Entrepreneurship as Engine for Economic Growth in Nigeria

Keynote Address

Entrepreneurship as Engine for Economic Growth in Nigeria  by Professor Steve Azaiki

Quantum Graduation Ceremony
Quantum Business School & Entrepreneurship Centre
#1 Orusa Street By Woke Street, Off Sani Abacha Road,
GRA Phase 3, Port Harcourt

Friday 16th & Saturday 17th March, 2018

It is indeed a great honour and privilege to be a Special Guest of Honour and Keynote speaker for the Quantum Business School and Entrepreneurship Centre graduation ceremony. Let me take this opportunity to extend sincerest thank to the President Mr Victor Itonyo and the organisers of this event.

I would like to begin my address by extending a hearty welcome and a BIG WELL DONE to the 25 graduands who have completed the six-week Entrepreneurship Development Programme. I must draw attention to the gender composition of this group – 5 males and 20 females. This is indeed quite telling in an era where women are called upon to play a greater role in the global economy. From the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, held from 23-26 January 2018 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, Abney and Gonzalez Laya (2018) reports:

The majority of women entrepreneurs run micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) – more than 30% of MSMEs are owned by women.

Abney and Gonzalez Laya (2018) further report that women are “poised to engage in economic activity”, and that empowering them “to participate equally in the global economy could add $28 trillion in GDP growth by 2025”.

I congratulate you the 20 females who are graduating today, you too can contribute to the global economy. But remember that charity begins at home!

For all the graduands, the theme for this Graduation Ceremony is very judicious. Igniting/Equipping & Accelerating Global Entrepreneurs is a very appropriate theme because it conveys a message of continuity. The implication here is building in the present with the view of preparing for the future. The groundwork that you have laid is not only to be operationlised in the local and national settings, but also in regional and international environments. It is only when you can successfully transfer all the knowledge and skills that you have acquired to an inclusive worldwide milieu that you can truly be numbered as global entrepreneur. With this in mind, I am appealing to you to see your graduation day as just a pause in preparation for the challenges and exciting times ahead. In fact, if you do not cultivate such a mind-set, you would be down-playing the motto of the reputable Quantum Business School & Entrepreneurship Centre. Its motto Building Global Leaders with Integrity and Excellence encourages the type of pride, gratification and self-importance that every Nigeria should embrace. It is in a similar spirit that Quantum Business School & Entrepreneurship Centre has created a vision to become a world class educational centre that develops people for entrepreneurship and professionalism for the market place. You the graduands, have a duty to ensure that this vision becomes a reality, and that Quantum Business School & Entrepreneurship Centre continues to develop entrepreneurs whose professionalism allows them to participate in the global market.

So how can entrepreneurship be an engine for economic growth in Nigeria? This address does not allow the space to talk about the numerous ways that demonstrate how entrepreneurship can be an engine for economic growth in Nigeria. I will therefore use the objectives, the critical success factor and the mission of Quantum Business School & Entrepreneurship Centre to make my case:

Objectives

  • To provide a learning environment for the teaching, study, research and development of entrepreneurship.
  • To build a world class business study and training centre in the Nigeria.
  • To provide business support and development services for SMEs in the Nigeria.
  • To provide business networking opportunity for Small Business Owners.

Taking these objectives singularly or collectively, it is clear that, if achieved, entrepreneurs will find themselves in a position to bring about positive economic change. Lifestyle changes are highly possible as standards of living improve. Conditions for work will also change for the better because of the support and developmental services provided for Small Business Enterprises (SMEs). The ‘chain effect’ will also come into play because the many entrepreneurial endeavours can result in new opportunities for would-be entrepreneurs. In this way wealth creation will spread from local communities to the wider Nigerian society. Additionally, a research-and-development teaching environment will promote the training necessary for to create a ripple effect with regard to entrepreneurial activities. You the graduands, as up-and-coming entrepreneurs, are well positioned to become catalysts for economic growth in Nigeria.

