The drive to earn a living and the craze to survive in the midst of acute uncertainties has led many to desperately take a step in the business world, sometimes after graduating from college, loss of job or retirement. The outcome of acute response to survival has given birth to businesses, conglomerates and enterprises of varying scales. From the hustles and bustles, commercial transactions in traffic “hold ups” to shops in the major markets and the offices at the various commercial business centers. All are opened to earn a living, for profit and more importantly to conquer the all time enemy of existence – hunger and poverty. The zeal and energy of many entrepreneurs and small scale business owners including roadside sellers and hawkers are unparalleled. They oftentimes live with stark reality of an un-encouraging society that attaches hype to white collar and “job-with-suits”; forced to manage what they do in the face of nothingness and to be proud of the golden effort attached to the dignity of labour, of having a vocation and means of livelihood.
The undoing of the last generation was the unnecessarily high premium placed on paper qualifications as prerequisites to white collar employment at the expense of building innovative, technical and enterprise-based economy. A cross sectional view of our industries and medium scale enterprises accross the nation shows many businesses owned and managed by non-Nigerians and then I marvel at the irony that non-citizens find commerce profitable despite the infrastructural deficiencies and state of the economy. What we refer to as the “white-collar jobs” are the job descriptions offered by the non-Nigerian citizens who built their ideas into an enterprise. There is virtually no industry that you don’t find them- construction, hospitality, manufacturing, confectioneries, medicine etc. I don’t deny that Nigerians thrive when they are outside the country too in virtually every sphere of endeavor but I bet not at the same rate that these non-citizens come and they start out on their idea and it looks desirable to us sometimes with employment terms that violate human rights and international labour standards.
The question then is what is wrong with us? And how do we right the wrong?
Every economy needs more businesses and small to medium scale enterprises remain a vibrant and veritable aspect to focus on to boost and improve their economy and Nigeria is not left out. This nation needs many more homemade products, cottage businesses, small to medium scale enterprises (SMEs) than we have at the moment. Not just for GDP index measurement but for improved livelihood and empowered life.
This is a clarion call to every household and every young soul to generate ideas and birth enterprises. Our slogan therefore is “Go start something”
– Reminds me of MTN CLAP Ad
shot in 2007. And so the drive is, let the people who are already doing do more, let those doing help those who are yet to do!
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