|Getty Images/ US Ambassador to Nigeria|
The US Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, on Monday urged Nigerians to always invest in entrepreneurial development in order to promote meaningful economic growth in the country.
Symington gave the advice while addressing participants at the one-day forum to commemorate the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) organised by the US Embassy and LeadPreneur, an NGO, in Abuja.
GEW is an international initiative established in 2008 as a result of enterprise week in United Kingdom and entrepreneurship week USA 2007 to encourage young people participating in entrepreneurial ventures.
The envoy said that the call had become important because entrepreneurship was an economic concept that could be used to encourage people to develop and manage business and other ventures.
According to Symington, Nigeria is a strong nation, but the government alone cannot provide all the services required to grow its economy, therefore, the need to invest in entrepreneurial ventures.
Symington said: “If there is anything I observed about Nigeria it is habit of people seeking value for money, which is what entrepreneurship is all about, in terms of connecting people.
“Entrepreneurship is what Nigeria really needs under democratic dispensation; citizens have to be entrepreneurial, not just for themselves, but also in promotion of nation building.
“Think of your country and customers before your company and yourself; ask yourself every day, am I creating something of value than it costs more to create?
“To do well as entrepreneurs you must find a better way to do well to succeed, not just in your business, but for the citizens of Nigeria to maximise profits.
“As citizens of a democratic nation, you have to be entrepreneurial, not just thinking for yourselves, but for interest of your country and your customers, before yourself.”
He decried lack of mentoring of young people on entrepreneurship to promote entrepreneurial growth, saying that “If you think that entrepreneurship is all about profit making, you get it wrong”.
The envoy, however, urged the participants to create more room for mentoring young people in entrepreneurship to reduce unemployment and enable them to be self-reliant.
The head of LeadPreneur, Taofeek Babayeju, said the entrepreneurial forum was born out of the need to reduce unemployment in the country.
According to Babayeju, job creation is not exclusive to government alone, there is need to invest entrepreneurial development of the youth population to be able to achieve target.
“Great nations are built by great leaders, but the prosperity of the nation can only be achieved through the involvement of entrepreneurs in driving the economy.
“Government has to create enabling environment while we need to be in driver’s seat by taking charge of entrepreneurial ventures,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the GEW is designed to bring entrepreneurs, investors, policy makers, researchers and educators together, to discuss way forward and promote national entrepreneurship campaign.
The high point of the event was panel discussions, question and answer sessions, and power point presentation on proper ways to promote entrepreneurial growth.