Entrepreneurship development in Nigeria
Currently, there is little evidence that suggests that the potential and interests of this group are considered in the development of entrepreneurship in Nigeria. One strategy that this insight into entrepreneurship interest by government workers can motivate is the inclusion of a part time model in the national policy.
Internationally, there is some evidence of the part time model in entrepreneurship, particularly in academia (Doutriaux, 1987). In Nigeria currently, there is a lack of a nationally recognised strategy for using part time arrangement as an entrée into full time entrepreneurship careers, as is the case in other economies (Smallbone and Welter, 2001).
European Journal of Business and Management ISSN 22 Figure 3: Employment status Another novel strategy that can be considered in engaging public servants who are interested in entrepreneurship is better structuring and facilitation of their knowledge and experience of entrepreneurial activity. Already, in Nigeria’s service rules, public servants can access sabbatical leave (FRN, 2006). In-service training relating to entrepreneurship can be provided for public servants who aim to use their sabbatical leave to undertake entrepreneurial ventures.
Another group within this demography that can benefit from this training are public servants who are close to retirement. With the relevant training, interested individuals will not only be more empowered to invest terminal benefits, they will also help create jobs and improve the national economy.
One common criticism of the Nigerian economy has been the disproportionate focus on the oil and gas sector (Pinto, 1987; Yakubu and Akanegbu, 2015). Recently however, there has been significant debate regarding the need, as well as strategies for diversifying the national economy (Imoudu, 2012; Henley, 2012).
This underpinned this study’s objective of exploring how respondents perceived that the various relevant sectors could impact on economic growth as well as national development. Figure 4 presents the views of the respondents in this area.
Figure 4: Perceived impact of various sectors of National development From the findings, almost half (45%) of the sample agreed that that the agricultural sector had potential to make the most impact on national development. The agricultural sector in Nigeria is currently undergoing significant reforms (Ismail et al., 2014; Kolade and Harpham, 2014; Fitzmaurice, 2014). Although the major objective is to contribute to the diversification of the national economy, it is believed that this sector can help achieve other important developmental goals. For instance, the reforms can help to generate employment for Nigerian youth, address rural poverty and hunger, as well as help achieve national food sustainability (Tersoo, 2014; Abila, 2012; Ugwu and Kanu, 2012).
Internationally, entrepreneurs have played key roles in these agricultural reforms aimed at bolstering national development. For instance, the young agropreneur programme in Malaysia (Kadir and Quarters, 2010; Halim, and Hamid, 2011).
Despite the fact that these reforms are a government initiative, without a robust engagement of the target population, it is unlikely that policy objectives will be met. The findings of our study suggest that individuals interested in entrepreneurship in Nigeria understand and identify with government’s strategy of using the agricultural sector to diversify the economy and improve national development.
Other sectors that participants perceived could positively influence national development were education and training (16 per cent) and information technology (16 per cent). Although only a small proportion of the respondents seemed to engage with these sectors, international evidence indicates that there is significant potential for entrepreneurs to use these sectors as platforms for economic empowerment and national development (Ein-Dor et al., 1997; Lim and Xavier, 2015).
Dr. Nicholas Okoye is the Nigerian Leadership Summit Group, Lagos, while Dr. Obi Peter Adigwe is Consultant, National Assembly, Abuja, Nigeria.