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By News Express on 19/12/2015

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Entrepreneurship Intelligence, a weekly column designed to empower entrepreneurs and intending entrepreneurs with the requisite information and knowledge to succeed, debuts on Monday, December 21, 2015 in Nigeria’s Global Voice, News Express. It will appear every Monday under the “Enterprise and Opportunities” section of Nigeria’s leading and authoritative online daily newspaper.

Entrepreneurship Intelligence is written by Lawrence Chukwuemeka Nwaodu, a small business expert and enterprise consultant, trained in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, with an MBA in Entrepreneurship from The Management School, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom, and MSc in Finance and Financial Management Services from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Netherlands. Mr. Nwaodu is the Lead Consultant at IDEAS Exchange Consulting, Lagos. His skills and experiences both abroad and in Nigeria are in enterprise management/small business administration, business coaching, wealth and investment management, leadership and strategy, credit analysis (retail) and administration, and risk management.

His exciting new column couldn’t have come at a better time, considering Nigeria’s economic realities where virtually all macro-economic and fiscal indices are trending negative – low oil prices, spiraling inflation, capital market bearish performances, exchange rates depreciation and the dwindling foreign reserves. The outlook for growth in 2016 is weak and several key sectors including oil & gas, manufacturing and government are already in recession while most others are experiencing sharp slowdowns.

With the current economic realities as enumerated above, it will be an uphill task to resolve it any other way than through the intensive promotion of entrepreneurship and SME development as practised by other successful economies and markets.

According to the United Nations industrial development (UNIDO), MSEs or SMEs have a significant role to play in the economic development of any nation because they form the backbone of the private sector and are the biggest employers of labour in both advanced and developing economies. The national bureau of statistics has put the total number of SMEs in Nigeria at 17 million providing jobs to over 32 million people. But this critical sector still lacks the support it deserves.

Where formal labour markets have failed to provide jobs, people have had to turn to entrepreneurship and SME development for economic survival. However, SMEs have high failure rates in the absence of the needed capacity building for success. One critical element research has shown in improving the survival rates of SMEs are in improving the managerial competencies and capability of their managers/owners. A variety of controlled trials by the International Labour Organization (ILO) have shown that access to management training improves significantly SMEs survival and growth rates.

Unemployment is another very big challenge in Nigeria, especially among the youths as the rate swell by the day, as more employees are laid off and a lot more jobs than ever are being outsourced. Presently, there are about 42 million unemployed people in Nigeria (24.7% of the population – NBS) with little hope of ever getting a job in the nearest future.

The foregoing are the stark realities of the times we live in and may as well have become “the new normal” condition of our society, where job security and pensions are becoming extinct while the unemployment market swell by the day, with the few available jobs being outsourced.

The most dramatic is the hint from President Muhammadu Buhari that the centre is equally broke and might not be able to bear the cost of the federal cabinet. This is at a time when the country’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has equally stated that the economy might go into recession in 2016 if nothing drastic is done. The nation’s capital market is not left out as it is presently comatose and losing billions by the day.

Now what do we do as a nation, bearing in mind that most businesses in Nigeria rely on government patronages, contracts and spinoff for survival, as government is the biggest spender? What options then do we have as a people; do we lay back and wait for the worst, come January 2016, or as a people we put on our thinking cap and creatively/innovatively manoeuvre our way out of this gig saw puzzle?

While we consider as a nation, steps that we should suggest to the leadership to take as remedies for the present state of affairs, on individual level it is imperative that Nigerians, especially those in paid employment and owners of small businesses (SMEs), empower themselves effectively with relevant entrepreneurial knowledge and business intelligence to secure the elusive financial security and freedom, as well as gain control over their lives, and acquire the shocks needed to absorb all the economic and financial uncertainties that may arise. As well as utilise their skills, ideas and talents to create businesses that would add up in boosting the market and the economy, while helping to expand the opportunity space in Nigeria for an inclusive society.

This column, therefore, is to equip our teeming readers with the relevant business skills and entrepreneurial knowledge needed to build sustainable businesses and create jobs and wealth, in order to expand the opportunity space in the country and give hope to the youths/early retirees, as well as offer social solutions to the wide spread insecurity and restiveness in the land.

Watch out for Entrepreneurship Intelligence from Monday. Keeping a date with Nwaodu the expert each Monday will not only make for an enjoyable intellectual coitus but will synthesis the windows of opportunity out of the quagmire we presently find ourselves as a people in this country.

•Photo shows entrepreneurship expert Lawrence Chukwuemeka Nwaodu.

Source News Express

Posted 19/12/2015 5:57:58 PM





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