EVALUATE THE ROLE OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF AKWA IBOM STATE
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The emergence and development of entrepreneurship is an important phenomenon in contemporary economies (Stefanovic et al, 45). (Chandler 8) defines entrepreneurship as dealing with uncertainty, making a distinction between risk, which can be calculated, and uncertainty, which cannot. (Schumpeter 66) describes the entrepreneur as the bearer of the mechanism for change and economic development, and entrepreneurship as the undertaking of new ideas and new combinations, that is innovations. Drucker (93) describes the entrepreneur as a person who is willing to risk his capital and other resources in new business venture, from which he expects substantial rewards if not immediately, then in the foreseeable future. Okpara (3-4) sees the entrepreneur as an individual who has the zeal and ability to find and evaluate opportunities. He further observes that they are calculated risk-takers, who enjoy the excitement of challenges, not necessarily gamblers. The role of entrepreneurship has been different across countries but this research is beaming its search light on the economic development in Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria. Holcombe (60) claims that, “the engine of economic growth is entrepreneurship.” Entrepreneurship has been assessed as a driving force of decentralisation, economic restructuring and movement in the direction of market economy (Smallbone, et al., 16).
Entrepreneurship is strongly linked to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), which are the main developing force of the developed market economies (Stefanovic et al, 29) that provides the spring board for industrial development and economic growth.
Apart from entrepreneurs having the potentials for ensuring a self-reliant industrial development, in terms of ability to depend on local raw materials, they also generate more employment per unit of investment and guarantee an even industrial development, including the rural areas (Roy & Wheeler, 36). Consequently, governments at all levels in Nigeria including Akwa Ibom state government are stepping up efforts in promoting the development of Entrepreneurship through increased establishment of schemes that render financial and technical assistance to entrepreneurs. In Nigeria as a whole, Entrepreneurship provide over 90% of employment opportunities available in the manufacturing sector and account for about 70 % of aggregate employment created per annum (Onwumere, 20). In fact, SMEs have the potential to serve as engine for wealth creation, employment generation, entrepreneurial skills development and sustainable economic development of Nigeria as the creativity and ingenuity of entrepreneurs in the utilization of the abundant non oil natural resources of this nation will provide a sustainable platform/spring board for industrial development and economic growth as is the case in the industrialized and economically developed societies (Schmiemann, 78). Accordingly Van Praag & Cramer (21) observed that more jobs are created worldwide through SMEs than large scale enterprises per unit of energy consumed. Also, it is interesting to note that the United States of America, China, Germany, Japan etc (the large industrialized economy), significantly focus on entrepreneurship and SMEs as engine of industrial development and economic growth (Robichaud et al, 51). Therefore, the same should hold true for every developing country such as Nigeria. In fact the success stories of India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea Republic, Brazil, and Singapore etc in entrepreneurship development and the attendant effects on their rapid industrialization (Ebiringa, 211) should serve as incentive to the less developed countries of Africa, especially Nigeria. The need to unmask the potentials and roles of the entrepreneurship sub-sector to Nigeria’s industrial and economic development still remains an issue of that deserve scientific research, hence the need for this study to ascertain the role of entrepreneurship in the economic development of Akwa Ibom state.
Entrepreneurship occupies a place of pride in virtually every country or state. Because of their significant roles in the development and growth of various economies, they have aptly been referred to as “the engine of growth” and “catalysts for socio-economic transformation of any country.” Entrepreneurship represent a veritable vehicle for the achievement of national economic objectives of employment generation and poverty reduction at low investment cost as well as the development of entrepreneurial capabilities including indigenous technology. Other intrinsic benefits of vibrant entrepreneurship include access to the infrastructural facilities occasioned by the existence of such enterprise or organization in their surroundings, the stimulation of economic activities such as suppliers of various items and distributive trades for items produced and or needed by the entrepreneurs, stemming from rural urban migration, enhancement of standard of living of the employees of the private enterprise and their dependents as well as those who are directly or indirectly associated with them.
Akwa Ibom State – Nigeria’s leading oil bearing state – is populated with over four million people. Economic development strategies in Akwa Ibom State, over the years, have generally conformed to the economic development strategies adopted in the country since independence. At the time Akwa Ibom State was created in 1987, it inherited a number of industrial, commercial, financial and service institutions that were publicly owned. But because this was a period when global thinking was in favour of private-sector-led economic development instead of government ownership of institutions of commercial and industrial nature, and particularly because the publicly owned enterprises in the state had long folded up due to mismanagement and corruption, the industrial sector of the state was virtually non-existent at the inception of the state. However, there has been a surge in entrepreneurship activities over the years in the state in different spheres of human endeavour such as in oil and gas, haulage, maritime activities, shipping, trading, ICT, agriculture, construction etc which has served to provide gainful employment for the citizens and boost economic development.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Entrepreneurship in Nigeria occupies an exceedingly significant position in the Nigerian economy. Their significance derives from the following consideration set out by Sullivan, et al (56):
Numerically, they account for a very high percent of the total number of business establishment in the country.
