1.1 Background to the study
In this era of globalization, entrepreneurship has an important role to play in employment generation. The experiences of developed economies in relation to the roles played by entrepreneurship buttresses the fact that the importance of entrepreneurship cannot be over emphasized especially among the developing countries. The quintessence of entrepreneurship is paramount in every economy that targets economic growth and development. However, no economic growth and development may be achieved without changes in factors of production and economic activities. These economic activities are best driven by entrepreneurs as agents of economic growth and development. Without adequate information and knowledge, the impact of entrepreneurship on generation of employment in any nation may be less than optimal. The import of entrepreneurship knowledge was identified by Block, Thurik and Zhou (2012) when they recognized that knowledge was “dispersed” throughout society with each person having a unique stock of information. Consequently, individuals or entrepreneurs bringing their varied talents, knowledge and skills to bear on the society would advance the economic standing of that society. One of the major roles of entrepreneurship is job creation, to reduce unemployment rate in the economy.
Unemployment is a universal challenge except that the rate of prevalence differs from one economy to the other. The World Bank reports (2016) on unemployment revealed that the rates of unemployment in some African nations like Cote d’Ivoire (4.0 per cent), Ghana (2.4 per cent), Guinea (1.8 per cent) can compare favourably with some developed economies like Spain (24.7 per cent), United States of America (6.2 per cent), United Kingdom (6.3 per cent) and France (9.9 per cent). However, the challenges of unemployment are more pronounced in the developing economies than the developed economies where social security and other poverty alleviation programmes for the unemployed are in place. In Nigeria, unemployment which as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics was 31.2 per cent as at the end of September, 2016, against world unemployment rate of 5.8 per cent (ILO, 2016). According to Bassey and Atan (2012), there has been an alarming increase in the rate of youth unemployment as thousands of university graduates are roaming the street without jobs. In spite of the enormous natural and human resources in the country, unemployment still remains a challenge. For instance, the South-West geopolitical zone is rich in cash crops such as cocoa, cola nuts, coffee and rubber. The greatest source of wealth for the Northern states is massive fertile land conducive for wide range of agricultural activities while the South-South states like Rivers, Delta and Akwa Ibom are blessed in petroleum reserves (Badmus, Olurin, Ganiyu and Oduleye, 2013); (Alabi A. B et. al. 2013), yet there is high incidence of poverty and high rate of unemployment (Yakubu and Akanegbu, 2015; Uzoigwe, 2007). Nigeria is still one of the poorest countries in the world and has one of the highest rates of youth unemployment in the sub-Sahara Africa (Ucha, 2010; Amaghionyeodiwe and Adediran, 2012; Chukwuma, 2013).