THE INFLUENCE OF ENTREPRENEURIAL EDUCATION ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
1.1 Background of the Study
The experiences of developed economies in relation to the roles played by entrepreneurship buttress the fact that the importance of entrepreneurship cannot be overemphasized especially among the developing countries. In order to highlight its significance in relation to the growth and development of a given economy, entrepreneurship has been variously referred to as a “source of employment generation”. This is because entrepreneurial activities have been found to be capable of making positive impacts on the economy of a nation and educational quality of life of the people (Adejumo, 2010).
Studies have established its positive relationship with stimulation of economic growth; employment generation; education and empowerment of the disadvantaged segment of the population, which include women and the poor (Oluremi and Gbenga, 2011; Thomas, 2010).
These resources require the ability to identify potentially useful and economically viable fields of Endeavour’s. Nigerians have made their marks in diverse fields such as science, technology, academics, business and entertainment. Thus, entrepreneurship activities and innovative ingenuity in Enugu North have developed enterprises in the following areas; Agricultural/agroallied activities where there are foodstuffs, restaurants, fast food vending etc.
In the area of information and telecom business, there are manufacturing and repairs of GSM accessories and the printing and selling of Recharge cards. In hospitality and tourism business, there are hotels, accommodation, resorts centers, film and home video production. In the area of environmental and waste management business, there is refuse collection/disposal, recyclement, and drainage/sewage construction job. In the area of financial banking services, there are banking, insurance and stock trading. In engineering and fabrication work, there are machines and tools fabrications. There is also the building and construction, where there are plan and design services and material sourcing (Agbeze, 2012).
Judging therefore by the ugly state of the Nigeria economy sequel to the inherent corruption and global economic crunch, entrepreneurship development is very imperative if the nation’s economic prosperity is to be restored in the nearest future Indisputably, Nigeria is among the few naturally and abundantly endowed economies in the world with both human ingenuity and material resources. It concerns this study enormously that irrespective of spatial and natural abundances of the country, greater percentage of the nation’s citizens are still living under US 1 dollar a day.
The concept of economic growth is relevant at levels of firms, regions, industries and nations, hence, linking entrepreneurship to economic growth means linking the individual level to aggregate levels. In order to consider this link we first pay attention to a definition of ‘entrepreneurship’ inspired by Hebert and Link (2009), Bull and Willard (2013) and Lumpkin and Dess (2016), the following definition of entrepreneurship can be proposed: Entrepreneurship is the manifest ability and willingness of individuals, on their own, in teams, within and outside existing organizations to perceive and create new economic opportunities (new products, new production methods, new organizational schemes and new product-market combinations), and to introduce their ideas in the market, in the face of uncertainty and other obstacles, by making decisions on location, form and the use of resources and institutions.
Essentially, entrepreneurship is a behavioural characteristic of persons. It should be noted that entrepreneurship is not an occupation and that entrepreneurs are not a well-defined occupational class of persons. Even obvious entrepreneurs may exhibit their entrepreneurship activities only during a certain phase of their career and/or concerning a certain part of their activities.
Entrepreneurship is not synonymous with small business. Certainly, small firms are an outstanding vehicle for individuals to channel their entrepreneurial ambitions. The small firm is an extension of the individual in charge (Lumpkin and Dess, 2006). However, entrepreneurship is not restricted to persons starting or operating an (innovative) small firm. Enterprising individuals in large firms, the so-called ‘entrepreneurs’ or ‘corporate entrepreneurs’, undertake entrepreneurial actions as well.
In these environments there is a tendency of ‘mimicking smallness’, for instance using business units, subsidiaries or joint ventures. Entrepreneurship is ‘at the heart of national advantage’ (Porter, 2010). Concerning the role of entrepreneurship in stimulating economic growth, many links have been discussed.
It is of eminent importance for carrying out innovations and for enhancing rivalry. This directs our attention to two related phenomena of the 1980s and 1990s: the resurgence of small business and the revival of entrepreneurship. There is ample evidence that economic activity moved away from large firms to small firms in the 1970s and 1980s. The most impressive and also the most cited is the share of the 500 largest American firms, the so-called Fortune 500. Their employment share dropped from 20 percent in 1970 to 8.5 percent in 1996.
