Entrepreneurs key to economic growth

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IT is time the country embraces entrepreneurs.
The nation, in the last decade, has gone through a massive transformation.
Blacks are at the forefront of almost all the enterprises in the country.
Locally, entrepreneurs have been described as informal traders, a description that does not define their counterparts in the West.
In the West they are known as game changers.
Economic development in many countries has come about due to the work of entrepreneurs who have defied odds and founded companies that have grown to influential corporations.
Entrepreneurs are dynamic forces in an economy, envisioning the possibilities of types of economic activities, creating new enterprises, new commercial activities and new economic sectors.
Economic growth is ensured by entrepreneurs because they generate jobs, produce goods and services for society, earn foreign currency through export expansion or import substitution, save, raise funds and invest them.
However, it appears there are forces that want us to remain stuck in the groove that entrepreneurs are nothing more than a few individuals only interested in self-enrichment.
Such beliefs have resulted in this important sector failing to access the necessary support to flourish.
The increasing number of small-to-medium businesses in the country’s economy suggests that an understanding of small business performance is crucial to the stability and health of the economy.
Encouragingly, there has been a growing interest countrywide and even at Government level, in identifying factors associated with the conduct and performance of small firms.
An understanding of such factors would enable public policy makers, practitioners, small business advisers, financiers and other stakeholders to design effective assistance schemes and pro-active entrepreneurial development programmes.
The benefit of entrepreneurship and small enterprises development has been recognised by Government which has led to the development of the Ministry of Small, Micro and Medium Enterprise Development (SMME).
Empowerment programmes and vast opportunities have resulted in many people shunning formal employment and opting for self employment and pursuing their own dreams.
Entrepreneurs must not be looked down upon as entrepreneurship in its broadest sense is about the capability of people to combine scarce resources in new ways to respond to opportunities or provide solutions to problems.
An entrepreneur is defined as a person who is self-employed and who starts, establishes, organises, manages and assumes the financial, social, psychological and other responsibilities while managing risk for a business, not as a corporate or entrepreneurial effort and then receives the resulting rewards of monetary and personal satisfaction.
Entrepreneurs have many of the same character traits as leaders in various fields.
Entrepreneurs are primarily motivated by an overwhelming need for achievement and strong urge to build. They are tough, pragmatic people driven by needs of independence and achievement.
Entrepreneurship can be exercised in different types of economic systems and in the various contexts of the private sector, the state sector, mixed ownership sectors, co-operative sectors and non-governmental sectors of the economy.
While this has been noted as fact, it is unfortunate that some education systems and the private sector have failed to recognise its importance.
This is because of risk aversion that is enshrined in parents and teachers who tend to perpetuate the notion that entrepreneurship is risky and impractical for the long term.
But the reality is that market economies are built on the growth of small enterprises and entrepreneurs and their development has been seen in the context of the development of societies.
According to the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), the contributions that entrepreneurs and small enterprises have towards economic growth is massive, for example:
– They are usually labour-intensive and tend to lead to a more equitable distribution of income than large enterprises. They play an important role in generating employment and thus alleviating poverty.
– They contribute to an efficient allocation of resources in developing countries. l They adopt labour-intensive production methods and thus more accurately reflect the resource endowments in developing countries where labour is plentiful and capital is scarce.
– They support the building of systematic productive capacities.
– They help to absorb productive resources at all levels of the resilient economic systems in which small and large firms are interlinked.
– They are also more widely dispersed geographically than large enterprises, support the diffusion of entrepreneurial spirit and skills as well as help to reduce economic disparities between urban and rural areas.
Advantages of entrepreneurship
Every successful entrepreneur brings about benefits, not only for himself/ herself but for the country as a whole. The benefits that can be derived from entrepreneurial activities are as follows:
– Self-employment
– Employment for others
– Development of more industries, especially in rural areas
– Encouragement of the processing of local materials into finished goods for domestic consumption as well as for export
– Income generation
– Healthy competition thus encourages higher quality products
– More goods and service available
– Development of market
– Promotion of the use of modern technology in small-scale manufacturing to enhance higher productivity
– Encouragement of more researches/ studies and development of modern machines and equipment for domestic consumption
– Development of entrepreneurial qualities and attitudes among potential entrepreneurs to bring about significancant changes in the rural areas

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