Have you ever wanted to ask a successful businessperson how they knew that they wanted to become an entrepreneur? If you got an opportunity to engage in a conversation with them, would you ask what the secret to their success is?
People have differing views about what makes a successful entrepreneur. Some say for them, it was mostly the nurturing and mentoring that they received from doing several entrepreneurial activities. Others say their success can be attributed mostly to their genetic makeup and the innate qualities which they discovered at an early age.
There are studies to support both views, however, recent research suggests that entrepreneurs are more often born, while successful entrepreneurs are more often made.
What this implies is that a person is more likely to become an entrepreneur if they come from a family of business owners, and if they possess certain personality traits such as persistence, competitiveness, a strong passion, and discipline.
However, this doesn’t make their success in business a sure thing. What makes success in business more assured is the training and experience acquired from performing entrepreneurial roles.
CEO of Bitly, the leading Web link shortening service, Mark Josephson has this advice for young entrepreneurs “in your 20s, work harder than anybody else and put yourself in a position where you’re close to the business. Find a mentor within a smaller company, where you can learn the business and work really hard and where your growth is capped only by how good you are and how hard you work.”
Research has also shown that external factors, such as a person’s social environment, can greatly influence their decision on whether to become an entrepreneur.
One of such factors is their exposure to role models of entrepreneurship. The presence of successful entrepreneurs in a country or community is an indicator to potential entrepreneurs that business is an attractive career option. When young people can point to individuals like them that have succeeded as entrepreneurs, they are motivated to want to start up a business.
In Nigeria, entrepreneurs such as Iyin Aboyeji, founder of Flutterwave; Mark Essien, founder of Hotels.ng; and Gabriel Eze, founder of Touchabl are some examples of role models that inspire young people to establish new ventures.
Another external factor that has an influence on the development of entrepreneurship in a community or country is government policies. In fact, this factor can determine how successful entrepreneurship thrives in an environment.
With the drop in oil prices experienced in 2014, the Nigerian government has increased efforts to promote entrepreneurship as a means to create new jobs and revive the economy.
For entrepreneurship to thrive, the government would need to provide favorable policies that support and encourage innovation. Creating a friendly and enabling environment that promotes competition and entry into business is key to growing the digital sector and attracting domestic and foreign investments.
The provision of financial assistance such as grants to early-stage startups, as well as non-financial assistance such as office spaces and mentoring through hubs and incubators, would also ensure that entrepreneurs have the needed resources to succeed.
Initiatives such as the Digital Job Center in Akwa Ibom State established by the Federal Government of Nigeria, the South-South Technical Innovation Hub established by the Edo State Government, as well as RIV Tech Creek established by the Rivers State Government, to support tech entrepreneurs in the respective states with the needed facilities and opportunities to be contributors to the digital economy, are examples of a great step in achieving this.