Young Nigerians, especially those coming out of higher institutions of learning have been enjoined to go for practical entrepreneurship rather than paid employment, as the key to achieving success in life.
Frank Nneji, the CEO of ABC Transport, urged the youth to think entrepreneurship and act like entrepreneurs.
Nneji, who spoke at the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) at an international conference on: “Entrepreneurship Development As a Sustainable Basis for the Economic Transformation of Nigeria,” also urged the students to be proactive in discovering entrepreneurship opportunity and turn it into business idea.
According to him an entrepreneur sees opportunities where others see problems; “he or she sees a bottle half-full when others see it half-empty”.
He also said a business opportunity arises from interaction between a budding entrepreneur’s creative thinking and the real world. The result of such interaction is the conception of a product or service that asks for its buyers or end-users.
The ABC Transport Plc managing director added that, the most successful entrepreneurs are opportunity-focused; they start with what customers and the marketplace want and are ready to pay for it; and they (entrepreneurs) do not lose sight of that.
“A true entrepreneur translates his innovative concept into a combination of activities that when put together, work out to generate viable operations. True entrepreneurs know that a good idea is not necessarily a good opportunity; the idea has to make business.
“ The idea has to be market-driven. It should generate robust margins and steady cash flows, and must be a market with growth potentials,” said Nneji.
He therefore advised graduating young Nigerians to take practical approaches to opportunities which would in turn, distinguish them as entrepreneurs in the future.
He warned participants to disabuse their minds from the get-rich-quick proposition, as working with this motivation is likely to make them have very short lives.
“It is rather better that one builds on a long term value and sustainable company than going for the temptation of short term profitability; re-investing in new people, services and systems that are may not guarantee immediate profit; but would lead the company to stand firm and consolidate,” said Nneji.
Although, he lamented the lack of start-up capital for young entrepreneurs, he however advised them to rely more on their own resources, or raise funds from friends and relatives who are willing to overlook their short-comings and limited experience; and should not initially go for bank loans.
“No bank today would give loan for a start-up, because he/she cannot offer substantial collateral; and do not have a convincing business plan either”.
He reminded them of what a banker said about entrepreneurs asking for start – up loans ‘they talk with their heart, not with their minds’. He ended by saying that venture capital for start – up is still hard to find in Nigeria.
BEN EGUZOZIE &
VICTORIA NNAKAIKE, Owerri