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1.1 Background of the study
In developing countries such as Nigeria the economic landscape is changing, with a move from foreign direct investment to self-employment and entrepreneurship. This is noted in the increase in the number of individuals considering self-employment as a career option due to the high rate of unemployment in those Economies. According to the European Commission Report (2012), despite the lack of evidence on the effects of entrepreneurship education, the key role of entrepreneurship education must not be disregarded. In addition to equipping young people with the skills needed for the 21st century, entrepreneurship education is a means to increase social inclusion; it can increase the number of entrepreneurs – social and commercial, and it can be a gateway for a greater integration of the framework for key competences for lifelong learning. Blenker, Dreisler & Kjeldsen (2008) argue that in the closing decades of the 20th century, entrepreneurship gained increased recognition among economists as a significant driver of improvements in societal welfare. Across the globe, governments have acknowledged the importance of their roles in motivating individuals, businesses and related stakeholders to perceive and develop new opportunities that can promote positive change and create economic growth in their societies. This entrepreneurial spirit is now seen as the main source of innovations in nearly all industries, leading to the birth of new enterprises and the growth and renewal of established organizations. Simon et al. (2012) says that given entrepreneurship's potential to support economic growth; it is the policy goal of many governments to develop a culture of entrepreneurial thinking. This can be done in a number of ways: by integrating entrepreneurship into education systems, legislating to encourage risk taking, and national campaigns The importance of entrepreneurship education and training was stressed in a 2009 report by the Global Education Initiative (GEI) of the World Economic Forum (WEF): which noted that while education is one of the most important foundations for economic development, entrepreneurship is a major driver of innovation and economic growth. Entrepreneurship education plays an essential role in shaping attitudes, skills and culture from the primary level up. We believe entrepreneurial skills, attitudes and behaviors can be learned, and that exposure to entrepreneurship education throughout an individual’s lifelong learning path, starting from youth and continuing through adulthood into higher education as well as reaching out to those economically or socially excluded is imperative. The key to the success of establishing a culture of entrepreneurship in Nigeria is education and training, which depends on all the stakeholders, including state, educators, and learners themselves. Apart from the educational impact and influence, the school can be regarded as the place where the most (holistic) profound impact can be brought about in the development of the youth. The small and medium enterprise (SME) sector plays a pivotal role in creating innovation, wealth, employment and economic growth in industrialized and developing countries (Robson and Bennett, 2000). For example, in the UK, SMEs account for 99.8 per cent of enterprises and 52.4 per cent of employment (Small Business Service, 2008). The encouragement of entrepreneurial behavior is therefore critical for the economy (Gray, 2006) especially given its contribution to economic prosperity within knowledge-based economies (Hannon, 2005). Harrison and Leitch (2010) have noted that researchers, governments, and policy makers are recognizing the significant role that the education sector in particular must play in economic development. The need for more entrepreneurship in particular has been noted as important.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Ministry of Economic planning report on SMEs (RoK, 2007) show that three out of five SMEs fail within their first three years of operation in Nigeria. Bawuah, Buame & Hinson, (2006) in spite of the critical importance of entrepreneurs in the economic development of a country, less developed nations especially Sub-Sahara African (SSA) countries have not fully developed strategies to take advantage of this resource. Numerous factors contribute to sector and individual enterprise inefficiency, including low capital outlays, the use of labour intensive technology, low level of skills and organization, limited access to organized markets and formal credit, unregulated and competitive markets, and limited access to services. In Nigeria, the small business sector has both the potential and the historic task of bringing millions of people from the survivalist level including the informal economy to the mainstream economy. Béchard & Grégoire (2005), while there is extensive literature on entrepreneurship education and training, evidence demonstrating the influence of training on entrepreneurial activity is still lacking. Greater understanding is needed about how programs and learning strategies help develop skills that lead to the formation of new ventures (Garavan & O‟Cinneide, 1994). At the most basic level, low levels of education and training underpin several of these factors and a large percentage of African entrepreneurs have never undergone any formal business or entrepreneurial skills training, which limits their ability to plan, spend, save, and invest to support commercial success. The result is high relative levels of indebtedness, an inability to grow both service offerings and jobs, lack of adequate reinvestment, and unrealized earnings and profit, O'Neil & Mahadea, (2005).Practicing entrepreneurs expect entrepreneurial education to assist them in solving the unique problems in their businesses. For the aspiration to become a reality, effective support structures are required to harness local initiatives and nurture new enterprises that are capable of creating sustainable employment and business models. There is need to address the failures and non performance in SME, Stacked up against such a choice are many examples of business failures in the community, negative attitudes towards business, and misconceptions about what makes a business succeed, the common view is that all you need to succeed is 'capital. While studies have shown mixed relationship between entrepreneurship training and entrepreneurial development, they have not highlighted the role of entrepreneurship training and education on the growth of enterprises. On this background the researcher wants to investigate entrepreneurship education and the growth of small holders business
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The objectives of the study are;
1. To find out if Entrepreneurial skills plays any role in enhancing Small and Medium Enterprises growth in Emohua local government of Rivers state
2. To ascertain the relationship between entrepreneurship education and growth of small holders business in Emohua local government of Rivers state
3. To examine the extent by which entrepreneurship education enhances growth of small and medium enterprises
4. To ascertain the role of entrepreneurship education on the establishment and survival of SME
1.4 RESEARCHN HYPOTHESES
For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;
H0: there is no relationship between entrepreneurship education and growth of small holders business in Emohua local government of Rivers state
H1: there is relationship between entrepreneurship education and growth of small holders business in Emohua local government of Rivers state
H02: there is no role of entrepreneurship education on the establishment and survival of SME
H2: there is role of entrepreneurship education on the establishment and survival of SME
1.5 SIGNIFICANNCE OF THE STUDY
This study will give a clear insight on entrepreneurship education and the growth of small holders business. The study will beneficial to students, SMEs and the general public. The study will serve as a reference to other researchers that will embark on this topic.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study covers entrepreneurship education and the growth of small holders business. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;
a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
c) Organizational privacy: Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION: Entrepreneurship education seeks to provide students with the knowledge, skills and motivation to encourage entrepreneurial success in a variety of settings. Variations of entrepreneurship education are offered at all levels of schooling from primary or secondary schools through graduate university programs
SME: Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) or small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are businesses whose personnel numbers fall below certain limits.
GROWTH OF SME: Regardless of whether a business is seeking to make it past the start-up phase, satisfy a major increase in demand for its products and services, or strengthen its competitive position, growth is a vital step in the development of a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME).
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows
Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study
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