When the Jobs Are Not Available

When the Jobs Are Not Available

I noted this morning that fresh graduates should endeavor to have work experiences before they move into the path of entrepreneurship. Largely, some on LinkedIn noted that people without jobs have to do something. Yes, they become “entrepreneurs” if there are no jobs upon graduation.

Entrepreneurship is hot. It is exciting. Many want to be entrepreneurs immediately upon graduation from schools. I have a word for you: NO. Yes, you are not likely to thrive in Nigeria if you start any business immediately upon graduation. Besides capabilities, you need to learn, build networks and test everything they have taught you in school.

While you can hire people as you grow, it is very likely you would do most things at the beginning. So, it makes sense to learn how to do those things while working for another person.

Entrepreneurship is a high intensity call – it is not a vacation. Do not be deceived by Americans that dropped out of college to build empires. No one would tell you that most have “mini-teachers” or executive coaches helping them. And the VCs that pump those millions into them are super-mentors which could be like teachers. We do not have these elements yet in Nigeria. That is why working for at least 3 years would help your vision.

Unfortunately, that is the confusion. It is not likely the fresh graduates are entrepreneurs. They are going to be “small business owners”. Yes, they would not be entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are more than registering companies in CAC and holding business cards. To become one, the business must have scalability and is practically an organic system that grows. That guy that started one, out of college, would likely remain a small business owner while the guy that has business experience would become an entrepreneur.

I have called that the Aba Paralysis [after a city in southeastern Nigeria with many artisans] where a shoemaker does the same thing for 30 years until he retires to his village. Yes, the business did not grow – same 5 people for 30 years. The shoemaker was a small business owner, not an entrepreneur. To become an entrepreneur in Nigeria, working for someone would make that path easier.

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Interestingly, while being a small business owner can come because of lack of job opportunities, being an entrepreneur typically does not emanate because of lack of job. Entrepreneurs typically have great alternatives as they have special skills for the market frictions they are hoping to solve.  Indeed, there is that element that I know this so well that it is better I do it for myself than another person. Then you open a shop to build a business. That was a defined choice out of multiple alternatives. The small business owner had only one option: no job, do something to be busy.


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