Emerging economic realities not only in Nigeria but also across the world have proven that only viable entrepreneurship driven economy will compete favourably in the 21st century.
That is why the call to teeming unemployed Nigerians to embrace Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises resounds more now than ever before.
Some upcoming entrepreneurs who explained their plight in Akure, Ondo state capital while commemorating 2018 World Entrepreneurship Day however said making up their minds to become entrepreneur is not difficult but the issue is access to funding and lack of adequate power supply in the country.
They are therefore demanding enabling environment to optimally explore business opportunities for personal and national development.
One of them, The Chief Executive officer, Agro Market Place Nigeria Limited, Mr Olalekan Bankole who expressed displeasure to the cumbersome nature of accessing SME funding wanted government to remove the bottlenecks involved.
Bankole berated banks’ decline to give overdraft to genuine business men and women to advance their businesses while also challenging the Bank of Industry for being unfriendly to upcoming Entrepreneurs in their too many requirements for accessing loans.
On her part, Mrs Seye Olajide lamented the loss occasioned by entrepreneurs due to unstable power supply in the country. Olajide narrated an incidence when her frozen goods got spoilt due to lack of power supply saying the cost of managing power generating sets is a threat to profit margin in the Nigerian terrain. She called on government to urgently address power supply challenges which had handicapped many artisans who ought to have become employers of labour.
Reacting to funding related issues, the Ondo state manager, Bank of Industry BOI, Mr Raymond Adenuga who advised entrepreneurs on the realities of funding however said the requirements of the banks were designed to benefit both parties involved. Adenuga further pleaded with entrepreneurs not to entirely consider beginning a business with loan. He urged them to save up and engage family and friends to support them to kick start. Describing business as a venture filled with risks, Adenuga said obtaining loan is great after they had acquired some percentage of what is needed for their business. He also cleared the air that the bank is unfriendly saying many people approached banks with fraudulent intentions in the past and made away with loans which were diverted to other areas other than business. Adenuga said such can no more take place with the documents and information requested from those applying for loans. He explained that many who met BOI requirements have enjoyed disbursement and are faring well in business as the funds were meant to be disbursed and not to be kept. He charged upcoming entrepreneurs to keep details of every bank transaction they make while their annual returns to Corporate Affairs Commission CAC and Tax Returns to Federal Inland Revenue Service FIRS, which are key to accessing funds, should be intact.
Speaking on the place of skill acquisition, the area manager, Akure Area Office Industrial Training Fund, Mrs Gloria Dipeolu enjoined unemployed Nigerians to consider skill before funding. Mrs Dipeolu said funds without skill which is similar to a vision will lead to wasteful spending. Using tailoring business to explain Dipeolu said “while still waiting to acquire your machines after acquiring the skills, you can go to work with an established tailor and save from the little you earn there to buy your machines”.
Meanwhile, the senior special assistant to the Ondo state governor on Agric and Agribusiness, Mr Akin Olotu says the state government is opening up the frontiers of entrepreneurship to accommodate agribusiness activities. Olotu said agriculture has infinite opportunities from cultivation to marketing. He harped on the Ondo state government’s “Youths on the Ridges” initiative which he said was designed to address unemployment in the state and also to aid food sufficiency.
The World Entrepreneurship Day which is a United Nations observance celebrated every 16th day of April is dedicated to creating awareness for entrepreneurship and to remind the world that entrepreneurs are key to socio-economic development of any nation.