It is widely believed that as institutions create incentives, they forge the successes and failures of nations. This is especially reflected in the rise of the American economy since the industrial age and the surge in China for much of the last two decades.
In both cases through strengthening institutions such as the educational institution to add skills to natural talents, the financial institution to create funding possibilities and the labour institution to provide an adequately trained and employable workforce, luck was suddenly democratized for entrepreneurs and the result was an incredible economic boom even though the two economic models employed by the respective countries are vastly different.
Developing countries like Nigeria have learnt lessons from this model especially in the area of capacity building, but the foundational aspects of strengthening institutions that would effectively provide incentives for her young entrepreneurs is still missing. Hence, ease of doing business in a place like Nigeria has hardly improved significantly for years, a damming indictment on a nation badly in need of local and foreign investments.
The well intended policy of floating entrepreneurial programs to provide capacity building as a pathway to accessing funding for young entrepreneurs has been well planned and structured but equally as poorly implemented in ways that discourages those driven by innovation. In some cases, it has become an outright source of frustration.
In a country with such a high unemployment percentage, young entrepreneurs should be encouraged in every possible way to strengthen the emerging innovation based private sector. While recruitments drive to various government agencies annually attract millions of applicants, applications to these entrepreneurial programs barely attracts up to one hundred thousand applicants. At this rate, even a 5% success rate among these entrepreneurs could provide at least a thousand jobs in their first business year which is far higher than the recruitment capacity of these public institutions that receive millions of applications yearly.
But the goals of these programs have been gradually eroded by the chaos created by the various government establishments tasked with handling them. Bureaucracy, unrealistic collateral requirements, plain nepotism, ridiculously delayed disbursements and clear-cut favouritsm etc. Within these establishments has left Nigeria’s brightest talents frustrated and unable to scale the insurmountable but avoidable barriers that prevents their ideas from becoming implementable.
With hindsight, it is glaring that the difference between Mark Zuckerbeck, Jack Bezos, and Elon Musk etc. And some of Nigeria’s finest but unknown entrepreneurs lie in the presence of institutions and support mechanisms in the former cases and absence of such institutions in the latter case.
This in no way implies that success cannot be achieved irrespective of absence of these institutions because various Nigerian entrepreneurs have become global challengers despite the foundational challenges at home, but these are only the exceptions and they are so few compared to the countries staggering population. Democratizing luck through building sound institutions will create more employment opportunities obviously and improve our global image as a place to do business.