The Challenges of students’ Entrepreneurs in Nigeria.

The Challenges of students’ Entrepreneurs in Nigeria.

We live in a world where the future is uncertain, and it belongs to those who can think, create and innovate, that’s why it’s important to learn and study in addition to personal growth and development which can be nurtured in this direction.
The world is our stage to play it big, if you don't strike the right chord you risk riding the world's heaviest train on a biscuit wheel. Growing up as a kid we were taught by our parents, and to an extent, by the society and environment we found ourselves, to study hard to make good grades in school and get a nice job afterwards. A lot of energy was channeled into it, with the sole aim of becoming great employees. A lot of things were not said when it comes to the issue of entrepreneurship because all the information they have is how you can work for money but have/had little or no knowledge about how money can work for you and this could lead to many starting a new business from scratch with no economic background, coupled with the poor knowledge of running a business. It might end up being a shattered dream.

I remember, once upon a time, going to a university and graduating with a great degree was all you required to secure a great job. People were taught specifically about how to work for money. Although, the reality is not so cut-and-dried, sadly in this part of the world a University degree is just a prerequisite to landing a great job; On the other hand, for entrepreneurs, it’s an opportunity to learn real-world skills and start building a network of like-minded, well-studied people. Many institutions of higher learning in Nigeria channels their efforts in producing or raising employable graduates like I pointed out before, undermining or rather neglecting the part where entrepreneurial skills come into play. Nowadays, things have changed, great employments are rare and a university degree now does not ensure one.

Tragically, universities in Nigeria are still not keeping up with this change and that's something we need to fix because the world is changing. Formal education needs to be revised to produce more innovative mindsets rather than ordinary job seeking and employable graduates. We should be armed with distilled teachings and lecturing about an entrepreneur, with details to place our quest and passion in good stead.

Consequently, it is really tough work to be a student and take up entrepreneurial initiatives in Nigeria Universities. The academic stress in most Nigeria universities is enough to weigh students down. It is a big challenge and always poses a threat to students to take up initiatives. On the other hand, student entrepreneurship is really something of a far cry.

However, it is common in Nigeria and other parts of  world to find students who work per time combined with school work. In the developed or some parts of the world, students work under employers to meet the demands of their education and life. Nigeria is quite a different ball game, as a result of the economic situation in the country and how it affects the average citizens. Some students happen to be in charge of their education, that is, they cover the cost of their education themselves. These people have to make meet for their lives and as a result of low employment in the country many create little jobs for themselves, by going through apprenticeship.

Having laid this foundation, let me bring to your notice practical insight from a student's entrepreneural experience. I interviewed a lady named Miss Joy, and she had this to say:

A. Some of the challenges(Miss Joy)a student entrepreneur in University of Portharcourt experienced :

1. Time Management: Ability to keep up with my studies and doing business is one of the many challenges I encountered as a student entrepreneur. Sometimes, I have to go deliver a product and I will still have to go to school at the same time. I will have to try to convince the customer to reschedule the time or day of delivery. Some of the customers would say they would not be around as at the time that I will be available for the delivery. However, I would struggle to look for a way to get it through for them. Amidst this, there is also a challenge of using the time I am supposed to study to advertise my products, sometimes it will take a toll on me but I try striking a balance to make up for the lost time, not quite easy though.

2. Finance: This is a major hindrance as an entrepreneur. Having a lot of business ideas and lots of products to buy but capital to get it is a problem plus the fact I have expenses of my own, most times I've had to forego certain things for my business to thrive.

3. Focus: “Juggling entrepreneurship and schooling is no easy task," she said. Focusing on my study was another challenge because sometimes the thought of the products I want to purchase, what am I going to do to move it forward, consumers’ interest, what I stand to gain from sales(profit). The time I should have invest to read my book I would spend a large chunk of it, to think and analyze how to push and move my business forward. Miss Joy also recounted how it was too stressful to focus, one minute you are at work and the other minute you are in school,” she quizzed.

4. Marketing: With no fitting information around the foremost effective marketing techniques, most Nigerian student entrepreneurs are attempting to spare cash and cut their spending on fundamental needs. Many Student entrepreneurs face this challenge which consists of the knowledge on how to market products and services. According to her "Marketing is another challenge I encountered, I don't quite have an experience or a grounded knowledge on it.  I do with my little knowledge of advertisements on social media through my Facebook and WhatsApp platform. Most times it doesn't reach out to a large number of people. Even if people view it they see it and pass. Then, I feel my target audience is not on Facebook because most of my Facebook views are mostly students like me who might not even have the money to get the products. This makes me look for a platform where I can market my products to the right audience who are willing and desirable to pay (your products depend on your target customers)." Remember, a good marketing strategy is a great factor in contributing to the success of a businessman or an entrepreneur per se.

5. Risk: Another problem I encountered is a risk. It’s been said that risk is something you have to live with every day of your life, so the incanting risk in entrepreneurship is not farfetched because, in the world of business, the risk is a common occurrence. Sometimes you see a product and then you feel is cool, you spend money getting the product but when you get it and market it you find out that people are not really buying the products the way it should be. Or maybe you see a product with the intention of selling it at a particular price because it looks good and resourceful but when you buy it and tries to sell to potential clients, hearing the price makes them decline their interest in the product. Your expectations and what you see don't match up and the profit you make eventually don’t worth it. Sometimes you won't even make profit but loss.

6. Keep to trends: Student entrepreneurship is really not easy because you will be serving two masters at a time, you will think of your business and also your academic work. At the same time thinking of the need of the people, what's the latest trend, how can I be of help to proffer a solution to the need of people in the environment. You try to be innovative. You try to strike balance between the two so that none will suffer.

B. In conclusion Miss Joy also recounted how she related with her customers, in response to the question if she also meet them because poor knowledge on how to run a business and as well relate with your customers could be a huge determinant factor in marring a business. Sometimes the success of the business depends not on sufficient capital, time management or other risks associated, but on the lack of the entrepreneur's experience and knowledge on how to relate or communicate with their customers. Relationships are important in life,so as customer Relationship marketing. They make you connect with our customers.Relstionship builds business. Joy gave ways by which she relates with her customers:

1. Showcase the product: "When I post my products on the Facebook and WhatsApp platform customers calls. Sometimes I tell my friends to help me repost my products on their status or any platform they are. When customers show up, I chat them up or they call me that I need this product. Then I ask when do you need it.

2. Being Polite: Amidst this, I always try to be polite because that's one of the ways to relate to your customers as an entrepreneur. Some customers can be very annoying, based on the kind of questions they ask. Worst of it, after all the questions they will tell you I will get back to you which is very frustrating. So, when you chat them up to try to respond with them in a polite manner, a great deal of patience is needed in customer service.

3. Costing: In a case where the location is very far from mine, I will tell them if they are willing to pay or in other words cover up for the transportation fare to reach them. Some would say, no I can't afford it then I will tell them maybe if someone I know is heading towards their location, I will pass it through to them. On another occasion, I will proffer a solution to it by trying to subsidize the transportation fare.

To cap it up, I will say being a student entrepreneur is a blessing despite the challenges student entrepreneurs face.

Written by: 
Ifediogor Uche Emmanuel

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