Keys to understanding entrepreneurship in Nigeria

Entrepreneurial forces are relatively strong in this country, as the lack of jobs and a rise in poverty leave few other options for the Nigerian people. Although difficult due to a lack of resources, there are non-profit organizations such as the Fate Foundation in Nigeria that is dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship.

Apart from the information about Nigeria that is so widespread and often negative, there appears to be a recognition of the critical role and place of technology in the development and advancement of the nation. In the past few years, there have been the startups of internet cafes, new Internet Service Providers, computers in some schools, and connectivity hubs that provide access to information at high speeds.

The Nigerian government has created and adopted policies promoting the use of technology in education. The Nigerian Economic Policy 1999-2003, is a comprehensive compendium of President Obasanjo’s policies and guiding principles for the nation.

The policy states: “Government will provide affordable quality education for all Nigerians, the Universal Basic Education, and mass Adult Literacy programs will be pursued in earnest” and in particular, “Government will create incentives to expand access to information and communications technology which will facilitate leap-frogging in order to short-circuit the longer span of development.”

The policy even recommends partnerships with national and international agencies including the United Nations Transfer of Knowledge through Expatriate Nationals program or TOKTEN as it is commonly known.

However, an important distinction between developed and developing nations often lies in the wide disparity between policy pronouncements and policy implementation. Often, signs of this disparity are found to the extent that policies are clear and measurable and that application is consistent. Often developing nations adopt excellent policies and guidelines that could, if well implemented, change the futures of their citizens but alas, they are very often not followed through.

If Nigeria follows-through with its new laws guiding education and technology with action and implementation, and the people of Nigeria attain their educational goals and professional potential with the tools available to the world today we will witness the transformation of what is presently a Third world giant (or toothless bulldog) into an emerging economic giant. These are attainable goals.

  1. Entrepreneurship activity in Nigeria is primarily based on necessity.
  2. The majority of entrepreneurs in the country are operating in Lagos, the former capital of the country.
  3. Nigeria’s economic decline since the 1980s has created a hostile environment that is unfavorable to entrepreneurial success.
  4. The Nigerian infrastructure limits entrepreneurial effectiveness and is a barrier to success.
  5. The high cost of doing business in Nigeria, such as the lack of adequate electricity and basic needs by a large amount of the population stifle entrepreneurial activity.
  6. Getting venture capital to finance entrepreneurial endeavours in Nigeria is very difficult because of political and economic instability.
  7. The policies of the Nigerian government are a barrier to the success of large-scale entrepreneurial success for many Nigerians. The government is plagued by corruption and greed. The government systematically ignores laws that are already in place to promote free enterprise.
  8. The lack of enforcement of Nigerian patent laws discourages entrepreneurs from commercializing their ideas and inventions.
  9. The constant political turmoil in the country greatly limits foreign investors who would be willing to provide resources for entrepreneurship in the country, which is very rich in natural resources.
  10. Political and social movements strongly affect the level of entrepreneurial activity in Nigeria. Religious intolerance and ethnic warfare limit the country’s progress in some areas of the country.
  11. Female entrepreneurs in Nigeria are often underestimated and overlooked.
  12. Female entrepreneurs in Nigeria are often hindered because of cultural barriers such as male/female role definitions that label women inherently inferior to men.
  13. Nigeria has the 2nd largest GDP in Africa, South Africa has the largest.
  14. The Ibo ethnic group in Nigeria is recognized internationally for its culture of entrepreneurship.
  15. The majority of entrepreneurs in the country are operating in the capital city of Abuja.
  16. Control my own life, to be my own boss, freedom to adopt a personal approach to work, and attain family security are some of the reasons Nigerians engage in entrepreneurial activity.
  17. The Nigerian government has a program in place that promotes exports from Nigeria to other countries, which can be helpful for entrepreneurs looking to do business in Europe or the United States.
  18. Lower taxes and increased price ceilings have increased the incentives to entrepreneurs in the country.
  19. Nigeria is progressively trying to incorporate modern technology into its country.
  20. Nigeria is trying to actively promote technology in its educational system with the use of the internet.
  21. Although there are a lot of barriers, entrepreneurship in Nigeria is necessary for the country to become a developed nation.