• Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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Omolayole, Adetu, others set social entrepreneurship as panacea for economic development


Social entrepreneurship has been identified as a veritable initiative to building community, self-reliance as well as creating vehicle for organisations to meet their needs in a financially sustainable way.

This was a major discourse at the 30th edition of the Omolayole management lecture series organised by ‎alumni of the International Association of Students in Economics and Commercial Sciences (AIESEC).

Speaking at the event, MD/CEO of Guinness Nigeria plc, Seni Adetu who was the guest speaker in his keynote address, said: “Social enterprises help create a vibrant and diverse economy with more opportunities for people of all abilities and backgrounds. All nations must be able to work with social enterprises through private investors to address the social, environmental, cultural and economic challenges no government can solve alone.”

Adetu made insightful note of several incidents that have helped him in his career panning from changing the look and feel of his brands to creating enormous results for the organization. He further explained, “the essence of social entrepreneurship has unfortunately largely been misunderstood in the past. At its heart it is an approach to social and environmental problems, which combines innovation and opportunity just the way any entrepreneur would.

The difference is that the primary purpose is not profit maximisation for shareholders but using revenues generated to drive transformational social change. Put very simply, I see it as what you get when you combine Richard Branson and Mother Teresa.”

“However, I realised that to drive change in the nation, the key is to educate future business leaders, and which informed my coming here today. Everyone must stand up to contribute to making Nigeria a better place which is not an exclusive right of the government but everybody, hence the need for us to take social entrepreneurship serious,” he said.

Also addressing the participants, president, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association,  Larry Ettah who chaired the occasion, stated that the theme of this year’s lecture is apt and timely as it has become nationally imperative to address unemployment and it is necessary to proffer pragmatic approach to resolve the issue. He added that NECA has been championing enhancement of resources and sustainable national development as its contribution towards addressing the unemployment in the country.

Ettah explained the real reason why his organisation is hosting this year’s lecture “It is expected that entrepreneurship will contribute to growth and employment creation in advanced, emerging and least developed economies alike. This is a reasonable expectation, one that is supported by recent findings of historians, economists and management scientists. And it is only great to associate with initiative like this that will catapult the fortune of our dear nation particularly in job creation.”

Michael Omolayole in whose honour the lecture series was instituted stated that this years’ lecture series is significant as was the first time all the lectures in the series would be compiled in a book and launched. “I feel so fulfilled that this book could see the light of the day and we are being able to place it on Jumia book store for everyone that may want to access the book”

“In this book, the importance of innovative, high-growth entrepreneurship is emphasized and the important role of the state to support entrepreneurs (differently through different phases of development) is discussed. The book also argues for the need for entrepreneurial solutions to intricate global challenges, such as climate change, migration, and terrorism,” he said.

Omolayole hinted further that “with too many entrepreneurs, levels of aspirations in a country may rise – it is well-known that with increasing material wealth (or opportunities) people’s aspirations increase.”

AISEC Alumni Nigeria for several decades has played a leading role in defining the province’s field of social enterprise as a tool to build community and self-reliance. Social Enterprises — businesses operated by non-profit organisations for the dual purpose of generating income and achieving social, economic, or environmental goals — can be a creative vehicle for organisations to meet community needs in a financially sustainable way.