The Nigerian Youth and Entrepreneurship

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My son is now an ‘entrepreneur.’

That’s what you’re called when

you don’t have a job.

-Ted Turner (founder of CNN)-

The concept of entrepreneurship (as distinct from other forms of labour) was first established in the 1700s, and the meaning has evolved ever since. There are many descriptions of the entrepreneur, but the one we find most appropriate for our circumstances is from business expert, Peter Drucker (1909-2005): “The entrepreneur always searches for CHANGE, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.”

Thus, every change (whether generally perceived as change for the better, or change for the worse) is an opportunity to the entrepreneur. As the British wartime leader, Winston Churchill, once said: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

An entrepreneur is that man or woman who actualizes his or her innate potentials to develop a character that is not dependent but independent. The entrepreneur undertakes a voyage of creating value by pulling together a unique package of resources to exploit opportunities. He or she has the capacity and capability to build something from practically nothing.

Innovation is the principal tool of entrepreneurship. Innovation and entrepreneurship both demand creativity. Creativity is a process by which a symbolic domain in the culture is changed. New songs, new ideas, new machines, new products, new methods are what creativity is all about. Creativity is the ability to make or otherwise bring into existence something new, whether a new solution to a problem, a new method or device, or a new artistic object or form. Creativity is the act of seeing the things that everyone sees, but making connections that no one else has made. Creativity entails moving from the known to the unknown – to a new and better reality.

The entrepreneur is a risk-taker (albeit measured risks), a man or woman who bears the burden of uncertainty, strikes out on his or her own, and through natural wits, devotion to duty and singleness of purpose, somehow creates a business and industrial activity where none exited before. Creative entrepreneurs possess high levels of energy and great degrees of perseverance and dedication, which combined with a willingness to take moderate, calculated risks, enable them to transform what began as a very simple idea or hobby into something concrete (and profitable).

The ENTREPRENEUR therefore includes any person who establishes and manages a business enterprise. This is the man or woman who owns a bookshop, restaurant, bakery, fashion centre, boutique, tailoring outfit, beauty centre, barber’s saloon, home catering outfit, business centre, shoemaker shop, car washing centre, photographer’s shop. Others include dry-cleaning, video centre, tele-centres, wholesale trade, retailing, coffee and teashop, hotel, production of bottled and table water, yoghurt, nail lacquers, fruit juice, etc. and businesses that may not as yet exist. These are all businesses, and each has a unique contribution to make in the development of the economy and society.

Entrepreneurship is what enables a small business to grow into world dominance. Think Microsoft: founded in 1975 by two young men, Bill Gates and

Paul Allen, operating from the garage of one of their parents. Today, Microsoft has a total equity of US$80 billion and 118,584 employees. Think Apple: founded in 1976 by three young men, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne, also operating from the garage of one of their parents. Today, Apple has a total equity of US$119.4 billion and 115,000 employees. Think Google: founded in 1998 by two young PhD students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Today, Google has a total equity of US$104.5 billion and 59,976 employees. Think Facebook: founded in 2004 by five young men, Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. Today, Facebook has a total equity of US$36.1 billion, 11,996 employees and 1.44 billion active users (a fifth of the planet’s population). Think The Beatles: formed in 1960 by four young men from Liverpool, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

The Beatles are the best selling band in history, with sales of over 1 billion units.

Think big; dream bigger!

Entrepreneurship means much more than starting a new business. It encompasses the whole process whereby individuals become aware of the opportunities that exist to empower themselves, develop ideas, and take personal responsibility and initiative. In a broader sense, entrepreneurship helps young men and women develop new skills and experiences that can be applied to many other challenges in life. Entrepreneurship is therefore a key priority area with the potential to stimulate job and wealth creation in an innovative and independent way.

The Nigerian youth can and should be a game-changer in the growth of the nation’s economy, wealth and job creation in a sustainable manner.

Going forward, it is to help foster the growth of entrepreneurship in the Nigerian

Youth, and thus contribute our quota to the development of the nation’s economy to the benefit of all, that this website, Nigeria Heartbeat (nigeriaheartbeat.com), will be posting a series of downloadable lectures on entrepreneurship and business in Nigeria, covering a wide variety of topics. The youth and the youngat-heart are encouraged to avail themselves of the opportunity of these lectures, which are offered at no cost to the user.

We wish you beneficial experiences.

Research by: Dr. Peter Agbugui

Edited by: Ian G. Udoh

for nigeriaheartbeat.com

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