‘Gloomy economy, an opportunity for entrepreneurs’
Following reports released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cutting its global growth forecasts by 0.2 per cent in 2016 and 2017, the Chief Executive Officer, Entrepreneur Organisation (EO), Vijay Tirathrai has expressed hope that global challenges faced by over 200 economies in the world, present economic opportunities for nations who prioritize the development of entrepreneurship.
According to him, Nigeria unlike many developed economies of the world is a young, vibrant and populous nation in need of goods and services to be serviced by entrepreneurs, pointing out that this is probably the best time for entrepreneurs to take advantage of the economic opportunities offered by the challenges.
Tirathrai during the organisation’s yearly Global Student Entrepreneurship Award (GSEA), a global competition for student entrepreneurs who actively run a business, said: “The world economy right now is very gloomy, but even with the over 200 economies in the world, one place I would rather be is Nigeria because you have a young and populous nation that are in need of goods and services. Our real hope is with the entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs do not need much capital to start up a business and get the economy growing. This is probably the best time for them to showcase their potential.”
He said entrepreneurship is not just about running a business but about playing a positive role in economic development through job creation and meeting a need, while maintaining that EO’s mission seeks to create businesses and help aspiring entrepreneurs to learn and grow.
“Growth and education are the core ideals of what we do at EO. GSEA is part of our learning programmes to train young and existing entrepreneurs to learn the skills of running a successful business and through education; they become more successful and more enlightened about how to create a positive impact on the economy.
“We feel very proud as an organization that throughout the world, we are creating a source of influence in a positive way to young entrepreneurs. At EO, we all share the same set of core values that can be found anywhere in the world because we want to make a mark and a difference”, he added.
He advised that as young entrepreneurs, building trust, respect and networking are key ingredients for a successful entrepreneur.
Also speaking at the event, the EO Lagos President, Vincent Brown Molokwu, said entrepreneurs in Nigeria are necessity entrepreneurs, saying that they are doing more of necessity entrepreneurship rather than creating a business that will outlive them.
He added that the youth are very critical to change the way entrepreneurship is being done in the country, stressing that the journey of entrepreneurship is a never-ending.
“If you look at the history of millionaires in Nigeria, you will find out that their businesses have died with them. Nigeria must build an enterprise that will continue existing even when we go,” he said.
He noted that the GSEA will help students who have good business ideas by connecting them with business moguls to support them to become employers of labour after graduating, stressing that the benefit of the award will provide funding and mentoring to young entrepreneurs in the country.
He said the current business environment situation does not stop people from doing business, saying that entrepreneurs have the ability to identify opportunities in the midst of challenges.
He stated that the high level of unemployment in the country despite all the initiatives geared towards entrepreneurship development in the country, is due to the fact that the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector is being ignored.
“The SME sector has been completely ignored and there is no government policy to improve the informal system by supporting SMEs,” he said.
The winner of the GSEA, Miss Blessing Ijeoma, a 200 level computer science student of Michael Okpara University, won an all expense paid trip to represent Nigeria at the Global GSEA coming up later in the year in Bangkok, Thailand and a cash reward of N1 million while the second and third went home with business scholarships in Netherland and cash prizes of N500, 000 and N250, 000 respectively.
Ijeoma who is the owner of an online platform called Hoursspent that connects freelancers and buyers in a trusted environment to do business, advised upcoming entrepreneurs to always quit from what does not give them joy, saying that it is always difficult starting up as an entrepreneur.
“I want to encourage my fellow entrepreneurs to be patient and to be trust worthy,” she said.
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