SUSTAINABLE ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF AKWA IBOM STATE (A CASE STUDY OF SELECT COTTAGE INDUSTRIES IN AKWA IBOM STATE)

ABSTRACT

The study was carried out to examine the impact of sustainable entrepreneurship on the economic development of Akwa Ibom State with special emphasis on select cottage industries in the state. Descriptive research design was adopted for the study, four research questions and four null hypotheses were formulated. The population of the study comprises 300 staff of four selected cottage industries namely: Siba Maritime Limited, Visiview Enterprise, Permsek Industries Limited and Ibedmore Nigeria Limited all in Akwa Ibom State. Simple random sampling techniques were used in selecting the samples of 150 staff used for the study. Data used for the study was obtained through the use of questionnaire and the data collected were analyzed using simple statistical tools frequencies and percentages while the null hypotheses were tested using chi-square statistics at 0.05 level of significance. The major findings included the following: Sustainable entrepreneurship influences significantly the economic development of the state. Again, the study established that entrepreneurship education has impacted immensely on sustainable entrepreneurship and invariably on the economic development of the state. The study also revealed that most of the lecturers teaching entrepreneurship education possess the requisite knowledge to impart entrepreneurial skills among undergraduates. Finally, it was also found that entrepreneurship development could be effective tools for poverty reduction, stimulating employment as well as fast-tracking realization of universal primary education and promoting gender equality. Based on the findings of the study, the study concluded that there is a significant relationship between sustainable entrepreneurship and the economic development of Akwa Ibom State. Therefore, we recommended that government should provide adequate skills acquisition centres and equipment to facilitate the empowerment of our teaming youthful population as well as provide loan/capital to enable them start up businesses having been imparted with entrepreneurial skills. The government should also set up constant monitoring and supervisory groups to monitor the activities of stakeholders responsible for the implementation of the goals of government as it pertains to entrepreneurship education. Such relevant stakeholders include lectures, respective school administrations and other non-academic staff.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  1.       Background of the Study

Many scholars have written widely on entrepreneurship and its potency to the development of any given economy. The experiences of developed economies in relation to the roles played by entrepreneurship buttresses the fact that the importance of entrepreneurship cannot be overemphasized especially among the developing countries. In order to highlight its significance in relation to the growth and development of a given economy, entrepreneurship has been variously referred to as “source of economic growth” (Jimngang (2004); Kuratko (2009); Oluremi, and Gbenga (2011)). This is because entrepreneurial activities have been found to be capable of making positive impacts on the economy of a nation and the quality of life of the people (Adejumo, 2000). Studies have established its positive relationship with stimulation of economic growth; employment generation and empowerment of the disadvantaged segment of the population, which include women and the poor (Oluremi and Gbenga, 2011;Thomas and Mueller,2000, Reynolds, 1987).

Third world countries such as Nigeria are richly endowed with abundant human and natural resources. The country is blessed with a variety of mineral deposits including petroleum, natural gas, uranium, tin, columbines, coal, precious metal, gemstone and vast agricultural farmlands (Ebiringa, 2012). Therefore, Nigeria is not economically developed because the country has so many features of underdevelopment which among others include; high unemployment rates, heavy dependence on oil, low agricultural production, low utilization of industrial capacity, high inflation rate, low literary level, poor state of infrastructure, low per capita income, subsistence agricultural practices, low industrial capacity, absence of stable polity, high infant mortality and lack of industrial infrastructural base. These constraints has enormously limited the growth of entrepreneurial activities in Nigeria, hence, the Nigeria economy is still undeveloped. Nigeria as a country has numerous business and investment potentials due to the abundant, vibrant and dynamic human and natural resources it possesses. Tapping these resources require the ability to identify potentially useful and economically viable fields of endeavours’.

Thus, entrepreneurship activities and innovative ingenuity in Nigeria have developed enterprises in the following areas: foodstuffs, restaurants, fast food vending, quarrying, germ stone cutting/polishing, power generations, haulage business (cargo and passengers), manufacturing and repairs of GSM accessories and the printing and selling of recharge cards, construction and maintenance of pipelines, drilling, refining bye products, refuse collection/disposal, recycling, and drainage/sewage construction job, banking, insurance and stock trading, machines and tools fabrications. There is also the building and construction, where there are plan and design services and material sourcing (Agbeze, 2012). Entrepreneurial development is conceived as a programme of activities to enhance the knowledge (body of knowledge), skill, behaviours and attitudes of individuals and groups to assume the role of entrepreneurs as well as efforts to remove all forms of barriers in the part of entrepreneurs to create society’s wealth for human capacity building. Entrepreneurial development is therefore the bedrock for human capacity building.

Many authors have focused attention on the contribution of entrepreneurship development to economic development without paying adequate attention to the sustainability of entrepreneurial education and training for sustainable development. Sustainable entrepreneurship is an off-shoot of Sustainable development and it is a noticeable development these days for organisations to brand themselves as sustainable entrepreneurs. Indeed, researchers have suggested the integration of sustainability management and business practices among entrepreneurs to contribute to sustainable development (Tilley & Young, 2009; Parrish, 2010). Crals and Vereek (2004) viewed sustainable entrepreneurship from the perspective of sustainable development which is principally concerned with the triple bottom line (people, planet and profit). The first P (people) relates to the behaviour of firms in terms of social and ethical dimension, treatment of employees and promotion of social cohesion – human right protection and gender relationship. The second P (planet) summarises disposition of the firm towards the environment while the third P (profit) relates with the financial returns of an enterprise, allocation and distribution of gains between relevant stakeholders. They further opined that the sustainability of entrepreneurial activity is consistent with satisfying and maintaining balance amongst the components off the triple bottom line.

The main objective of this paper is therefore to examine the impact of sustainable entrepreneurship on the economic development of Akwa Ibom State (A case study of selected cottage industries in Akwa Ibom State).