This study examines the issues and challenges to the growth of entrepreneurship in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. This investigation was informed by the fact that governments, the world over, have in recent times strived to encourage the growth and development of entrepreneurship as an agent of economic transformation. This work therefore did a critical analysis of the challenges, with insight into their implications for the development of the Niger Delta region's economy in particular and national economy at large. The study employed a survey research design and gathered data from both the primary and secondary sources. With the use of correlation statistics, it was found that lack of access to finance and poor infrastructural facilities (e.g. power supply) ranked first among other challenges that impede the growth of entrepreneurship in the Niger Delta region. Based on this, we recommended that a rural-development programme such as Entrepreneurial Skills Development (ESD) and institutions such as Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) should be established to educates villagers/Niger Deltans on the need for and advantages of innovations in their economically productive activities such as entrepreneurship while government is advised to shift its efforts and policies toward addressing these impediments especially the inadequate and deteriorated state of infrastructural facilities which are at the cradle of any meaningful advancement in entrepreneurship. It is by this that the growth of entrepreneurship in the region would be achieved.
Key Words: Entrepreneurship; Small businesses; Enterprise development
Entrepreneurship is a concept that has been widely discussed in academic and industrial fora, especially when issues that bother on a developing economy are mentioned. Most of these discussions are perhaps premised on the understanding of entrepreneurship which according to Murphy, Liao and Welsch (2006) owes much to the work of economist Joseph Schumpeter and the Austrian economists such as Ludwig Van Mises and Friedrich Van Hayek. According to Schumpeter (1950) entrepreneurship forces "creative destruction" across markets and industries, simultaneously creating new products and business models. Many definitions abound just as there are many scholars who attempt to portray what each considers crucial to the appreciation of the subject (Knight & Frank, 1967; Drucker, 1970; Essien, 2007).
According to Essien (2006), Entrepreneurship is the totality of those attributes that enable a person to identify latent business opportunities along with the capacity to organize needed resources with which to profitably take advantage of such opportunities in the face of calculated risk and uncertainty. Entrepreneurship is about passion and perseverance. It is about risk taking. It is an act associated with true uncertainty, particularly when it involves bringing something really novel to the world, whose market never existed (Sobel & Steven, 2003).
Literature has it that the importance of entrepreneurship is enormous. It expands the size of the economic pie for everyone, creates job, produces wealth rather than take already created wealth, ensue dynamism of industries and long-run economic growth, engendered enormous personal financial gains, provide self employment, develop more industries, process local material to finished goods, generate income, more goods and service, develop new markets etc.. (Shane & Venkataraman, 2000; Sobel & Steven, 2003; Murphy et al, 2006).
In Nigeria, these potentials could be fully exploited for the benefit of Niger Delta region in particular and the country at large only if the challenges are specifically identified, tackled and addressed through effective policy formulation and implementation. In Essien (2007), it is observed that the government of Nigeria, at all levels have shown a growing concern for the economic empowerment of the citizens and the related desire to fight and reduce poverty to a negligible level in the country and this concern has given entrepreneurship a rising visibility and attention in the country. …