Experts have suggested business reinvention as the key to sustainable entrepreneurship in the country following the various economic crisis bedeviling the world.

Deputy Pro Vice- chancellor, University of Sussex, Prof. Richard Follett, and other experts proffered this solution at the Hot Topics Africa Forum with the theme: ‘Sustainable business, intrapreneurship and the future of work,’ held at the Access Bank headquarters in Victoria Island, Lagos on Thursday December 14th, 2018.

While appreciating Access Bank for partnering with the University of Sussex in making the program successful, Prof. Richard Follett, said intrapreneurship is key to addressing disruption.

According to him, studies have shown that corporations are becoming increasingly short-lived, thanks to being disrupted by newcomers, adding that with accelerating technological change, innovating becomes critical if companies are to survive.

“Research has shown that the most successful intrapreneurs and innovation-led organisations have supportive cultures and structures, and are connected with external partners in extensive innovation ecosystems, including universities, research institutions, and other companies.”

Addressing NYSC members who attended the forum, Prof. Follett, admonished the youths to take advantage of opportunities that would equip them with skills and make them independent of paid employment when they finish their youth service.

“It is tough being an average unemployed Nigerian, but you have to understand that taking yourself out of that situation is your own responsibility and not the government’s or society’s,” He added.

Also speaking, Head of Sustainability of Access Bank, Omobolanle Victor- Laniyan, urged the youths strive to become employers of labour, noting that the organisers were clearly poised to achieve that which the country needed most.

While engaging the youths to create original products that are unique and competitive, Mrs. Victor-Laniyan said Access Bank is ready to support such creative ideas to any length.

According to her, it is important for youths to develop their emotional intelligence and create proper financial plans that would align with their vision.

“Young people must take action but knowing the right steps to take at every point is key. You must take the first steps in the right direction and ensure that you are consistent with those steps and actions,” She added.

In his own contributions, Sola Owonikoko who is the project director of Project Enable, said the best option was for the youths to target entrepreneurial skills development so as to enable them be self-reliant.

According to him, it would be difficult for any government to provide employment for the youths going by the teeming number of employable people in the country.

He also said “if the youths are skilled in different vocations, it would not only reduce poverty, but would encourage investment.”

Also speaking at the event was an entrepreneurial expert, Deola Adejuyigbe who identified Innovation, attitude and knowledge as the major weaknesses Nigerian youths are suffering from, despite their exposure to information and technology.

Adejuyigbe also marveled at the low rate at which young entrepreneurs have failed to take advantage of the over 180 million population in Nigeria. Instead, choose to blame the government for the socio-economic challenges, which he believes, is an advantage for the brightest ideas.

“The young person of today needs to innovate and need to be attuned to the realities of today. They cannot depend on the kind of work their parents did, they must think of what can be done and get paid for. The reality is, one of the biggest challenges in Nigeria is, we blame other people for our own weaknesses. The harsh economy is an opportunity. For instance, you cannot have 20 million people in Lagos and feel justified not to find something that you can offer the people around you, in exchange for money. You are the problem and not the government. Most times, pride denies most entrepreneurs the opportunity to venture into any business, including frying beans cake”.

He said that: “Innovation, attitude and knowledge are key weaknesses because people don’t understand how to run a business successfully and they need to understand that the education system needs to be improved upon. People should be afraid of where to find money; they should be more

concerned about modifying their ideas in a manner that can attract money. So a young entrepreneur’s idea has to be smart, add value and needs to be

sustainable because that is what investors are after”.

“Many times, the bright ideas will attract money, money isn’t a major setback, and it is just one of the components. The biggest challenge of an entrepreneur is the idea, innovation, the thing you want to sell and someone is willing to pay for. When you find that thing, then the ability to scale it up is what will attract someone to give you money”.

Other speakers at the event include: Tosin Adebisi who is the Senior International Relations Manager, University of Sussex; Deola Adejuyigbe,

Managing Director of Serve consultancy; Femi Taiwo, Executive Director of Leap Africa; Sola Amusan, Education Leader, Microsoft; Funmi Oyatogun TVP Adventures and Tobi Aigbogun, Co-founder, Social Good Lagos.

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