Entrepreneurship has often been touted as a viable solution to the grave challenge of unemployment facing our youth. Even after graduating from universities and tertiary colleges, few are able to secure formal jobs in either the private or public sectors. As a matter of routine, they send their resumes to countless organizations hoping to be considered for interviews and jobs, which is a very agonizing ritual. Unfortunately, they hardly get any positive feedback. To say the least, these young and highly educated young men and women, while performing this ritual (hilariously referred to as ‘tarmacking’) get very frustrated. Bearing that in mind, entrepreneurship has been introduced as a course in various universities and tertiary colleges, as a way of preparing students to embark on the same, once they graduate.
Regrettably, that is where the dilemma lies. Can entrepreneurship really be taught in a classroom set up? Of what benefit is such a course to the students eager to find ways and means of generating some income after graduating? Entrepreneurs are classified into two groups. To start with, we have opportunity entrepreneurs who venture into business after spotting a viable opportunity in the market. Such entrepreneurs do not fear taking risks as they pursue their dreams, and they have been known to establish businesses which grow into empires with time. Some of them are not necessarily highly educated.
In contrast, necessity entrepreneurs venture into business after failing to get other means of earning their livelihoods. Their first love is in formal employment where a regular income at the end of every month is guaranteed and once such an opportunity arises, they abandon their businesses without necessarily taking a second thought about the time and resources they have invested in them. Sadly, most of our young graduates currently engaged in entrepreneurship fall in this category. As a matter of fact, they neither have the resilience nor the patience to grow their budding enterprises since they view them as a stop gap measure, as they wait to get ‘big jobs’ in the corporate world or the public sector.
Against this background, the model of teaching entrepreneurship in our universities and tertiary colleges with the hope that it shall address the unemployment headache that our country is grappling with needs to be critically examined if it is to bear the desired fruits. While all is said and done, such a model can only benefit those who want to embrace entrepreneurship as a matter of choice as opposed to necessity.