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Entrepreneurship’s vital role in the economy

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We are quite aware that Labour does not hire itself; goods and services do not provide themselves, factories do not build themselves; innovative ideas do not come by themselves; money does not invest itself; profits are not made by themselves and risk is not taken by itself. Where these activities and behaviour are embedded in a business environment, entrepreneurship does occur.1

Entrepreneurship is often a rather vague abstraction which is subject to varying interpretations. Entrepreneurship emanates from the word “Entrepreneur.” What is entrepreneur? Webster Comprehensive Dictionary defines an entrepreneur as one who undertakes to start and conduct an enterprise or business, assuming full control and risk. Dr. Ogbeidi defines entrepreneurship as an undertaking in which one is involved in the task of creating and managing an enterprise for the purpose of creating wealth and utility. Therefore entrepreneurship can be said to be the process of undertaking and conducting enterprise or business assuming full control and risk with the intention of making profit or for pro-bono. It is organization of productive factors to produce goods or provide services for social welfare or financial reward. This entails planning, organizing and coordinating activities and resources necessary to manage an enterprise as well as taking some financial risk. Furthermore, an entrepreneur is one who assumes responsibility and the risk for a business operation with the expectation of making profit. The entrepreneur generally decides on the product, acquires the facilities and bring together labour force, capital and production materials. If the business brings success, the entrepreneur reaps the reward for profit; if it fails, he or she takes loss.

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There has been a misconception that entrepreneurship is geared towards only making profit. This stand appears incorrect. Some enterprises are set up in order to make impact and help the society to move forward. For example the Civil Liberty Organization (CLO) and the centre for the Defense of Human Right (CDHR), are advocacy groups in Nigeria dedicated to fighting against human right abuses, serve as a good example of social entrepreneur. Likewise, there are other Non-Governmental Organizations that are mainly engaged in societal Social Services.

In this regard therefore, an entrepreneur is a person, an organization or a government that establishes an enterprise for a purpose, which may be for profit or social welfare. However, for the purpose of this paper, I shall abide with the popular conception that views an entrepreneur from the commercial sense. From the foregoing therefore, an entrepreneur could be any person who makes money by starting and managing a business especially when this involves taking some financial risks. From an economic perspective, it is that factor of production that organizes and coordinates other productive Factors to produce goods and services for profit. Hence an entrepreneur is a business owner, an innovator, investor and manager of an enterprise. Basically, the word entrepreneur has been associated with different meanings over the years. If is worthy of note that from the 16th through 18th centuries, an entrepreneur was associated with adventures. But today and as pointed out earlier, it is associated with owning or managing business.

There is need to point out that entrepreneurship has become very vital to the development of any national economy today, particularly because it provides employment opportunities, contributes to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and creates new investment opportunities etc. Little wonder that governments around the world have adopted entrepreneurial development as a cardinal programme and also a means to achieving economic growth and development.
Dr. Oramalugo is the head valuation unit Nigeria Customs, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.

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