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ENTREPRENEURSHIP AS A TOOL FOR SUSTAINABLE EMPLOYMENT
1.1 Background of the Study
The role of entrepreneurship as the driving force of economic growth has been a fundamental agent in most production, distribution and growth. existing definitions of entrepreneurship often relates to the functional role of entrepreneurs which are coordination, innovation, uncertainty bearing, capital supply, decision making, ownership and resource allocation (Barreto, 1989). Kilby (1971) and Ozioko (2006) defines entrepreneurship as the willingness and ability of an individual to seek out investment opportunities, establish and run an enterprise successfully. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of current English Hornby (1975) refers to entrepreneurship as organizing a business undertaking and assuming the risk for the sake of the profit. Put in other words, entrepreneurship is seen as organizing and managing a commercial undertaking. Onuoha (1994) in Ile (2003) states that entrepreneurship occurs when a person, group of persons or business firm assumes risk in the hope of making profit. According to Stoner and Freeman (1992) in Ile (2003), entrepreneurship is defined as the seemingly dichotomous process of combining resources to produce goods or services. Ezema (2005) in Olannye and Chukwu (2010) view entrepreneurship education as a specialized training given to students to acquire skills, ideas, managerial abilities and capabilities needed for self employment rather than being employed for pay.
Unemployment, both of the educated and the uneducated manpower, has become one of the most topical and thorny issues in contemporary Nigeria. The unemployment situation has changed from previous position marked by prolonged period of unemployment and misemployment, to one in which graduates of tertiary institutions have to normally wait for a long time before getting a first job if at all.
At the beginning of this millennium, employment crises have emerged as the most challenging issues confronting many world economies. The continuing global economic slowdown and uncertain economic prospects have resulted in a grim global economic landscape. This plunged many economies into deep recession, the ripple effects of which have affected the job markets. These effects are more pronounced in the developing and underdeveloped countries of the world, with increased unemployment being the outcome.
Nigeria has one of the highest levels of youth unemployment in the world (60-65%) (Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity Report, 2016). These are mostly young adults that have graduated from universities and polytechnics or institutions of higher learning. Available estimate shows that about 1.6 million persons, mostly young adult, graduate annually. In addition to this number, about 3.8 million others are certificate carrying youths that have no formal education, or have completed primary or secondary school, or dropped out from tertiary institutions all of which are annually poured into an already saturated labour market (Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity Report, 2016).
Many of the youths are not productive and have actually been reduced to petty traders and smugglers; in many instances, the growth in the phenomenon of trafficking in persons and child labor can be attributed to poverty and joblessness among the youths. For a few who are able to find their way out of the country to work in other countries, their departure has contributed to depleting the quality of human capital resources in the country. This paper has come as a wakeup call to appropriate authorities to look in the direction of entrepreneurial development initiatives in the quest to solving unemployment problem in Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Becoming self-sufficient is the desire of every Nigerian, but only an insignificant number actually find a way to make it happen. Too many people do give up on their dreams too soon, when education and guidance could show them the way to success. The dearth of entrepreneurs or people with entrepreneurial mentality has been one of the major inhibitors to the development of a virile indigenous private sector in Nigeria. Nigeria has vast human and material resources but people are still leaving below the poverty level. Unemployment especially among the youths has been the major problem. This problem was attributed to the fact that most of the youths do not acquire the needed skills and competence that will make them be self-employed. Youths of these days want everything fast and free; they lack the patience and the willingness to learn. There is a great need to provide the appropriate counseling, economic and social conditions to encourage the emergence of individuals with required entrepreneurial skills. The problem this study addressed therefore was the determination of whether entrepreneurship helps to curb unemployment in Somolu Local Government Area and Nigeria as a whole.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The general objective of this study will examine entrepreneurship as a tool for sustaining employment in Nigeria while the following are the specific objectives;
i. To find out if entrepreneurship has been a useful tool for sustaining employment in Somolu local government area.
ii. To determine whether entrepreneurship education enhances acquisition of the necessary skills for gainful self-employment among youths in Somolu local government area.
iii. To identify challenges that hinder entrepreneurship education in Somolu local government area.
iv. To proffer solutions to the identified challenges of entrepreneurship in Somolu local government area.
1.4 Research Questions