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ENTREPRENEURIAL OPPORTUNITIES IN THE UNIVERSITY ENVIRONMENT OBAFEMI AWOLOWO UNIVERSITY, ILE-IFE NIGERIA

By

Alarape, A.A
Centre for Industrial Research and Development Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria.

A paper presented at a Workshop for Fresh Students, Organised by the Christ Dominion Team International at the First Bank Faculty of Social Science Lecture Theatre, OAUIFE 23rd and 24th April, 2010

April 2010

1.

Introduction In Nigeria, there has been growing quest for knowledge of entrepreneurship. A wide

range of factors has contributed to this development. These factors include the growing rate of unemployment and poverty, particularly, graduate employment and the increasing cost of higher education in Nigeria in the face of dwindling financial resources of parents and guardians. This, calls for the students to look for alternate sources of getting additional income to complement the meagre resources provided by their parent and guardian, which in many cases are inadequate. Furthermore, the realisation of the ability of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to create widespread employment opportunities and act as catalyst to national economic prosperity caused contrasting of SMEs for large businesses, hence the promotion of entrepreneurship studies. However, the concern of this paper is neither the discussion of the role of entrepreneurship in economic development nor to engage in the rigorous task of the definition or de-definition of entrepreneurship but to provide information on the entrepreneurial opportunities in our Universitys environment. However, in order to enhance the comprehension of the subject-matter, the paper started by carefully explaining relevant terms and basic ingredients of entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial activity and entrepreneurial opportunities. This is followed by hypothetical analysis of Obafemi Awolowo Universitys (OAU) business environment and the identification and listing of the entrepreneurial opportunities at (OAU).

2.

Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurial Activity and Entrepreneurial Opportunity Entrepreneurship has been defined differently by Business Scholars overtime. Starting

from Richard Cantillon in 1775 who first uses it in an economic context and described Entrepreneurship as situation of operating under conditions where expenditures are known and certain but incomes are unknown and uncertain to the period of Venkatraman (1997), Sexton (1997) wherein entrepreneurship is described as a scholarly field that seeks to understand how opportunities to bring into existence future goods and services are discovered, created and exploited by whom and with what consequences. They presented entrepreneurship as the process of creating and/or recognising opportunities as well as the pursuit of those opportunities by turning them into wealth creating businesses during a limited window of time. Other important explanation of the word entrepreneurship are: Schumpeter (1934) that described it as a process of creating new combination, Casson (1982) and Livesay (1982) that described entrepreneurship as encompassing a purposeful and successful activity to initiate, maintain or develop a profit-oriented business.

The important lesson from these definitions is that entrepreneurship involves: (i) Opportunity identification, forward looking activity involving the anticipation and acting on future needs which may or may not related to the present line of operation and/or in response to trends and demand that already exist in the marketplace (ii) Risk-taking - refers to the tendency to venture into uncertain and unknown environment or commit resources to ventures with uncertain outcomes (ii) Innovativeness - reflects a firms tendency to engage in new ideas, experimentation, creative processes that may lead to new products, new technology and services

(iv)

Business Creation - is the act of starting a new enterprise or launching a new venture either by a start-up firm or through an existing firm

(v)

Harvesting Profit/Loss. Therefore entrepreneurial activities are the creative, refining (i.e. innovative actions),

coordinating and allocating actions (i.e. managerial actions) in the process of identifying, and utilising business opportunities under an uncertain or probable conditions (Risk-taking) and the receipt of reward (i.e. profit or loss) for these actions. Then, what is entrepreneurial opportunity? Inasmuch as the raison dtre (primary goal) for establishing an enterprise is profit, it is therefore only appropriate to explain entrepreneurial opportunity based on profit criterion which is a product of the interaction of Volume of sale and Cost ( i.e. risk). An Entrepreneurial opportunity is a gap in the Marketplace identified that can be filled profitably by establishing a new business or existing business. Thus, for a gap in the Marketplace to become an entrepreneurial opportunity there should be (i) a large volume of sales, (ii) The volume of sales should be able to generate revenue in excess of the costs and (iii) the profit should be attractive.

3.

