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ENTREPRENEURSHIP AS A STRATEGY FOR THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF THE NIGER DELTA REGION OF NIGERIA Dr (Mrs.) Antai1, Agnes Sylvester1, Anam2, Bassey Ekpenyong2 & Ita Joseph John3 1. Department of Economics, University of Calabar, Nigeria, 2. Institute of Public Policy & Administration, University of Calabar, Nigeria 3. Department of Banking and Finance, University of Calabar, Nigeria * E-mail of corresponding author: policybriefing@yahoo.com Abstract The key objective of this paper is to determine and examine those factors that work as impediments against entrepreneurial activities in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. The paper is derived from a study that proposes the promotion of entrepreneurship as a strategy for economic development of the Niger Delta Region. Empirical data is provided from a sample of entrepreneurs that operate firms across the major industrial sectors of the economy. Findings from the field survey indicated that inadequate basic infrastructures; the existing government legislation and regulatory policies (in terms of taxes, tariffs, fees, etc); and, lack of business capital have all had serious negative impact on entrepreneurial activities in the Niger Delta Region. The survey also revealed that some of the government programmes aimed at providing entrepreneurial development services, such as the NDE, have impacted positively on entrepreneurship. It was also found that the existing socio-cultural conditions in the Niger Delta Region do not have any significant adverse effects on entrepreneurship and small businesses. Based on these findings, a number of measures were articulated for addressing the identified problems and improving the situation in order to cultivate a situation that will allow pursuit of the proposed entrepreneurship strategy on a region-wide basis. These recommendations included the establishment of a small business bureau that will cater specifically for the needs of entrepreneurs and small businesses; provision of basic infrastructures, especially electricity, water and roads; review of government legislation and regulatory policies, in order to bring down the incidence of high and multiple taxes; establishment of small business lending subsidiaries by large banks; and, strengthening the operations of the entrepreneurship development programmes, among others. BACKGROUND In recent times, there has been growing acknowledgement that a truly sustainable economic transformation, especially in a developing country like Nigeria, can best be facilitated within the framework of private-sector and entrepreneurial-driven activities. Indeed, the small businesses created by innovative entrepreneurs have proved to be the most significant contributors to the national wealth in the better-developed European and Asian economies, where manufacturing, information and communication technology (ICT) and tourism have today emerged as the main money spinners and employers of labour. These three industries are predominantly characterized by small business enterprises. In Great Britain for instance, about 98 percent of all workers are employed by small and medium-sized enterprises. In India, they account for 80 percent of national employment and 50 percent of that country’s Gross Domestic Product (The Nigerian Economic Summit Group, 2002). In the United States of America (USA), small business represents more than 99 percent of all employers and creates 75% net new jobs (Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, 2005). In addition, it creates two-thirds of new private sector jobs and accounts for more than half of the output of the economy of the USA (Bush, 2005). Typically, small business accounts for as much as 90 per cent of the workforce in most economies, especially in Europe and Asia. In Nigeria, about 87 per cent of all enterprises are small businesses by definition (The World Bank SME Department, 2001). Such enterprises contribute an estimated 62.1 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). On a national level, they generate 58 per cent of all employment (The Small Scalers, 2001). The importance of small business is generally underscored by its: employment generating potentials; income redistribution prospects; promotion of local technology and entrepreneurship; ability to transform the rural areas; and, stemming the

