Personal Entrepreneurial Characteristics Assessment
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DO UNDERGRADUATES HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BE ENTREPRENEURS AND MANAGERS OF SMALL BUSINESSES IN NIGERIA? AN INQUIRY INTO STUDENTSâ€™ PERSONAL ENTREPRENEURIAL CHARACTERISITICS Afolabi O. O., Sanni M.  ,…
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DO UNDERGRADUATES HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BE ENTREPRENEURS AND MANAGERS OF SMALL BUSINESSES IN NIGERIA? AN INQUIRY INTO STUDENTSâ€™ PERSONAL ENTREPRENEURIAL CHARACTERISITICS Afolabi O. O., Sanni M.  , Egbetokun A. A., Dada A. D., , Jesuleye O. A. and Siyanbola W. O.  Corresponding Author National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM), Federal Ministry of Science & Technology (FMST), Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria Paper presented at the 3 rd SMU EDGE Conference in Singapore between 9 th and 11 th of July,2008
Although entrepreneurship is of serious importance to the Nigerian economy, this paper argues that graduate entrepreneurship makes only a limited contribution to employment in the nation.
Statistics show, for example, that between 1994 and 2003, the Nigerian labour market grew by about 58% while the employment opportunities increased by only 20% between the same period (Ajetomobi and Ayanwale, 2005).
The existence of such a huge gap could be an indication that the tendency of graduates starting their own businesses after graduation is rather low.
Part of a much larger study: Assessment of Technological Entrepreneurial Attitude in Nigerian Tertiary Institutions
Quantify studentsâ€™ and lecturersâ€™ interest and involvement in entrepreneurial practice;
Assess the influence of specific factors on entrepreneurial attitude;
Evaluate the existing entrepreneurial education curricula in the institutions
Undergraduate students from Nigerian tertiary institutions were the main subjects; lecturers were secondary targets
Over 7500 students and over 1200 lecturers sampled
13 Universities; 9 Polytechnics; 3 CoE (Tech)
Multi-stage sampling method was adopted in selecting a representative sample for this study.
A total of 7560 students from a total of 25 tertiary institutions comprising 13 (20% of total) Universities, 9 (18% of total) Polytechnics and 3 (38% of total) Colleges of Education (Technical) were sampled in this study.
Altogether, these amount to approximately 20% of all tertiary institutions in Nigeria at the time of this study, as reported by the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board in 2005.
Response rate was about 83%.
Data was collected among undergraduates of 25 tertiary institutions in Nigeria using questionnaire.
The questionnaire elicited information on socio-economic background of the students, their entrepreneurial interest and involvement, among several other explanatory variables.
OBJECTIVES OF THIS PAPER
assess the level of entrepreneurial interest among the students in Nigerian tertiary institutions;
evaluate the personal entrepreneurial characteristics of these students;
investigate the relationship between the studentsâ€™ interest in entrepreneurship and their personal entrepreneurial characteristics.
Location of selected institutions
Entrepreneurial interest (EI) was captured via a simple binary variable having a value of 1 if the respondent answered â€śYesâ€ť to the question â€śAre you interested in starting your own business?â€ť and 0 otherwise.
The Personal Entrepreneurial Characteristics (PEC) of students was captured by six variables:
Opportunity and Initiative (OI),
nformation Seeking (IS),
Independence and Self-Confidence (ISC),
Risk Taking (RT) and
Goal Setting (GS).
The variables were adapted from the 10-variable scale used in previous Nigeria-based study by Adegbite et al (2007).
For each variable, the mean score was computed over the entire sample and then for the categories of students with entrepreneurial interest and those without.
Approximately 84% of the respondents indicated that they were interested in starting their own business.
This surprisingly surpasses the figure of 65% found in a study of young people in the United States and 68.2% in Australia (Walstad & Kourilsky, 1999; Sergeant and Crawford, 2001).
However, it was found that the entrepreneurial intent of the students did not translate sufficiently into action.
Only 28.3% of the students that expressed interest in entrepreneurship were actually engaged in the practice.
Personal Entrepreneurial Characteristics
Except for goal setting which is low, the personal entrepreneurial characteristics of Nigerian students are largely moderate, with mean values ranging from 3.08 to 3.73.
The qualities of persistence and risk taking (mean = 3.73) were the most pronounced in our sample.
To a good extent, this suggests that Nigerian students might be well-positioned to engage in entrepreneurship as founders and business managers.
Personal Entrepreneurial Characteristics
For all the six PEC variables, the average values for students with EI were above the sample averages, the reverse being the case for students without EI.
Interestingly, GS was found to be higher for the category of students with no EI than for those with EI; and it was above the sample average.
Personal Entrepreneurial Characteristics
Contrary to expectation, the risk taking propensity did not differ significantly between the two categories of students.
These findings are particularly surprising as they suggest, first, that non-entrepreneurial-minded students in Nigeria are better at goal-setting than their entrepreneurial-minded counterparts; and then, that a higher level of risk-aversion is not necessarily associated with non-entrepreneurial-minded students.
In the latter case, previous research elsewhere has suggested that students generally tend to be risk-averse (Wang and Wong, 2004; Cunningham et al, 1995).
A significant relationship was found between EI and the PEC variables, except risk taking.
PEC and EI
To explore the extent to which PEC influenced the EI of students, a binary logistic regression analysis was carried out.
Again, risk taking turned out to be the only variable that exerts a non-significant influence on EI.
In spite of the significance level of five out of six of the PEC variables, the outcome of the analysis shows that the proportion of variation in EI which could be explained by PEC was rather low. (R 2 = 0.042).
Given the necessity of country- or region-specific studies on entrepreneurship, this study is particularly useful.
It is, arguably, the first entrepreneurial study of this magnitude in Nigeria and provides baseline information for researchers and policy makers who need to better understand the dynamics of entrepreneurship among the youth.
It is important to note that entrepreneurial interest among Nigerian students is quite high but the expression of this interest in practice is rather low.
The main factors to be adduced for this are poor funding and inadequate preparation through training, as indicated by the majority of the respondents.
The fact that the PEC variables were significantly correlated with EI is clearly an indication that they are very important and thus should be well entrenched in entrepreneurial education in all tertiary institutions.
A particularly key institutional weaknesses identified in the course of this study was expressed in the inadequacy of government support to young and aspiring entrepreneurs.
These imply the need for effective training and funding initiatives. Advocacy in favour of entrepreneurship may also pay off in the long run, seeing that the students already possess a good level of entrepreneurial characteristics.
Thank you for your attention
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