Critical Success Factor

Quantum Business School & Entrepreneurship Centre’s key success for the Business School includes:

  1. Maintaining a reputable and qualitative training centre.
  2. To provide leadership and entrepreneurship training that will equip the students for the future.
  3. To provide flexible hours and privacy in our training curriculum
  4. Affordable pricing

Three of the (4) four above factors make mention of the word training. The importance of training should never be underestimated, especially when it comes to promoting economic growth. Findings from scholarly investigations have shown that education and training do play a vital role in a Nigeria’s economic development (Afolabi, Kareem, Okubanjo, Ogunbanjo and Aninkan, 2017; Ojeifo, 2012). Maintenance of quality training is undoubtedly costly. Nevertheless, Quantum Business School & Entrepreneurship Centre has recognised that an important critical success factor is affordable pricing. This recognition allows you the graduands to be able to here today to celebrate your achievements.

Mission

Quantum Business School & Entrepreneurship Centre has shown its commitment to building talented capacity by espousing this mission statement: Our mission is to promote entrepreneurial leadership and performance excellence in the workplace using qualitative training methods and tools that inspires creativity and innovation with strong emphasis on value creation. The focus on creativity, innovation and value creation is not misplaced, especially when viewed against the backdrop of dwindling revenues from Petroleum and high unemployment rates. In such a situation, SME development has taken on an urgent and necessary meaning, which entails helping to fill the need to diversify.

The power to lift this laudable mission off the page and make it work is in the hands of you the graduands. It is only when you leave the confines of these premises and put what you have learned into practice that this mission has practical worth. In doing so you would make your family and friends proud, Quantum Business School & Entrepreneurship Centre proud and yourselves even prouder. But most importantly, you will have the chance to participate in activities that can boost the economy, not solely in South-South Nigeria, but also in all the areas of Nigeria where the need is identified.

For twelve (12) years now Quantum Business School & Entrepreneurship Centre has been focusing on stimulating the development of SMEs in Nigeria. There are many areas from which you the graduands can choose such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Education, Hospital, Transportation, Hospitality, among others. Now that you are ‘qualified’ to develop SMEs, go forth and make every effort to share in nation building. The Federal Government, as well as the State or Local Government, can use your skills in helping to deal with the unemployment problem in Nigeria. You are among the over 2000 entrepreneurs who have been trained at an institution that helps to fill the structural gap in entrepreneurship training in the most Universities curriculum. Three cheers to Quantum Business School & Entrepreneurship Centre and its valued affiliates Regent University Virginia Beach, USA and AMBA, United Kingdom!

In conclusion, I leave you with some food for thought. Consider carefully these words that have been uttered by entrepreneurs who have made massive positive differences to their lives and the global community:

The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks – Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Founder.

When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions. Most people just don’t put in the time or energy to get there – Steve Jobs, Co-Founder of Apple.

Success … is no longer a simple ascension of steps. You need to climb sideways and sometimes down, and sometimes you need to swing from the jungle gym and establish your own turf somewhere else on the playground – Reid Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn.

Graduands, as you extend your entrepreneurial acumen to the practical realm, be prepared to deal with the challenging times ahead. Be prepared too to handle various levels of criticism. Keep in mind the words of Greek Philosopher and Scientist, Aristotle, who contends: There is only one way to avoid criticism: Do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.

So graduands, do something! Uphold the business spirit! Continue to fly the entrepreneurial flag! See entrepreneurship as a very strong medium for economic growth! Be committed to helping the Nigerian economy to grow!

I thank you.

References

Abney, D. and Gonzalez Laya, A. (2018) This is Why Women Must Play a Greater Role in The Global Economy. Available from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/01/this-is-why-women-must-play-a-greater-role-in-the-global-economy/.

Adamu, L. (2015) Repositioning Nigeria University Education for Economic Development through Entrepreneurship Education. Journal of Education and Practice, 6(25), 84-89.

Afolabi, M., Kareem, F., Okubanjo, I., Ogunbanjo, O. and Aninkan, O. (2017) Effect of Entrepreneurship Education on Self-Employment Initiatives among Nigerian Science & Technology Students. Journal of Education and Practice, 8(15), 44-51.

Ojeifo, S. (2012) Entrepreneurship Education in Nigeria. Journal of Education and Practice, 3(14). Available from http://www.iiste.org/Journals/index.php/JEP/article/view/3425.