B.E.A. Oghojafor, O.L. Kuye, A.A. Sulaimon, and P.S. Okonji
Keywords: Entrepreneurship; economic development; technological base; financial support
The unacceptable rate of youth unemployment in the country, the low standard of living and the hope of technological transfer which is tending towards a mirage have lead to a renewed interest in entrepreneurship development in Nigeria. Although, several attempts have been made at encouraging entrepreneurial activities in Nigerian in the past, there is no gain saying the fact that these initiatives failed to produce the desired results. Various constraints such as poor implementation, inadequate and inefficient infrastructural facilities and over bearing bureaucracy have been identified as being responsible for this.
The study focused on the mandatory entrepreneurship education programme for undergraduate students of tertiary institutions in Nigeria. The fear that this initiative may fail like others of its kind has necessitated an inquiry into its effectiveness in instilling entrepreneurial consciousness among Nigerian youths. Thus, the purpose of the study is to achieve the following:
Based on the purposes of the study, the following hypotheses are proposed:
Bolton and Thompson (2000) listed ten action factors of entrepreneurs:
2. Entrepreneurs are Creative and Innovative
Creativity and innovation are the universal marks of the entrepreneur. Creativity is the thinking process involved in producing an idea or a concept that is new, original, useful and satisfying to its creator or to someone else. While innovation is the process of applying a new and creative idea to a product, service or method of operations, it involves implementing the new idea generated through creativity (Rue & Byers, 2003)
According to Drucker (1983), innovation is the specific function of entrepreneurship. It is the means by which the entrepreneur either creates new wealth producing resources or endows existing resources with enhanced potential for creating wealth. He concluded that "it is difficult to be an entrepreneur without engaging in some innovation"
3. Entrepreneurs spot and exploit opportunities
4. Entrepreneurs find the resources required to exploit opportunities
5. Entrepreneurs are good net workers
6. Entrepreneurs are determined in the face of adversity
7. Entrepreneurs manage risk
surviving. Without this characteristic, business ideas will never come to limelight. However, it should be emphasized that entrepreneurs should take "calculated" and not "poor" risks.
10. Entrepreneurs create capital
The role of entrepreneurship in national development
2. Employment opportunities
4. Reduction in rural-urban drifts
One of the primary objectives of promoting entrepreneurship in developing countries is to mitigate Rural-Urban drift syndrome. The migration of rural dwellers to cities in search of 'white-collar' jobs has resulted in congestion, high incidence of crimes, etc.
5. Development of local technological base
6. Conservation of foreign exchanges:
Problems of entrepreneurship development in Nigeria
1. Lack of trust by Nigerians: This has resulted in the rejection of "made in Nigeria" goods as inferior to the imported ones. The mentality that anything made in Nigeria is inferior has discouraged and forced many local entrepreneurs to go out of business.
2. The dire shortage and inadequacy of infrastructure facilities: This to my mind is the greatest problem facing the Nigerian entrepreneur. It is no longer news that 48 years after independence, the supply of electricity is epileptic if non-existent, the roads are death-traps leading to loss of lives and properties.
4. Lack of management know-how resulting in inability to apply appropriate managerial concepts and principles in running the affairs of the business. This is usually manifested in poor financial control, weak marketing effort, failure to develop a strategic plan, uncontrolled growth, improper inventory control. (Chanran and Useani, 2002).
5. Inability to make entrepreneurial transition: As the business grows from the craft to entrepreneurial stage, informal and unprofessional management will suffice. However, the advent of the professional stage(s) calls for the business to be managed on professional basis. This will see authority delegated, policies formulated and a formal structure of relationship established (Rue and Byers, 2003).
Despite the critical importance of entrepreneurs in the economic development of a country, less developed nations especially Sub-Sahara African (SSA) countries have not fully developed strategies to take advantage of this resource (Bawuah, Buame and Hinson, 2006). What the- countries have, are haphazard policies, which do not actually reflect the importance of entrepreneurship to the economic development. National programmes have been developed for the purpose of increasing entrepreneurial activity through various reforms, but these have proven abortive. There are several management training programmes that have been developed to strengthen finance, marketing, personnel, and management skills, but these do not constitute entrepreneurship education.
There appears to exist a consensus among scholars that entrepreneurship education and training has a vital role to play in the development of entrepreneurial attitudes, abilities and related skills (Li, Zhang and Matlay, 2003; European Commission, 2002). According to Erkilla (2000), about 93 percent of scholars are of the opinion that entrepreneurial skill can be developed via education and training. Thus, the establishment of entrepreneurial education is seen as a possible measure to promote entrepreneurship (Burger, O'Neil and Mahadea, 2005).
According to Owuala (1999), entrepreneurship education is "a programme or part of the programme that prepares individuals to undertake the formation of and acquisition of small-business". Entrepreneurship Development Programme/Education is a planned, systematic and sustained effort at inculcating and nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit among Nigerians so as to produce a pool of willing, able and successful entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurial education is the purposeful intervention by an adult (the teacher) in the life of a learner to impact entrepreneurial qualities and skills to enable the learner to survive in the world of business (Gouws, 2002). It aims at equipping learners with skills, knowledge and dispositions that can help them develop or implement innovative social or business plans (Nnazor, 2005).
