchmark for measuring operational performance.

As resources are scarce, it is desirable to evolve the best possible options so as to maximize it.

Capital investment requires proper investigation so that a project earns sufficient return on the criteria put forward by investors. The factors used for the investment desirability or practicability of proposed enterprise or undertaking need to be quantified. In this connection, the followings are the stages of feasibility study.

  • Identification of investment, evaluation of identified investment opportunities and project selection, pre-feasibility study, and the main feasibility study.
  • Format for feasibility study. The following gives the chronological order of the format for feasibility study:
  • Project background;
  • Market analysis;
  • Technical feasibility and viability;
  • Recommendation; and
  • Project implementation plan.
  • Sources of Funding: The sources of funding available include:
  • Bank loan and facility;
  • Cooperatives;
  • The popular “abashed” personal savings;
  • Non-Government Organizations (NGOs);
  • Friends:
  • Relations:
  • Partnership and leasing;

Examples of some viable enterprise;

  • Bee keeping for profit or bee farming.
  • Agricultural and Agro-Allied enterprises.
  • Block and Brick making industries.
  • Palm-oil extraction and palm-kernel cracking industries.
  • Establishment of fish pounds.
  • Grass-cutter farming.
  • Snail farming.
  • Pure water enterprise.
  • Basket wearing industries.
  • Broom production.
  • Metal fabrication and welding.
  • Furniture making.
  • Interior decoration.
  • Fashion design and tailoring.
  • Woodwork and carpentry.

Conclusions

The present higher level of today’s youth’s unemployment demands urgent attention by governmental and non-governmental agencies; and this necessitated this paper presentation aimed at sensitizing and educating today’s youths on entrepreneurship skills in Nigeria. It is the capacity for creativity, innovation, investment and expansion in new markets, products and techniques. Put succinctly, this paper discusses the conditions necessary for the development of small scale enterprises. It reveals the sources of ideas in a business venture vis-à-vis its assessment. Furthermore, it looks at goals and target setting for business and the issue of project feasibility study were fully discussed. In addition, the various enterprises were also highlighted. The challenges now rest squarely on the youths to take the entrepreneurship bull by the horn, and start thinking of setting up enterprises so as to reduce youth unemployment saga rather than waiting for white-collar jobs.

Recommendations

This paper therefore recommends that:

  1. Government should establish training programme both at he secondary and tertiary levels where concentration will be more on entrepreneurship education for the youths.
  2. Government should create the enabling environment, such as availability of electricity, security etc, for small scale business to survive.
  3. Government of all levels (federal, state and local government must embark on empowering trainees in the various entrepreneurship centers to set up own small business on completion with proper guidance to ensure survival of such enterprises.
  4. Government should collaborate with the private sector in terms of providing of funding support for young entrepreneurs.
  5. Government should encourage expansion, specialization and spin-offs of existing business in Nigeria and also encourage young entrepreneurs to access a wide business professional network.

References

Ekanem, O.T. (2006). The Art of Writing Feasibility Studies for new Business Enterprises. In Entrepreneurship Development; The Nigerian Experiences. University of Benin: Centre for Entrepreneurship Development. Pps 21-24.

Federal Ministry of Education (2006), Education Sector Analysis (ESA). Abuja: Federal Ministry of Education.

Hornaday, J. (2005). Higher Education and the level of Economic Development, Manpower and Economic Growth. New York: Mcgrew-Hill.

International Labour Organization (ILO), (2004), report on graduate turn out and graduate employment in Nigeria. Geneve: ILO.

Jerome, B.M. (2004). Public Administration: Balancing power and Accountability. South Gunderson Avenue: Moor Publishing Company Inc. PPs. 411-412.

McOliver, F.O. (2006). Establishing Multi-national Corporations of West African Origin: Problems and Prospects. Benin Journal of Social Sciences, Vol. 1 No. 2. Pps 8 and 9.

McOliver, F.O and Nwagwu, N.A. (2006). Entrepreneurship Development: The Nigerian Experiences. University of Benin: A publication of the Centre for Entrepreneurship Development. Pps 31-36

Minappa, A. (2000). Personnel Management. Yadain India: Arum Publisher.

Nosagie, J.E. (2008). The pattern of Entrepreneurship Management. University of Minnesota Press.

Scult, T.W. (2006). Investment in Human Capital. In Economics of Education. Penguin Modern Economics Readings 2006 (Ed): M. Blang Preguin Books pps 47-50

Shuaibu, M.J. (2005) Modalities of Teaching Entrepreneur in Teaching Institutions: Education Trust Fund (ETF) Capacity Building Workshop for Lecturers of Polytechnics and Monotechines in Nigeria. Abuja: Chidibest Books.

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