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rural-urban migration drift. The contribution of small business sector to the economy of the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria is even more profound - where it accounts for 70 per cent of total employment and 10 percent of manufacturing output. More significantly, it constitutes 90 per cent of all enterprises operating therein (Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan, 2004). THE CONCEPT OF ENTREPRENUERSHIP An individual who pioneers a technology or introduces a new method of doing business typifies entrepreneurship. He also is a person that carries on with an existing technology or method, but in an innovative way. The entrepreneur usually undertakes and operates a new business venture and assumes some accountability for the inherent risks. By this, he establishes a new entity, offers a new or existing product or service into a new or existing market, usually for profit. He has strong beliefs about the market opportunity and is ready to accept a high level of personal, professional, business or financial risk to pursue this opportunity (Wikipedia, 2005). The entrepreneur commonly uses a small or medium-sized enterprise as the vehicle for realizing his technological or business idea. However, it has been acknowledged that within a large firm, a person can also be said to pursue entrepreneurial activity once he initiates an innovative idea, whether in production, marketing or management. Entrepreneurship is therefore not limited by the scope of investment or size of resources employed, and it cuts across all industrial sectors. The above concept of entrepreneurship has evolved over the years from the works of various writers on the subject including Richard Cantillon (1755), Adam Smith (1776) and Jean-Baptiste Say (1816) during the Industrial Revolution era through those of Alfred Marshall (1890), Max Weber (1905) and Frank Knight (1921) in the post-industrial period to Joseph Schumpeter (1934), Edith Penrose (1959), David McClelland (1961), Everett Hagen (1962), Israel Kirzner (1973), Thomas Cochran (1975), Akeredolu-Ale (1975), Titus Oshagbemi (1983), Celestine Nwachukwu (1990) and Frank Young (1995) in the modern or contemporary era. The Harvard Business School (2005) sums up entrepreneurship as a way of managing opportunities over time. Here, entrepreneurship consists of a dynamic approach to management that entails: continuous identification and pursuit of opportunities; the marshalling and organization of resources to address these evolving opportunities; and, the ongoing reassessment of needs (of an enterprise) as the context changes over time. Accordingly, entrepreneurial management is not limited to early-stage firms or to particular organizational forms, economic functions, or types of individuals. It is rather, a process that can be researched by scholars, taught by educators, and managed by entrepreneurs across multiple settings. This definition provides a lens on the phenomenon that shows entrepreneurship to be a particular type of managerial behaviour, available to virtually all managers in all settings. IMPORTANCE OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP TO THE ECONOMY The importance of entrepreneurship to the national economic development is manifold, but it is basically outlined by the following: (i)

Employment generation and poverty reduction capability - In a country like Nigeria, where unemployment has been estimated at over 50 per cent (Federal Office of Statistics, 2000), entrepreneurship holds the key to generating jobs needed to run the variety of ventures that characterize the small business sector. This is proven by the estimated 70 per cent of industrial employment it has created (World Bank, 1995). The jobs created help in reducing the level of poverty in the economy.

(ii) Contribution to production output expansion – Although small business currently contributes a low percentage to national industrial output in terms of production, sales, input demand, value-added and factor income, relative to its employment generation capability, as exemplified in the informal sector’s contribution of 38.7 per cent to national GDP (Central Bank of Nigeria, 2001). (iii) Utilization of local natural resources and value creation - Entrepreneurship typically takes advantage of the immense natural resources that are available in an area. A significant proportion of the inputs of most small enterprises in Nigeria are locally sourced. And often, entrepreneurs pursue innovations that seek to add value to those natural resources that have hitherto been sold or exported in the raw or basic form. (iv) Stimulation and transformation of indigenous technology – More than any other, entrepreneurship has the potential to transit local technologies, ingenuity and processes through the various stages of development to

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maturity. Today’s “high-tech” companies, the world over, have virtually all developed from small artisan or cottage ventures to become the leading giants of innovation and technology. (v)

Dispersal and diversification of economic activities - By availing a large number of people, in different geographic locations, the opportunity to engage in diverse small business endeavours, using limited capital and human resource layouts, entrepreneurship is unarguably a potent instrument for achieving dispersed development and economic growth.

