Nonsochukwu Uwa, Owerri
The Chancellor/Founder, of Gregory University, Professor Greg Ibe, on Friday described the sit-at-home order of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, as a sad example of one of the factors crumbling growth and investments in the South-East region.
Professor Ibe, disclosed this while fielding questions at the Ikengaonline monthly town-hall meeting with the theme: Navigating the challenges of Youths Entrepreneurship: Strategies for success.
According to him, “Limited access to markets: Access to local and international markets can be a challenge for entrepreneurs in Nigeria. Infrastructure deficiencies, lack of market information, and inadequate distribution channels often limit their ability to reach a wider customer base and expand their businesses.
He also identified corruption and bureaucratic bottlenecks as factors limiting entrepreneurs.
“Nigeria has been plagued by corruption and a complex bureaucratic system, which pose significant challenges for entrepreneurs. Corruption can lead to extortion, unfair competition, and difficulty in obtaining necessary licenses and permits. Bureaucratic red tape and delays in administrative processes can hinder business operations and discourage potential entrepreneurs.”
According to Professor Ibe who was the Abia State gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the last general election, insecurity and political instability also hamper business development.
“Insecurity and political instability: Security concerns, particularly in some regions of Nigeria, pose risks to entrepreneurial activities. Insecurity and political instability can disrupt business operations, discourage investments, and limit economic growth. A sad example is the sit-at-home situation in our region being championed by the IPOB group. It has crippled business growth and investment opportunities in the South East.”
On how to address some of the issues, he urged the South Easterners to “Foster a spirit of collaboration and networking: Embrace the concept of “Nwanne di na mba” (the Igbo adage meaning “Brotherhood is in the diaspora;”) Promote collaboration and cooperation within the Igbo community, both locally and in the diaspora; Create networks, associations, and platforms that facilitate knowledge sharing, resource pooling, and joint ventures. This collective effort can provide support, leverage diverse skills, and amplify the impact of individual entrepreneurial endeavors.
“Leverage technological advancements to drive innovation and overcome challenges. Explore digital platforms, e-commerce, and online marketing to expand your reach beyond local boundaries. Embrace emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, block-chain, and Internet of Things (IoT) to explore new business models and improve operational efficiency.
“Focus on niche markets and value-added products/services: Identify gaps and opportunities in the market. Instead of competing in saturated sectors, target niche markets where you can differentiate yourself. Offer unique, high-quality products or services that cater to specific customer needs. Add value through customisation, superior customer service, or sustainable practices. This approach can help you stand out and command premium pricing.”