Though their contribution to value added is disproportionately low, more value added is retained locally in the case of small scale enterprise than in the case of large scale firms.
From this viewpoint, the development of entrepreneurship can be seen as one of the necessary condition for economic development. Presently, entrepreneurship in Nigeria is sub optimized. These problems have reduced remarkably the volume and variety production and employment possible for entrepreneurs in the national economy. Entrepreneurship in Akwa Ibom State and in Nigeria as a whole have not performed creditably well and hence have not played the expected vital and vibrant role in the economic growth and development both at state level (Akwa State) and at the national level.
Akwa Ibom State and the country have experienced exponential growth in the number of private firms. However, majority of these businesses are very small when their operations are measured in terms of capital, employment and revenues (Attahir and Minet, 20). Added to the above is difficulty confronted by small businesses in accessing bank credits, but the most serious and damaging problem threatening the state of entrepreneurship in the state and Nigeria is a lack of government interest and support for micro, small enterprises (Ariyo, 29). Besides, entrepreneurship and small and medium enterprises development is hampered by plethora of challenges like bad roads, bribes by government officials, multiple taxes, epileptic power supply and rising overhead costs on transportation and communication. All these challenges and similar others have attracted global attention (Business Environment and Enterprise Performance Surveys, 17).
More importantly, economic growth has eluded Nigeria on account poor utilization of its numerous oil wealth for communal benefits, as current socio-economic indicators suggest that the nation’s mineral wealth has become worthless and a source of misery (Alan, 7).
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
This study hopes to achieve the following objectives:
To ascertain the role of entrepreneurship and managerial capacity in the economic development in Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria.
To identify the factors affecting entrepreneurship and managerial capacity in contributing to the economic development of Akwa Ibom State.
To evaluate the extent to which entrepreneurship and managerial capacity have contributed to the economic development of Akwa Ibom State.
To identify problems or constraints that militates against the growth and development of entrepreneurship in Akwa Ibom State.
What is the role of entrepreneurship in the economic development of Akwa Ibom state?
What are the factors affecting entrepreneurship and managerial capacity in contributing to the economic development of Akwa Ibom State?
To what extent has entrepreneurship contributed to the economic development of Akwa Ibom State?
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study covers the entrepreneur and managers in the private sector of the economy in Akwa Ibom State.
The selected entrepreneurs belong to different sub sectors of the economy. Ten (10) subsectors were randomly selected and they include:
Oil and gas
Hotel and tourism
Catering and restaurants
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The significance of this study is to ascertain the roles of entrepreneurship and managerial capabilities in the private sector on the economic development of Akwa Ibom State.
The work will further expose the researcher, government and the general public to problems militating against entrepreneurship development thereby affecting economic development in Akwa Ibom State and in Nigeria in general and possible ways to ameliorate these problems.
The information generated by this study would help the government carry out a more purposeful and result oriented planning on the development of entrepreneurship in Akwa Ibom State and the nation in general with a view to enhancing its contribution towards improving the Nigerian economy.
The postulation and generalization of this study can lead other researcher’s with a view of getting more literature on the roles of entrepreneurship in the social economic development of Akwa Ibom State.
Ho: There is no significant difference between the role of entrepreneurship and economic development in Akwa Ibom State
Hi: There is significant difference between the role of entrepreneurship and economic development in Akwa Ibom state.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
In the course of the study, the researcher encountered a lot of problems. The problem encountered in the course of this study was time. This resulted from the nature of the semester, being short and full of academic and social activities, it was not an easy task combining classroom activities with going to field to collect materials for the research.
Secondly, the attitude of the respondents towards the researcher was also a problem. Many of the respondents were unwilling to cooperate with the researcher.
Finally, getting the material for the research was also a problem because it was not an easy task getting materials for the research. Thus, the researcher spent a lot of money going from one library to another collecting materials for the research, and this further worsen the limited financial state of the research as a student.
OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
This is done for clearer understanding of this project, some of the key terms used are defined below in order to bring out their operational meanings in the context in which they are used.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP: Entrepreneurship is the process of starting a business or other organization. The entrepreneur develops a business model, acquires the human and other required resources, and is fully responsible for its success or failure
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Economic development is the sustained, concerted actions of policy makers and communities that promote the standard of living and economic health of a specific area. Economic development can also be referred to as the quantitative and qualitative changes in the economy.
CAPITAL: form of wealth capable of being employed in the production of more wealth
SMEs: are businesses whose personnel numbers fall below certain limits.
ORGANIZATION: This is an entity that is made up of various departments coming together to achieve a common goal. It is a structured process in which people interact for objectives.