(vi) Wealth creation, capital formation, savings mobilization and distribution – Through the establishment of viable and profitable business ventures, entrepreneurship promotes wide-spread creation of wealth and capital formation in the society. The wealth created by entrepreneurs from the profits often forms the core of the domestic savings that are normally mobilized by financial intermediaries for redistribution to areas of need within the economy. (vii) Platform for Backward, Forward and Inter-industry Linkages - Entrepreneurs and their small firms are commonly responsible for significant proportions of large-scale firms’ inputs. Such inputs range from raw materials, machinery, spare parts to the consumables used by large firms. (viii) Flexibility that helps translate ideas into reality within a relatively short period – Because of their size and operational structure, the small firms operated by entrepreneurs often prove adaptive and flexible enough to respond to the challenges of rapid technological and other market changes. HYPOTHESES The following hypotheses have been proposed for the study: (a). Inadequate capital does not significantly affect entrepreneurial activities in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria. (b). Inadequate infrastructures does not have a significant impact on entrepreneurial activities in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. (c). Entrepreneurs in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria do not have access intermediary services.

to the services of formal financial

(d). Government taxes, levies, rates and tariffs do not have a significant impact on entrepreneurial activities in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. METHODOLOGY The approach adopted in the study entailed surveying a number of selected entrepreneurs with a view to generating data on their general characteristics and eliciting information about their perception of the dimension and impact of the problems that constrain their growth and survival. With this method, fresh insights and facts about prospects and opportunities for entrepreneurship in the Niger Delta Region can be concluded and generalized. The study had a Quasi-Experimental design. Under it, both the Survey Research and Case Study approaches were used. The respondents were entrepreneurs who promote and manage ventures that deploy a capital of not more than N200 million and/or employ not less than five persons and not more than 300 persons in the business. These respondents were drawn from the industrial sectors of agriculture, manufacturing, tertiary services, construction and multiple services. The survey covered the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria. This is a distinct geographical area made up of Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers states, with a land mass of 70,000 square kilometers. This is arguably the richest part of Nigeria in terms of natural resources, especially crude petroleum oil. The survey method was adopted because of the large population of the potential respondents and wide physical dispersion of the universe. Five out of the nine states of the Niger Delta Region were chosen for the survey. This translates to 56 per cent of the universe. Since the Niger Delta Region essentially describes the oil producing area of Nigeria, a judgmental approach was followed in choosing the sample states. Under it, a balance was sought between the most active and least active states in terms of oil production, in order to achieve a fair representation of the entire region. Accordingly, the following five states were chosen as samples: Abia, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Delta and Rivers. The choice of these states was made based on the relative volume of crude petroleum oil that is being produced in each of them - which may also be a measure or signal of the level of dominance of oil-related activities in their respective economies. Akwa Ibom,

