Monday 27 October 2014

Advancing ICT based Entrepreneurship education in Nigeria: The MTN Link forum example

In today’s world, technology and innovation are driving many economies in no small measure. Exciting trends are sweeping across the world. In the advanced economies such as the US, UK, Japan, and China, technological knowledge is fast becoming a strategic asset for economic development. Technological advances and ICT based businesses are gathering pace. Advances in information and communications technology are occurring on a tremendous scale. For countries tapping into the new ideas, innovations and technologies that proliferate in a knowledge-driven economy, there is abundance of wealth and opportunities for them.
Entrepreneurship and technological entrepreneurship in particular are now considered as the engine for economic development. Most developed and emerging economies have adopted Technology Business Incubation to fast-track the creation of new technology-based enterprises because of its more than 80 percent success rate of new venture creation. Its multiplier effects include technology/knowledge transfer, employment generation and wealth creation. Technology-driven and knowledge-based developments not only exhibit tremendous business potential, it also offers a range of innovative applications beneficial to various sectors of the economy and society at large.
In business, knowledge is more than important. It takes you beyond where you can ever imagine; it reduces your error rate, it keeps you safe and helps you maximize your greatest potential. Knowledge is the take-off point of any kind of value, business and national development.
Technology industry is pivotal to the success of building a tech entrepreneurship ecosystem in Nigeria. It is the most dependable way of creating both job and wealth in the 21st century. So, for Nigeria to solve her high rate of youth unemployment, over-dependent on crude oil and  to build great economic backbone for the future, there is need to invest in entrepreneurship education, particularly, technological entrepreneurship.
Over 80 percent of Nigeria GDP comes directly from crude oil. This mono-cultural economy has created more problems than it has solved. It has resulted into irony of a rich country, poor people. However, the time is now ripe to change the configuration and embrace technological-driven economy. To bring economic freedom and prosperity to its people and help tackle the menace of poverty in the country, Nigeria needs a change of direction.  The forces of change outside Nigeria are driving the need for change within it. Therefore, to maintain itself on a par with the rest of the world, and to be able to compete successfully in the fast moving world, Nigeria has to radically reform itself and embrace knowledge-driven economy.
It is in recognition of this that the leading telecommunication network in Nigeria, MTN, has over the last four months provided a platform-MTN Link Forum for young business professionals and budding entrepreneurs to learn new skills and follow the latest trend in technological world in order to take their businesses to the next levels. The MTN Link forum is an idea sharing platform where those who have built successful businesses using the new technology, share and encourage young Nigerian business owners to follow same route in creating wealth for themselves and the nation at large.
Jonathan Doerr, managing director of Nigeria’s leading online trading firm while relaying his experience at the Port Harcourt edition of MTN Link Forum, recently reinstates the need for Nigerian entrepreneurs to source for new ideas that can transform their lives and create jobs from developed countries and domesticate it here in Nigeria. In his words, “Nigerian entrepreneurs can take business ideas that have proved successful in America and Europe and domesticate them in line with realities in the country”.
According to him, “online retail business had been thriving in America and Germany before it was introduced into Nigeria with little adjustment in the area of delivery and payment. You don’t necessarily need to pass through the stress of product development; there are products that have been developed elsewhere. You only need to modify them, and replicate it here in Nigeria and it will be an instant success just like Jumia”, he says.
Kazeem Mustapha, a Medical Doctor and Health Insurance expert while speaking on the importance of technology in today’s world, says, “in any business that you are doing, you have to befriend technology. You have to befriend technology for information, for operational efficiency and most importantly, as your businesses are growing, you are confronted with challenges that your brain alone cannot cope with, you have to depend on latest technology that can help you maximise your potential”.
The main source of value and competitive advantage in the new economy is human and intellectual capital. With a population of about 160 million people, Nigeria, in theory has the capacity to make a successful transition into a truly knowledge driven economy.
Just like the US, China and Japan, it is also possible for Nigeria to become a knowledge-driven economy. However, this can only be achieved if the Nigerian government and other multinational companies can follow the path laid down by MTN in promoting the transfer of new ideas and technological-based businesses in the country. 

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