Our Universitys Business Environment The Entrepreneurial Opportunities There is one important factor in Obafemi Awolowo Universitys (OAU) business

environment that worth mentioning before analyzing the market and stating the various entrepreneurial opportunities. This singular factor infrastructural availability and adequacy where not available have caused high cost of production, low output and capacity utilization, little or no profit and ultimately the shut-down (i.e. failure) of small and medium

enterprises in Nigeria and across the World. At OAU there are good road networks within the University and linking the University to the City of Ile-Ife and other adjoining towns to transport people, goods and services. In addition the supply of power (Electricity) is relatively stable and cheap, so also the supply of portable and clean water made possible from the Universitys constructed dam a big thanks to both the present and past managements. A brief analyzing of the Universitys business environment based on an arm-chair reflection, personal experience and anecdotal evidences reveal that: the primary occupants of the Universitys business environment are students and workers; the students population is very large, an estimate of about twenty thousand (22,000), while the workers are about eight thousand (8,000) conservatively. Furthermore, one-third of the population is female and the rest majority is male. Inasmuch as the student population is the larger (70%) of the two, it implies that the population is skewed towards those within the 16 30 years of age. Hence, a youth dominated market. In addition, more than half of the population of the students and the workers should be residing permanently in the University and the rest spent a minimum of eight hours of their day time on campus. Let us assume on the average that a student will spend N100.00 on its daily upkeep and educational need on the campus and a worker will spend N200.00 for his upkeep and other essentialities in a day. Therefore, N2,200,000 (i.e. N100 x 22,000 = N2,200,000) is spent by the students in a day and N1,600,000 (i.e. N200 x 8,000 = N1,600,000) is spent by the workers in a day. This implies that about N3.8 million cash is in circulation in a day, N114 million in a month and about N1.4 billion in a year without considering the expenses of the visitors and friends who come to the University. It is therefore not surprising that many financial institutions abode in the University and provided ancillary

support (financial intermediation and other financial services including saving and deposit acceptance). Then, what inferences can be drawn from these: (I) (ii) (iii) There is a large market dominated by youths Both the female and male populations in the market are reasonably large The money in circulation within the market is large, indicating a high purchasing power. Therefore, it implies that, there is most likely to be large volume of sales, low cost of production and profit (i.e. entrepreneurial opportunities) in industries that serviced the basic needs and the immediate wants of the population. For example, (a) provision of food and Beverages, such as Catering and Restaurant, Provision Shop and Supermarkets, Barbecue, (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) Cloth and textiles, such as Garment store for Females and Males, Fashion designing, Hair dressing saloon and Berbers shop. Photocopy and stationeries, binding of books and documents, lamination of documents Computer services, internet and telephoning service Cleaning services, such as dry cleaning of cloths and laundry services, including car wash (g) (h) Photography Beautification and Decoration of Halls and places of events

However, this list is not exhaustive, it can be populated from time to time as new opportunities emerge in the business environment.

4.

Conclusion

The identification of entrepreneurial opportunity is the first step in the process of establishing a successful business. However, when you are starting a business to harness these opportunities, consideration should be given to availability and adequacy of other resources like finance, capital and human resource. Therefore, I am seizing this opportunity to implore you all to select one or two opportunities, worked on them and start a micro-business. Many big companies today started from the backyard or Garage some years back

5.

References

Cantillon, R. 1734. Essai sur la nature du commerce en general [Essay on the nature of general commerce]. (Henry Higgs, Trans,). London: Macmillan http://www.ecn.bris.ac.uk/het2/essay1.doc Casson M. (1982), The entrepreneur: An Economic Theory, Martin Robertson, Oxford, pp 23. Livesay H.C. (1982), Entrepreneurship and the Growth of Firms, Aldershot, U.K: Edward Elgar Schumpeter, J. A. (1934), The Theory of Economic Development Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., pp. 64. Sexton D.L (1997), Entrepreneurship Research Needs, and Issues in Sexton D.L. and Smilor R.W, Entrepreneurship 2000, Chicago: Upstart Publishing, pp127-150 Venkatraman, N. (1997), The distinctive domain of entrepreneurship research. In J. A. Katz (Ed.), Advances in Entrepreneurship, Firm Emergence, and Growth, 3, 119138