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2017 Junior Achievement Nigeria’s Youth Entrepreneurship Essay Competition; Winning Essays

HOW CAN ENTREPRENEURSHIP SOLVE THE YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT CRISIS IN NIGERIA? – By Mariam Azeez

31st March 2016. The journey of four years ends today. I have finally achieved the goal of bagging a degree in Economics. I know I’m supposed to be happy. But where will I find a paying and befitting job to take care of Mama and my siblings?

Those are the thoughts that run through the mind of an average Nigerian graduate upon completion of their programmes. Out of the thousands of graduates churned out annually by tertiary institutions, only a handful of them get employed, not forgetting the fact that there exists a battalion of unemployed youths.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics Q4 2016 reports, youth unemployment stands at 47.4%. The youths are the bane of any nation and any development policy that does not take into account their aspirations will invariably fail to achieve its desired objectives.

The issue of youth unemployment is a global phenomenon, particularly in transition economies like Nigeria. The social, economic and political costs of such crisis will be extreme. As such, each country grapple with solutions to this seemingly intractable problem. Youth unemployment is potentially dangerous as it sends disturbing signals to all segments of the economy.

Why are we stuck with these dead woods? Every problem has its own solution; youth unemployment is no exception. The role of entrepreneurship in curbing youth unemployment cannot be overemphasized. Studies have shown how beneficial entrepreneurship can be to a country.

According to Joseph Schumpeter (2008), entrepreneurship plays an important role in the capital and output growth of an economy and subsequently economic development.

Developing the ability to recognize opportunity and giving young people the tools to capitalize on those opportunities empower their innovative prowess and consequently reduce the incidence of unemployment amongst them.

It is in allowing young people to follow their dreams and start their own businesses that we will see a significant change in the youth employment statistics. To bring about a transformational change, we must create a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem. The creation of this ecosystem jointly rests on the private and public sector.

On the part of the government, it needs to design macroeconomic and fiscal policies to help drive job growth by encouraging and rewarding job creators rather than job seekers. It needs to provide an enabling environment to enable aspiring and early stage entrepreneurs to succeed. Measures must also be taken to embed entrepreneurship at the heart of the educational system. The private sector, with their deep expertise in technology and research, can play a defining role. They should embark on expanding programmes which nurture the seeds of success through entrepreneurship training.

By embracing entrepreneurship, we are on the quest to defeating youth unemployment.

-Written by Azeez Mariam, Winner of the 2017 Junior Achievement Nigeria Youth Essay Competition, sponsored by Access Bank Plc.

 

“THE MAIN HOPE OF A NATION LIES IN THE PROPER EDUCATION OF ITS YOUTH”  -By Michelle Egbobo

Unemployment in Nigeria is a very familiar concept to every Nigerian, especially the youths. It has become the song on our lips, thereby, destroying national consciousness and solidarity and love for our country. A plethora of symposium and articles have expounded on the problem of unemployment, without adequately providing a means to combat same. Notwithstanding, the burden lies on the youths to act and alleviate the situation and unless we start creating the jobs we desire to have, we will remain in a quagmire for the rest of our lives, waiting on the government to create jobs while the time and energy to act fades away rapidly.

Naveen Jain, a renowned Indian businessman once said “A person who sees a problem is a human being, a person who finds a solution is a visionary and the person who goes out and does something about it is an entrepreneur”. This implies that youths have to do more than recognize the existence of the problem. They have to provide a solution, and to do this, they have to be entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship is the creation of new organizations while youth entrepreneurship is the practical application of enterprising qualities, such as initiative, innovation, creativity and risk-taking into the work environment. Entrepreneurship can solve the problem of youth unemployment in Nigeria because its effect is lower unemployment, creation of new businesses, creation of new jobs, financial freedom and of course, the ‘governments’ favourite’, increased tax base, which ultimately results in increased revenue.

An individual with passion for provision of agricultural services is as useful to the community as a new born, but, if he channels that passion using available resources, into establishment of an agricultural produce company, then he truly becomes useful. As a start-up, the company would need to purchase land for agricultural development, it would require the service of a soil scientist, botanist, as well as an engineer equipped with knowledge of farm machinery, some farm hands, and an accountant to keep record of financial obligations, and a manager to oversee the affairs of the new company and the list goes on and on, thus, creating new jobs from the new business.

This is a classic example of the effect of entrepreneurship. An agricultural outfit was created, jobs were created as well, as such, financial freedom would be the result upon sale of the produce, and then, the government can adequately tax the returns made by the company to earn revenue.

Therefore, the Government and successful business icons should channel their resources to the training of entrepreneurs to build a stronger, healthier, self-reliant individual with a capacity to give back to the nation. Desiderius Erasmus once said “The main hope of a nation lies in the proper education of its youth” and I dare add ‘proper education’ includes education in entrepreneurship development.

-Written by Eigbobo Michelle, 1st Runner Up, 2017 Junior Achievement Nigeria Youth Essay Competition, sponsored by Access Bank Plc.

 

YOUTH MUST STOP TRADING THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES WITH MEDIOCRITY – By Ogbuagu Hope Ukamaka

We cannot always build the future for the young, but we can build the young for the future. Information from Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, June 2017, shows that unemployment rate rose to 14.2%, with higher rate in urban areas given the preference of graduates for formal white collar jobs located mostly at urban centres. Due to depression from ult of unemployment, a good number of our youths today, even the non-educated who were not equiped with knowledge to be employable, decide to engage in different crimes that exist today. Mind you, these set of individuals may be creative and brilliant, but have no motivation for handwork. They may have joined the crime clique because it is the only job they know that does not require certificates.

Sadly, the youth unemployment problem won’t be solved quickly or easily, and it requires a range of responses. Entrepreneurship can help the socio-psychological and delinquency problems that come from unemployment. The idea of involving the youths in entrepreneurship programs is to equip the youths with the skills to be self-employed and employers of the unemployed. As an entrepreneur you create, organize and operate your business. There are a few prominent entrepreneurs who could make you feel optimistic about entrepreneurship; 1) Jason Njoku is co-founder of iROKOtv, the largest online distributor of Nollywood films. 2) Sim Shagaya is founder of Konga Online, one of the Nigeria’s leading e-commerce company. 3) Ola Orekunrin is founder of Flying Doctors Nigeria, West Africa’s first indigenous air ambulance service and a crucial link for critical injured people, e.t.c. These successful entrepreneurs may have had private motivation and sources provided for them to learn and start up what they have today.

However, embedding entrepreneurship at the heart of the educational system is a key, a long term initiative that will help provide an environment where the dreams of millions of young people to make an impact and start their own enterprises can be realized. Starting from the secondary level of education, entrepreneurship should exist in the academic curricular where the students would be involved in the world of creative thinking, innovations, and dreams of how to build better cars, better factories, better shoe companies e.t.c. With this, the brain will be busy every day, boiling with new ideas to add to what the hands can make. Subsequently, there are people whose Intelligence Quotient (I.Q.) is limited to hand works or business, and they need motivation and mentorship. As such, today’s entrepreneurs and business leaders have a clear role to play in nurturing the next generation of wealth and job creators.

Also, government needs to focus on providing the necessary support and enabling environment for entrepreneurship programs for both educated and non-educated individuals. If the government creates a competitive platform for young entrepreneurs, the youths will stop trading their responsibilities with mediocrity.

-Written by Ogbuagu Hope Ukamaka, 2nd Runner Up, 2017 Junior Achievement Nigeria Youth Essay Competition, sponsored by Access Bank Plc.

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