BY PATRICK PAUL
Andrew is a 2003 graduate of applied chemistry from one of Nigeria’s universities. His dream is to work for a multinational company. He has been applying and writing aptitude test conducted by the banks and oil companies, but has not been lucky to pin an appointment with any of these companies. I ran into him recently after the last time I met him 2 years ago. To my utmost surprise he is still applying and writing more aptitude test. When he told me he is unemployed, I asked him if he doesn’t think now is the time to build his own multinational company? He was thrown aback at my question and asked ‘’what do you mean?’’ I told him this is the time for him to think outside the box, and change is focus from looking for a job to creating a job for himself and others.
Every year the universities are spinning out thousands of graduates and the national youth service scheme are throwing thousand into the labor market. The ratio of graduates to the job that are available is 100:1. This means at every given time about a hundred graduates are clamoring for one job opening. This simply shows that the universities and polytechnics are producing more graduates than the government and private sectors are producing jobs.
In the United state, statistics had shown that the private sector is adding more jobs to the U.S economy in the last 5 years. You may want to ask who are those creating the jobs. Suffice it to say that they are university graduates and university dropouts who had great ideas but cannot wait to go and implement them.
Silicon Valley in San Jose, California is a hub where the largest private sector jobs are minted. The valley can boost of companies like Facebook , Twitter, Google inc. Evernote, oDesk, Chegg, Box, LinkedIn, Compaq, Netscape and Microsoft to mention but a few.
The question now before us is when is our graduates going to dump the employee mentality and start building businesses that will compete with the best around the world.
Here are five reasons why the many unemployed graduates roaming the streets should take up entrepreneurship.
1 ) Too Many Societal Problems to Solve.
The most successful people in life are successful because they recognize opportunities which ordinary people cannot see. Most times these opportunities are hidden in societal problems which ordinary people are contended to complain about but do nothing to solve.
Jide, (not his real name) use to work in a construction company in Lagos, Nigeria. He would wake up every day by 4:30am including Sundays in other to get to work by 7:00 at the Island. He was always angry and dissatisfied with the conditions at work and knew he wasn’t going to survive for long with the harsh realities of things. He started thinking of what to do to alleviate his situation. He started looking for a problem to solve that would also give him an opportunity to control his destiny. He looked at different business ideas but known of them appeal to his being, until one day he came back from work, although tired he decided to see what is showing on the television. On the TV was a documentary about the problem and causes of flooding in Lagos. Incessant disposal of pure water sachet was identified as one of the causes of blocked drainage which leads to flooding. Something lighted within him and he couldn’t sleep that night, for an idea has dropped into the core of his being and was looking for an expression. Going to work the next day he knew things would never be the same again.
Today he owns a pure water sachet recycling facility in Lagos, Nigeria. His idea has also created a source of livelihood for those whom he buys the pure water sachet from. I told somebody this story, instead of the individual to see the great opportunity in the story and respect the courage and ingenuity of Jide, he said ‘’ but there is still flooding in Lagos and pure water sachet still litters the streets’’. Herein lie the opportunities; Jide is just one man trying to solve the problems of a city of 10million people.
Jide is inundated with demands from other African countries for the pelletized granules the end product of the recycled sachet, which is an important raw materials for plastic production.
As I write this I am tempted to shout, why do we waste our time looking for jobs when they are so many problems to be solved?
2 ) A Chance to Explore Your Passion
A lot of people have different gift deposited in them by God. But the grind of daily Living has pushed these gifts to the Background. Some of us have a passion for writing, dancing, singing and running businesses. But we simply are afraid to quit our 9 to 5 jobs to go and pursue our passions. Most people can testify of the success of those who dare to take the leap and in doing so have found great success.
We have those who are very passionate about being a doctor but complain about being paid peanuts; we have those who are passionate to fly aircraft and so must fly all the time leaving their families, we have those who are gifted cooks, so they must work in Transcorp Hilton Hotel taking orders, we have those who are passionate about figures and so must work long hours in the banks even though they hate it. Where is all this heading to? Now, our focus is to take your passion and create a business out of it. We need people who are not just passionate about being a doctor but owning hospitals, owning a plane and not just being a pilot, owning a bank and not contented working long hours in the bank, owning a world class restaurant instead of cooking and taking orders in Transcorp. As a young engineering graduate, instead of working long hours in a construction company or oil company rig, you can take a crash course and become a consultant to the Construction Company or Oil Company. Becoming an employee in an oil company is a dangerous way to live anyway. If you doubt me ask those who are victims of Shell policy of selling oil platform in warri.
