Are Entrepreneurs Vital to the Development of an Economy?

National Bureau of Statistics reports that the Nigerian economic growth has been declining since the second quarter of 2014 which led to an economic recession in quarter two of 2016. The unemployment rate also increased as a result of the recession, and even if Nigeria is officially out of a recession, it usually takes time for things to stabilize. If people don't make the initiative and create opportunities for themselves and others, it will take an even longer time for things to start thriving again in Nigeria. This is where entrepreneurs step in to bridge the gap.

An entrepreneur is someone who sees a need in the society and creates an avenue to meet that need. Economies in developed countries thrive because of entrepreneurs; Countries like China and the United States are at the level they are today because they encourage entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs not only create jobs for themselves, but also for others. This, in turn, reduces unemployment rates, lowers crime rates, stabilizes the economy, improves the standard of living, creates wealth, and adds to the overall GDP of the country and Per Capita Income (a measure of a country’s economic output that accounts for its number of people).

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Creation of Job Opportunities

An entrepreneur recognizes a need and creates a solution for that need in the society. For example, the transportation system has been in place for decades, if you need to go from Point A to B, all you had to do was step out of your house and flag down a taxi or go to a bus stop and join a bus to your destination. No one really thought of how the transportation system will be affected by technology until the invention of cell phones. That invention also resulted in the creation/development of mobile applications.

Then someone who saw this as an opportunity for profit thought— what if you can request a taxi by sending a text or by pressing a button? That was how UBER started in 2009 and began operation in San Francisco in 2010. Since then the company has grown to what is now valued at $60 billion according to Business Insider. UBER has not only added to the overall GDP of the United States, but it has also boosted the economy in Africa as well since they went international by helping provide full-time jobs and part-time jobs for unemployed and underemployed youths respectively.

Bringing it back home to Nigeria, Linda Ikeji and Uche Pedro are also great examples of young people who used their passion to tap into the spirit of entrepreneurship. Both creators of online blogs now worth hundreds of millions of Naira reportedly, have created countless opportunities for young people who don’t have to wait for hand-outs to be given to them by the government or big companies in Nigeria. These two ladies have in no doubt added to the economic growth and development of Nigeria.

Reduction of Crime Rates

Crime rates go up due to unemployment. Prostitution, gangs, and drug use are prevalent in impoverished communities across Nigeria, and even in the world as a whole, crime is at an all-time high because these people don’t have the means to fend for themselves and their families. So they turn to crime to be able to stay afloat and hopefully make something for their lives in the future.

An Entrepreneur through job creation can also help reduce the crime rate in any given society because they provide opportunities for people to come out of poverty. Entrepreneurs also invest in local nonprofit organizations, which help in the development of rural areas, like providing education and healthcare systems, things that are usually not accessible to people in such communities. By providing these opportunities, crime reduces.

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Improvement of Standard of Living

Entrepreneurs have the unique opportunity to be innovative. They can try several methods and arrive at one that works best and will be of great benefit to society. Social Media is an excellent example of this point. For example, Instagram can be used as a great marketing tool to drive profit. If you are on Instagram, you are probably putting something out there for people to buy into. Gone are the days where you have to know somebody who knows somebody to recommend a product or service for you.

Now you can just log onto Instagram through your smartphone which means this can be done anywhere, type into the search box whatever you need, and countless pages pop up with what you are looking for. You can now easily sort through their reviews, the number of followers they have and so on to make an informed decision. Instagram has now connected billions of people across the globe, something that wasn’t even thought of, about 25 years ago.

And this is because of someone who recognized a possible need to eliminate the stress of going to the marketplace to find something, or just the need to culminate friendships with people across the world only by the click of a button, decided to then bridge that gap through social media. Businesses now profit from social media; just about every business/company has a social media page, people are now hired as managers of social media pages and also as a social media analyst, positions that were unheard of when I was growing up. Because of the change in times and technology, more unique job opportunities are created through entrepreneurship and innovation.

In conclusion, more people should be encouraged to go into entrepreneurship; everyone has a skill that can be developed into something which can be turned into wealth. Universities should have programs in place that develops skills, empowers and builds people to become successful entrepreneurs. Kids also should be exposed to think outside the box. Math, science, English, and art can be used with the advent of technology to meet a need or want they care about. The government should also engage people and encourage the society to take risks and motivate many to dabble into their passions because entrepreneurs are vital to the economic growth and development of not just a country, but the world at large.

Do you have a passion that you have developed within the past two years, that is innovative and does it address a social or community challenge in your country or for your fellow citizens? Register with TOTAL, for the STARTUPPER OF THE YEAR challenge. Total is using this initiative to support entrepreneurs with good ideas and projects that help address a widespread problem affecting communities in your country (Applies to only Africa). Click the link to find out more—

PS: Only seven days left to apply!

For aspiring entrepreneurs in Africa, you can also check out The Tony Elumelu Foundation for a possible partnership, funding and developments of ideas.

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