Youths Engagement in Entrepreneurship, Solution for Societal Development.
Article by: Akinjise Daniel – ACFellows Cohort 1, 2018, Nigeria.
The rate of unemployment in Nigeria is escalating at an alarming rate with much emphasis on entrepreneurship, as the government alone cannot provide jobs for all the unemployed. According to the United Nations, youth unemployment can be defined as all young people aged from 15-24 years without work and not in education. Unemployment is a macroeconomic problem that touches societies all over the World, from the United States to Europe to Africa and even to the city of Lagos because the number of jobs available is not sufficient for the numbers of people who seek them. In Nigeria today, 43 percent of youths are un-employed, leaving only 57 percent of them with sources of livelihood.
Two decades ago, the field of entrepreneurship was not really pronounced and was only taught as a course at MBAs around the country, but now cannot be overemphasized by economy movers and even the youths. Entrepreneurship is one of the most important tools that we have to solve the unemployment problem in Nigeria but to do this we need to create the right environment as well as an entrepreneurial mind-set for it to prosper. The role of entrepreneurship in employment creation in the country is more essential on two areas. Firstly, it’s important in combating unemployment through direct self-employment; Secondly, to meet the needs of other unemployed youths to get involved through indirect employment.
According to the International Labour Organization, youths are the most affected segment of people without jobs. During the period of recession in Nigeria, about 3.7 million workers lost their jobs, leaving them no option than to start up a small business to feed themselves. One of the qualities of entrepreneurship is the ability to discover a need and to develop an enterprise to successfully meet those needs with new and innovative combination of resources. When a new graduate from the fashion school opens her new shop with five chairs, one job is created. As business picks up and other fashion designers are hired, employment rises to five workers.
If government can come up with an efficient system to provide initial capital and consultative support to interested individuals, a handful of the unemployed youths would prefer to be self-employed. Government needs to focus on providing the right environment to enable aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs to succeed.
Government should include entrepreneurship studies in the curriculum of tertiary institutions. A lot of youths enroll into the universities with the hope of graduating and becoming employees immediately, which isn’t viable. If there is inclusion of entrepreneurship studies into our educational curriculum, these students can consider starting their own businesses perhaps during or even after completing their studies. Entrepreneurship studies can help students less dependent on government jobs but more on themselves for survival through their businesses.
As we celebrate International Youth Day in 2018, I urge young people to consider embracing the big opportunities for entrepreneurship in Nigeria rather than waiting for jobs that are not available.