Ola Okunrin is a British trained medical doctor, today instead of being contented working in a hospital she came to Nigeria founded Flying Doctors with fleet of helicopters and aircraft in their DOMAIN. Flying Doctors is the first air ambulance service in West Africa, solving a lot of problems in the African health sector.
3 ) A chance to Have Financial Freedom
Apart from having the employee mentality, many people have the mentality of working for 35 years and earning a government pension. Little did they know that in the new economy which began with the advent of the information age, government the world over now practice the contributive pension scheme instead of the industrial age define benefit pension scheme, where employees are required to contribute toward their pension. At retirement you can only be paid what you contributed during your active years. Yet, many people with this mentality do not know about these changes.
In a world like ours where the world economy is always experiencing one form of recession, depression or economic meltdown, you would agree with me that job security is a mirage. In the information age new and improve ideas are everywhere giving rise to better ways of doing things. These has increase unhealthy competition amongst companies, companies who cannot compete are acquired or merged with better companies in order for them to stay afloat. And when such mergers and acquisition takes place the workers are the first causalities. In countries like the United State where labor is expensive companies are moving their factories to China and India where labor are cheaper than in the State. In the information age a company in Nigeria can outsourced certain jobs to individuals in other countries; someone in South African can compete with you for the same job in your country. In the new economy there are no guarantees that you will find a job without losing same tomorrow or in six month time.
However, entrepreneurship gives any one a better chance to have job security as well as financial freedom.
A young computer science graduate I came in contact with, said he spent six years after graduation looking for a job and teaching mathematics in a private secondary school in Port Harcourt, decided to take his fate on his hand when he quitted his teaching job and went to learn about security cameras for six month. Today he is the proud owner of a security camera company. His clientele includes banks, oil companies, fast food restaurant, and residential quarters. He has submitted a proposal to a state in the south south geo political region to install close circuit cameras (CCTV) in strategic places in the state. In less than three years he has moved from joblessness to financial freedom. He owns properties in Port Harcourt and travels abroad to buy the cameras.
The information age favors those who can come up with great ideas; leave their comfort zone, regardless of the fear of failure and go out to implement these ideas. After all it is better to fail trying than to succeed doing nothing. If you succeed in making your business successful, the pay off can be great, greater than your wildest imagination. There are lots of people everywhere going out to work every day looking for money, they work the hardest and for long hours with little to show for it. If you can run a business you have the chance to achieve more by working smart.
See: How To Build A Business You Can Sell.
4) Be Your Own Boss
Becoming an entrepreneur give you the chance to be your own boss and control your financial destiny. If you take a look at the Forbes list of world billionaires closely you would find an interesting trend. All the billionaires listed are business owners; you cannot find employees on the list even if they are the Chief Executives of the companies. This goes to show that you can hardly become truly rich as an employee. The reason is because most employees are salary earners, the higher your wages, the greater you are taxed by the government. However, this is not to say the employee cannot become rich if they become investors.
Becoming an entrepreneur also eliminate your having to put in many years to get to the top echelon of the company. I was talking to a retiring business manager of PHCN who said it took him more than 27 years to get to that position. More so the federal government have been playing cat and mouse game with them over their severance since the privatization of the PHCN.
As an entrepreneur you own the ladder in your organization, you need not work for years to get to the top.
5) Become A Mentor
Once you become a successful business owner you can retire and set up a foundation to give back to life. Most entrepreneurs pledge billions of dollars to teach up and coming business owners the rudiment of starting a business. One of such foundation is the MARA FOUNDATION own by the youngest African billionaire Ashish J. Thakkar to mentor young African business owners. The Melinda Gates foundation has given billions of dollars to fight polio in Africa. We have thousands of such foundation and mentorship programs scattered around the world owned by people who dare to dream and make the dreams a reality. Imagine what would have become of Bill Gates if he had stayed back in Harvard University to finish school then looked for a job and worked for 35 years in order to earned a pension.
In writing this post I tried to show the thousands of young graduates that are coming out from the universities every year that it is possible to go straight from the university to be an employer of labor instead of blaming the government for lack of jobs.
I will end this post with a quote from the book: The Success Principles That Never Fail by Dave Dean ‘’ the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood……. Who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and…… if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.’’
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