According to Bawuah, Buame and Hinson (2006), research evidence from different sources seems to suggest that individuals attending entrepreneurship courses have a higher tendency to start their own business at some point in their career than those attending other courses. In the view of Rae (1997), the skills traditionally taught in business schools are necessary but not sufficient to make a successful entrepreneur. While students need to develop their business skills and understanding, more attention is required for the development of their entrepreneurial skills, attributes and behaviour (Bawuah, Buame and Hinson, 2006). Owualah and Obokoh (2008) posit that there should be a long term strategy that will focus on developing a set of programmes at different stages of the enterprise education drive. Such enterprise education programmes could offer a progression from awareness increase to real activities to develop entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial skills, culminating in a desire to own and run a business (Owualah and Obokoh, 2008). The results of the study carried out by Thomberry (2003) also revealed that many managers can indeed be trained to act like entrepreneurs and that these actions can result in significant new value creation. This suggests that entrepreneurial training is vital for firms that are rarely satisfied with the status quo, firms that are always looking forward to creating new value.
The expectations of entrepreneurship education
To increase the awareness and understanding of the process involved in initiating and managing a new venture as well as to enhance learners of small business ownership as serious career option (Henry et al, 2005).
To identify and stimulate entrepreneurial drive, talent and skills; to undo the risk-averse bias of several analytical techniques; and to devise attitudes towards change (Caravan and O'Cinneide, 1994).
According to Jack and Anderson (1999), governments expect entrepreneurial education to contribute to job creation, economic growth, skill enhancement and the development of an entrepreneurial culture; business expects entrepreneurship education to create an understanding of basic business issues, creative work attitude and an entrepreneurial approach among learners; and learners expect entrepreneurship education to assist them in their quest to start their own businesses one day and to develop skills that will enable them find work in large firms as well. Entrepreneurial education is expected to focus on delivering the skills and knowledge imperative for business entry (Gartner, Bird and Starr, 1992). Practicing entrepreneurs expect entrepreneurial education to assist them in solving the unique problems in their businesses (Young, 1992 in Burger, O'Neil and Mahadea, 2005).
Training institutions such as service firms, universities and colleges often expect the offering of entrepreneurship education to provide them with enhanced status and a higher profile with regard to community commitment (Roebuck and Brawley, 1996 in Burger, O'Neil and Mahadea, 2005).
Formal and informal education
The recent mandatory entrepreneurship development course for all undergraduates of tertiary institutions in Nigeria is a bold attempt at awakening the entrepreneurship consciousness of the Nigerian youths. The idea is that instead of
thinking of writing applications for non existent jobs, the average Nigerian will be thinking of how to be an employer of labour through the launching and growing of his or her own business enterprise. This effort is in recognition of the failure of existing schemes to fully address the problems of stimulating entrepreneurial consciousness among Nigerian youths.
A successful entrepreneurship programme will achieve the following:
The entrepreneur readiness questionnaire developed and validated by Van Voorhis (1980) was used to elicit response from the students.
The questionnaire was modified to reflect local conditions. To this end, some of the questions were rephrased without losing their meanings.
370 questionnaires were administered to students in the pre-entrepreneurship class in 2007/08 session but 300 questionnaires were returned and useable. A new set of 300 questionnaires were administered to the same students at the end of the entrepreneurship class. The questionnaires were returned and useable. The respondents’, comprising respectively 165 and 135 female and male students, were of average age 19. The set of questionnaires was analyzed using simple percentages while the hypotheses were evaluated through the test of proportions.
Hypotheses and results
The questionnaires were administered to the students before being exposed to the mandatory entrepreneurship class. 15 students or 5% of the sample obtained above average score in the pre exposure test and the post class exposure above average scores was 48 students or 16% of the sample.
Ho1: P = 0.05
Po (1 – Po)
Pn = 0.16
(0.05) (0.95) = 11
Decision Rule: Accept H0 if calculated Z is less than table Z otherwise, reject.
Calculated Z = 11
The pre-exposure test score was 10% or 30 students while the post exposure score was 17% or 50 students.
Ho2: P = 0.10
Po (1 – Po)
Pn = 0.17
Po = 0.10
n = 300
Z = 0.17 – 0.10
(0.17) (1.0.10) Z = 10.69
Decision rule: Accept H02 if calculated Z is less than table Z, otherwise, reject.
Calculated Z = 10.69
Conclusion and implications for management
The course will open their eyes to see the latent entrepreneurial talents within them and enable them to spot and exploit business opportunities. Having been armed with the knowledge of the theories, concepts, and principles of entrepreneurship, students develop the confidence that a successful application of these will enable them succeed in business.
There is no argument that the technique of entrepreneurship is a discipline that can be taught or learned. However, the environment plays an important role in putting readiness into action or reality, and hence based on the results of this study the following recommendations are made. There is an urgent need for the government to provide an enabling environment in the forms of efficient and available basic infrastructural facilities, especially electricity. Also venture capital should be provided through micro-finance banks and other specialized agencies to adequately empower young entrepreneurs.
Lastly, the present method of teaching entrepreneurship as a subject should be replaced with teaching entrepreneurship as an activity. As subject, abstract concepts of entrepreneurship are taught to students without practical supplements, while entrepreneurship activity combines teaching with experiential exercises. Gladly the second course in entrepreneurship has a mandatory industrial training programme. This should be extended to the first course.
This study has some important implications for the nation’s tertiary institutions. It encourages tertiary institutions to demonstrate high level of commitment to entrepreneurship education. It also reveals the need for all stakeholders in education to understand the relationship between empowering Nigerian youth for national development and entrepreneurship education. The findings of the study will also provide an empirical basis for supporting the mandatory entrepreneurship education for students in the
tertiary institutions. It will also provide a reference material for those venturing into similar research.
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