In this interview with RAHEEMAH AROGUNDADE, the Dean, School of Communication and Liberal Studies, Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu, Mr Segun Daisi, talks about the role of entrepreneurs in an economy and shares tips for entrepreneurial success
What does entrepreneurship mean to you?
In my understanding, an entrepreneur is the self-employed individual who manages scarce resources at the risk of either profit or loss.
What prospects are in the entrepreneurial sector?
The first visible prospect of entrepreneurship is job creation. We realise that entrepreneurial activities facilitate and extend employment opportunities. Another prospect is that it helps in poverty alleviation. When people start businesses, they createa source of livelihood for themselves and others. Additionally, it will help to reduce the prevalence of criminal activities.
Similarly, entrepreneurship helps in capacity building and utilisation. It makes people develop business management and marketing skills. It also facilitates strategic and critical thinking in businessmen and women. Finally, entrepreneurship contributes to the growth of an economy.
What are the major challenges militating against the successful practice of entrepreneurship in Nigeria?
The most notable challenge would be lack of innovative business ideas. Very often, we see people selling the same range of goods within the same neighbourhood. There is no diversification of any sort. Another challenge is the unavailability of venture capital. The amount of money invested in a business should be considered in terms of its potential for profit and loss. Unfortunately, it is usually inadequate or inaccessible. In addition, business personnel have poor or no mentorship. The chances are that if a businessman or woman has a mentor to guide them, the business will be successful, as against running a business with no experience or tutelage. Other challenges include low entrepreneurial capacity, poor infrastructure and production of sub-standard products.
In what ways can an entrepreneur be successful in business?
To grow in a business, the entrepreneur must be prudent when it comes to the management of scarce economic resources. Also, the entrepreneur should be adequately groomed to take up any business activity and build his/her capacity. Another feature that could promote growth is the production of top quality products.
It is also important to maintain corporate discipline and integrity when handling a business. A businessman should explore export opportunities for his/her goods and services. This will go a long way in maintaining a consistent brand identity, increasing revenue and customer loyalty and improving the economy. Finally, to be a successful entrepreneur, one has to be diligent and learn to follow due process.
How well do you think entrepreneurs thrive in the midst of Nigeria’s harsh economy?
Entrepreneurs have thriven but not so well in Nigeria due to certain business-specific challenges, some of which have been mentioned above. However, the roles recently played by the Bank of Industry and some non-governmental organisations and religious organisations have been beneficial, though not entirely significant.
In what ways has the unstable economy affected entrepreneurial growth?
The unstable Nigerian economy has sadly affected the entrepreneurial growth in the country in many ways. First, the unstable economy has brought about high inflation, increased interest rate and high foreign exchange rate. It has also succeeded in rendering our electricity supply erratic, resulting in high cost of alternative energy. In addition, the unstable economy has made it difficult to access loans. Indirectly, it has led to poor infrastructure. One other effect of the unstable economy is the promotion of weak political will on entrepreneurship.
Can entrepreneurial activities help to boost Nigeria’s economy?
Entrepreneurial activities can, to a large extent, boost economic growth.