Entrepreneur Paper 10: Role of Government Counted

By Dr. Nicholas Okoye (DBA) |   10 July 2015   |   11:47 pm  


In case you are just joining me on this National Development Strategy series, over the last twenty months or so, I have talked in depth about the nine pillars of National Development and I have advised on solutions as to how we could get our Country and our States back on the right track for development and prosperity.

The process has taken us to all the areas of development which some like to make complicated but I tend to simplify it as much as possible. If you develop your people you will be developing your nation in return as all Nations are built on people.

We in Nigeria and many parts of Africa seem to have this formula upside down. We are more interested in developing infrastructure, and we neglect the development of the people. The result of this failed strategy is that the infrastructure we develop never lasts, it cannot be maintained and it soon gets dilapidated, dysfunctional and unserviceable.

This is our experience over and over and over again. Our Governors and Leaders cannot resist the temptation to build castles in the moon, white elephant projects that one can use to beat his or her chest that this was built during my time.

A big one for Governors is always roads, they just to build roads. And if you look at any Governor’s progress report it is all about roads. However you leave the people undeveloped, so they cannot appreciate the work you have put into your white elephants and in most cases the white elephants get abandoned.

The interesting thing is that if our Leaders could invest in developing their people all other aspects of development will follow quickly. Smart people will always find a way to put things right. That is what civilization is all about. Our problems of insufficient power, water and poor health care are all challenges that smart people can tackle very easily if only we developed enough smart people. So my strategy would be to get our Nation on the path to a more even distribution of wealth and happiness we need to provide more skills to our young people across the board. And since we are trying to solve a major national crisis, which is our unemployment situation and we have collectively agreed that Entrepreneurship is the way to go for taking on unemployment from a national prospective, then what we really need is entrepreneurship education.

Entrepreneurship Skills
I have defined entrepreneurship in earlier papers. I had said clearly that meeting the needs of a population or solving a problem for a fair price, is a clear definition and intention of an Entrepreneur. In this respect if we are to support the skills of our new entrepreneurs will need to lay out the needs and opportunities of our societies that need filling so we can teach our young people how to fill these needs and create jobs for themselves in the process. We also need to teach them what it means to be an entrepreneur and how to manage and run a successful business.

There are so many aspects to Entrepreneurship education and in many cases so many trainers leave out the most important parts of the training that is required. I have reviewed the curriculum of some of the Entrepreneurship centers across the country and I have seen that there is so much that is missing in the material that is being used to train our next generation of Entrepreneurs.

I have chosen to start at the very beginning. I remember when I watched “The Sound of Music” for the first time, it captivated me. However a quote from that movie has stayed with me all these years. Maria, the catholic nun who turned into a nanny and governorness for the Vontrap family children had this to say about teaching the children how to sing. She said when we are learning how to read we normally would begin with A, B,C… and so when we learn how to sign we must begin with Do, Ray, Me. The first three notes of music. In Entrepreneurship have taken the same approach and so I have broken down the beginning of teaching for Entrepreneurship to be the MINDSET. I have taken this knowledge and developed it into a course, a workshop and an Entrepreneurship Clinic called STARTUP NIGERIA.

Getting Nigerians to get started in this entrepreneurship game is very important. For several reasons, one is that this is the solution for our prosperity as a nation. And most importantly this is the most sustainable strategy for NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT going forward. My vision is to see STARTUP NIGERIA workshops going on all over Nigeria, I intend to stimulate the creation of an Entrepreneurial Nation out of Nigeria, by spreading the drive and the hungry for Entrepreneurship all across the Nation. We have the created the platform in which we intend to get this done, the next steps is to build the World Class team that will help us to get there.

We believe that the first step is the entrepreneurial mindset, and then an entrepreneur must understand the economy in which he or she is operating. They must understand their particular market and then they need to understand the value chain in which their product or service operates. They need some technical knowledge, they need financial knowledge, and marketing as well as sales knowledge and they need knowledge of operating and project management. All these we deliver at STARTUP NIGERIA in an effort to make sure that our Entrepreneurs will be the best the country will produce in the months and years ahead.

We are currently building partnerships with training schools and centers across Nigeria that will offer STARTUP NIGERIA Entrepreneurship studies so that together we can build a Nation of Entrepreneurs. If you can deliver on this mandate and we have not contacted you please contact us.

Strategic partnerships are also being built at the State level to ensure that young people get the knowledge and training they need to be successful. Some of the greatest entrepreneurship ideas can go wrong because the entrepreneur has not gotten the required training to function in an environment like ours. So we will work with local people who understand the local environment.

The other day I had a group of young people in a class and I was able to take on their business challenges and business decisions in class. We discussed in a case study style, what scenarios are open to them to use in certain situations and we were able to come up with many solutions. It was an exciting experience and it helped me to cement the fact that we are on the right path with this STARTUP NIGERIA initiative.

I believe that everyone in Nigeria is a stake holder. We all need to put hands together. We need to save this country from herself. We cannot sit in our homes and expect everything will suddenly get better. It won’t we need champions we need Leaders who can carry the relay and run with it.

Our Business Leaders
You folks are doing well, your children fly in private jets and first class and your wives carry the most expensive leather bags known to man. However right outside your home there are poor people that do not have a future, they do not have hope and they do not have a chance. We must change all that and you can help. If you can afford to set aside one hundred thousand naira then please come and talk to us. We will tell you how we can change the lives of thousands of young people together. If you are a little self-centered that is okay we can focus on your own network, your immediate employees can put work with us as volunteers and we can use their skills to help others. I believe that thousands of lives can be saved with this approach.

Our Political Leaders
You folks are the ones that are on top of the situation. Whereas you have access to the Nation’s and the State’s resources you are not putting it to great use. We can look beyond that and see if you can use your personal and private wealth to help those around you. Once again let’s have a few of you that can afford the time or the money to change the lives of a few young people and that will make a World of a difference.

Our Churches
You folks have the hearts and minds of the people. You have very poor people that are giving you their life’s savings. Let’s us put that money to better use. Your very expensive schools and hospitals will not affect the millions of people in our population. However if you commit to Entrepreneurship then you can really make a difference. We can help.

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