The bedrock of a sustainably developed nation is its effective entrepreneurship. The increase of entrepreneurial activities in nation’s wealth and employment can be measured either directly or through economic growth rates. Entrepreneurship and small business development are the backbones of many country’s economies. countries who give entrepreneurship maximum attention are in better positions of having an improved economy as well as industrialization.
“Entrepreneurs is at the heart of a credible youth employment strategy”, says Tony Elumelu. He insists that “Entrepreneurship will enable our young people to create their jobs, become employers, and take charge of their future, instead of letting the future happen to them”. Since the inception of Entrepreneurship in Nigeria, there has been a unique gradual change.
Youths are key stakeholders of the society as well as ‘crowned future leaders’ of our great nation. The involvement of youths in entrepreneurship is great hope for the better future of our nation, Nigeria. The importance of youth entrepreneurship in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized as it is an important tool in stimulating the nation’s economy. This is because each entrepreneur brings about benefits not only for himself but also for those around.
Unemployment has been a leading root cause of instability in our society and the people who have been greatly affected are the youths. Youth Entrepreneurship is the antidote of unemployment as it creates employment opportunities for youths as well as the other young people they employ. The result of this poison (unemployment) ranges from killings to rituals, kidnapping, cultism, robbery, corruption, etc. Youth Entrepreneurship helps to bring ostracized youth back into the economic mainstream and also deal with some of the socio-psychological problems and delinquency that arises from joblessness.
According to Christian Amaonwu, “if our government does have great vision for this country, they would have known that creating an enabling environments for entrepreneurs to thrive, should be their core focus. Because when an environment that does not stifle entrepreneurial endeavors through policies that kill such acts, is provided, entrepreneurs will most likely take advantage of the environment and let their creativity go to work. Such feats often result in more jobs being created and also forces the majority of unemployed youths to dabble into becoming entrepreneurs. The reason is that, generally, humans have a thing for hard-mentality, that is; people will generally do what they see others do, that is why crime is getting the better part of the country because that seems to be the norm. If one-third of graduates from Nigerian universities end up as successful entrepreneurs, then the remaining two-thirds will have employment. The government talking about creating jobs is futility because it’s impossible to create jobs that will accommodate half the graduate populace”.
Also, Youth Entrepreneurship helps to develop new skills and experiences, promote innovations and resilience in youths. The success of youth entrepreneurship is highly dependent on the government. The government is vested with so much power as they can create an enabling environment that births a successful youth entrepreneurship scheme via policymaking. Favorable policies of the government will be of help to the success of the entrepreneurial scheme in the diaspora which will help reduce the vices in our nation which is a thorn on the flesh of every citizen as well as the government. The main objective of entrepreneurship policy is to stimulate higher levels of entrepreneurial activity by influencing a greater supply of new entrepreneurs.
There are favorable policies that the government can promote, some of which are already in existence but young entrepreneurs are not aware of it and these policies allow for growth. Some of these policies include; reduction of tax, provision for grants (support for small businesses), the inclusion of skill acquisition programs to the school curriculum, and intellectual property right. The reduction of tax is one of the policies that the government can promote to ensure an enabling environment were entrepreneurs can thrive. The government needs to continually reform its tax policies so that they help small businesses grow. Reducing corporate tax or reforming laws to benefit a small business can have a positive effect on the economy by increasing the possibilities of starting up new ventures. The best interest of entrepreneurs should be considered when making policy in regards to taxation as the result of entrepreneurship will be of immense benefit to not only entrepreneurs but also the government as entrepreneurs give back to the society greatly.
The issue of taxation policy is very important especially for small businesses, young entrepreneurs and new ventures. Young entrepreneurs use almost all of their profits in paying taxes with little or nothing for themselves. No doubt that every government needs at least a minimal level of taxation to function, but these taxes tend to increase the cost of the activity (entrepreneurship) being taxed.
The provision of grants or funding for small businesses and startups is another policy that should be promoted. Over time, we hear youths saying that they have brilliant ideas or possible solutions to problems that could fetch them wealth, some have amazing business plans but they are unable to execute all their wonderful plans and bring their ideas to reality because of ‘lack of capital’. The government should help young people who are willing to create a niche for themselves in society, solve problems via providing certain goods and services which will, in turn, benefit the society.
The policy of providing grants for small businesses should be promoted to aid young entrepreneurs. The government can assist in the area of providing access to capital and investment for youth entrepreneurs by encouraging local banks to work with startups and small businesses by providing loans or investment. The government can offer state loans that target small businesses, startups, or female entrepreneurs.
The inclusion of entrepreneurship or skills acquisition program to the school curriculum is another favorable policy that will aid the growth of youth entrepreneurship. 70% of our youths are dependent on white-collar jobs. The truth is that there are no sufficient white-collar jobs for every youth. Youths need to shift their minds from total dependency on white-collar jobs to creating their jobs and employing others. This is the beauty of entrepreneurship.
Also, most youths do not have any skill, some are just filled with theoretical knowledge of their discipline with little or no idea on how to apply what they know (practical). This is a major cause of unemployment in Nigeria. If skills acquisition programs or entrepreneurship is included in the school curriculum, youths will be equipped with the necessary skills they have chosen to learn and this will help create a great number of jobs in the country.
Promoting entrepreneurship at the educational level will create a culture of innovative, solution-orientated individuals who will grow to start their businesses and contribute to the economy. If the youth are engaged and trained to focus on alternative forms of income generation rather than the traditional formal employment (white-collar jobs), it will drive a solid entrepreneurial culture.
Intellectual Property Rights is a favorable policy that will promote youth entrepreneurship in Nigeria, as the protection of the intellectual property is important to promote innovation by protecting ideas. Entrepreneurs will not be willing to take the risk of allowing their solutions, innovations, ideas to develop if they fear that they will be appropriated. Intellectual Property Right Policy is one that legally assures entrepreneurs, especially youth entrepreneurship to develop or share their ideas or allow them to grow as it protects their ideas and also ensures that they enjoy the benefits of them sharing or developing their ideas, innovations or solutions.
Youth entrepreneurship is the foundation for growth, national development, and hope of the future of our dear nation as young entrepreneurs are indispensable and must be given paramount attention by the government.
Nnaemeka, Esther Chisara is a graduate of English Education from the Tai Solarin University of Education. She is a 21st-century Teacher and a passionate writer on Education and life experiences.