According to the African Development Bank, 22 percent of Africa’s working-age population are starting businesses. This is the highest entrepreneurship rate in the world. However, in spite of this, the contribution of these entrepreneurs to economic growth is limited.
In order to increase the contributions of youth entrepreneurs in Nigeria to economic growth, leading ICT and telecommunications company, MTN Nigeria hosted young business owners to a training session on how to become successful entrepreneurs. The session organised in partnership with Cisco had in attendance entrepreneurs from Abia, Akwa Ibom and Kaduna States.
The Cisco certified Instructor, Austine Ijioma highlighted a number of skills required of successful entrepreneurs. He divided these skills into soft and hard skills. The hard skills include technical skills like web development, networking, database administration, software engineering, and cybersecurity. His focus during the training though was on soft skills, which include leadership, teamwork, creativity, adaptability and work ethic.
Austine described leadership as the action of leading a group of people or an organization. Necessary leadership skills that should be acquired include strategic thinking, planning and delivery, change management and innovation, persuasion and influencing, and decision-making. According to Austine, having these skills on lockdown will greatly improve leadership abilities.
No man is an island, and no one person is an expert in all fields. Teamwork is essential for this reason and more. People who are able to collaborate with others to resolve issues quickly and effectively are usually highly valued. Austine went further to highlight other related problem-solving skills including creativity, critical thinking, risk management, research, decision-making and resourcefulness.
Creativity is finding new ways to perform tasks, improve processes or even develop new and exciting avenues for the business to explore. To be creative, you will need to be curious, be open to learning from others, be open-minded, take calculated risks and engage in experimentation. Being creative as an entrepreneur will help you to stay ahead of the curve.
The ability to adapt to changes will go a long way in ensuring the success of any entrepreneur. Austine stated that changes in processes, tools or clients can happen quickly and the ability to adapt is vital to the survival of any business. He went further to highlight other related skills like consistency, enthusiasm, optimism, cooperation, patience, and growth mindset.
This is the ability to follow through on tasks and duties in a timely and efficient manner. Anyone could easily see why having a good work ethic will improve the success rate of an entrepreneur. Other related skills include integrity, dependability, organization, time management, motivation, and perseverance.