Carlsson (2012) provide evidence concerning manufacturing industries in countries in varying stages of economic development. They advanced two explanations for the shift toward smallness. The first deals with fundamental changes in the world economy from the 1970s onwards. These changes relate to the intensification of global competition, the increase in the degree of uncertainty and the growth in market fragmentation.
The second deals with changes in the character of technological progress, which shows that flexible automation has various effects resulting in a shift from large to smaller firms. Also Piore and Sable (2014) argue that the instability of markets in the 1970s resulted in the demise of mass production and promoted flexible specialization. This fundamental change in the path of technological development led to the occurrence of vast diseconomies of scale.
Brock (2012) argue that the shift away from large firms is not confined to manufacturing industries and provide four more reasons why this shift has occurred: the increase of labor supply leading to lower real wages and coinciding with an increasing level of education; changes in consumer tastes; relaxation of (entry) regulations and the fact that we are in a period of creative destruction.
Loveman and Sengenberger (2011) stress the influence of two trends of industrial restructuring: that of decentralization and vertical disintegration and that of the formation of new business communities. These intermediate forms of market coordination flourish owing to declining costs of transaction. Furthermore, they emphasize the role of public and private policies promoting the small business sector. Audretsch and Thurik (2010) point at the necessary shift towards the knowledge based economy being the driving force behind the move from large to smaller businesses.
The causes of this shift are one aspect. Its consequences cover a different area of research. He distinguishes four consequences of the increased importance of small firms: entrepreneurship, routes of innovation, industry dynamics and job generation.
His claims are that small firms play an important role in the economy serving as agents of change by their entrepreneurial activity, being the source of considerable innovative activity, stimulating industry evolution and creating an important share of the newly generated jobs. Acs and Audretsch (2011) are key references on the role of smallness in the process of innovative activities.
The re-evaluation of the role of small firms is related to a renewed attention to the role of entrepreneurship in firms. In case the size class distribution has an influence on growth, it must be differences in organization that matter. The major difference between the organization of a large firm and a small one is the role of ownership and management. In a small firm usually there is one person or a very small group of persons, which is in control and which shapes the firm and its future. The role of such a person is often described with the term ‘entrepreneurship’. Also, attention has been given to the role of entrepreneurship in economic development, i.e., for the functioning of markets.
Many economists and politicians now have an intuition that there is a positive impact of entrepreneurship on the growth of GDP and employment. Furthermore, many stress the role of the entrepreneur in implementing innovations. This renewed interest of politicians and economists coincides with a revival of business ownership rates in most Western economies.
Entrepreneurship is like riding bicycle, you keep moving up or fall down, it reminds us that people who succeed are the efficient few with right ambition, and courage and they have power to develop themselves. Entrepreneurship brings about desired change and accelerates economic development. The role of entrepreneur was thus a practical response to a need for an organ that will cater for the interest and welfare of people in business and to business development in Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Entrepreneurship activities are very fundamental to any meaningful development of an economy (Ogundele and Ashamu, 2011). This explains the reason behind the government conscious policy statements that are often made in this direction. However, it has been noted that the benefit and relevance of entrepreneurship to accelerate economic growth cannot be achieved in isolation without the existence of the right opportunities that serve as the wheel of its development in education (Abdullahi, 2012).
Chukwuemeka, Nzewi & Okigbo (2010) opine that a cursory look at Nigeria indicates that there is either lack of entrepreneurship ability or that the government entrepreneurship oriented policies are not effective.
The gains of entrepreneurship are only realized, however, if the business environment is receptive to innovation. In addition, policymakers need to prepare for the potential job losses that can occur in the medium term through ‘’creative destruction’’ as entrepreneurs strive for increased productivity (Sen, 2010). However, the theoretical and empirical cases for understanding the role of entrepreneurship are not yet solid.
Evidence on whether entrepreneurship matters for economic growth is not straightforward; how entrepreneurship has been promoted and how it contributed to development in countries like China and the East Asian Tigers is still a matter of contention; and whether and why private-sector development initiatives may be effective is not well understood (Naude, 2011). Scrutiny of the relationship between entrepreneurship education and economic development is needed.
Above all, this study desires to look critically into the influence of entrepreneurial development on economic education in Enugu North Local Government Area of Enugu State.
Lawson Peter – Chief Editor in Projectvilla Nigeria. A writer and academic researcher.