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Delta and Rivers states are ranked among the highest oil-producing states, while Abia and Cross River are among the lowest, in terms of production volume. This approach is considered scientific as it is based on a logical set of choices. Again, the judgmental approach was adopted in choosing the key characteristic of the sample enterprises. It was reasoned that, while virtually all small business enterprises contribute to the national economy, only those that employ at least five persons can be considered as having meaningful impact on the system as a whole. The population frame of the respondents therefore consisted of only entrepreneurs whose firms had a workforce of five and above persons. The sampling frame for the research was obtained from the Federal Office of Statistics. In each of the sample states, the fitting sample frame had the following population: Abia (256); Akwa Ibom (157); Cross River (93); Delta (135); and Rivers (220). A systematic random sampling technique, which allowed drawing of samples following a predetermined plan of selection, was employed. Under it, every third element in the supplied population frame of entrepreneurs was picked and included in the sample. This technique allowed a respondent to be chosen without bias. Accordingly, the scheme yielded a total possible 85; 52; 31; 45; and 73 respondents from Abia, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Delta and Rivers states respectively. In each case, these numbers exceeded the minimum 10 per cent population sample expected in such surveys. However, in order to counter-balance the effect of the relatively high level of non-response often experienced in field surveys in Nigeria, 50 questionnaires were distributed in each state, totaling 250 in all. It was expected that not less than half of the distributed questionnaires will be retrieved. This number translates to a minimum of 25 questionnaires per state, and exceeds the 10 per cent benchmark in each sample. At the end of the exercise, a total of 201 questionnaires were properly filled and retrieved as follows: 49, 48, 34, 44 and 26 for Abia, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Delta and Rivers states respectively. The survey was conducted using the research instruments of observation, interview and questionnaire. A well-structured questionnaire was administered on the respondents. This questionnaire addressed issues on: the characteristics of the enterprise; inter-industry/sectoral and export linkages of the enterprise with others; factors affecting the operations and growth of the enterprise; the impact of government programmes, financial and non-financial Institutions, business development and other support services on the enterprise; the effect of socio-cultural factors on the operations of the entrepreneur’s business, and; demographic information on the entrepreneur. In order to assure validity and reliability of the research questionnaire, a pre-test was conducted using the Test-Retest model of reliability and validity. Under it, the questionnaire was administered twice; with a four-week interval in-between each test on a selected sample of respondents in order to determine the consistency of the two sets of responses they give to the same set of questions. At the end of the exercise, the Product Moment Correlation Coefficient was used in determining the relationship between the responses. The techniques used in data analyses were simple percentages, Pearson’s Product Moment Coefficient of Correlation and the Independent T-test. Percentages were used in drawing inferences from data collected from the field. The functional relationships between variables were determined with the use of Coefficient Correlation. The results of the Coefficient of Correlation analyses were validated using the Independent T-test. DATA PRESENTATION The data collected are analyzed and presented below. Each table presents an important entrepreneurial factor or variable and the percentages describe the distribution of the variable under review.

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TABLE 1 Industry distribution in the Niger Delta Region No.

Nature of Business

Average

Cumulative Average

(%)

(%)

1.

Tertiary Services

49.5

49.5

2.

Manufacturing

35.1

84.6

3.

Integrated Services

7.4

92.0

4.

Agriculture

4.5

96.5

5.

Mining & Construction

2.5

99.0

6.

Traditional Crafts

1.0

100.0

Source: Field survey by the author (2006) TABLE 2 Distribution of business organization forms in the Niger Delta Region No.

Business Forms

Average (%)

1.

Registered Business Name

47.9

2.

Limited Liability Company

24.7

3.

Registered Partnership

13.9

4.

Unregistered

10.0

5.

Registered Co-operative

3.5 100.0

Source: Field survey by the author (2006) TABLE 3 Capital base of enterprises in the Niger Delta Region No.

Capital Base (N)

Cumulative Average (%) Average (%)

1.

1 – 5 million

42.4

42.4

2.

6 – 10 million

15.2

57.6

3.

11 – 20 million

12.1

69.7

4.

21 – 50 million

8.9

78.6

5.

51 – 100 million

13.6

92.2

6.

101 million & Above

7.8

Source: Field survey by the author (2006)

93

100.0


European Journal of Business and Management ISSN 2222-1905 (Paper) ISSN 2222-2839 (Online) Vol 4, No.17, 2012

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TABLE 4 Sources of capital for entrepreneurs in the Niger Delta Region No.

Source of Capital

Average

Cumulative

(%)

Average

(%)

1.

Owner’s Savings

37.7

37.7

2.

Composite (2 or More)

24.1

61.8

3.

Banks & other Financial Inst.

20.6

82.4

4.

Family & Friend

14.6

97.0

5.

Money Lender

2.5

6. Govt. Institution/Agency Source: Field survey by the author (2006)

99.5

0.5

100.0

TABLE 5 Summary of usefulness of BDS in the Niger Delta Region No.

Usefulness

Average (%)

Cumulative Average (%)

1.

Very Useful

18.8

18.8

2.

Useful

30.5

49.3

3.

Not Very Useful

10.0

59.3

40.7

100.0

4. Not Useful Source: Field survey by the author (2006)

TABLE 6 Summary of level of satisfaction with BDS in the Niger Delta Region No.

Satisfaction

Average

Cumulative Average

(%)

(%)

1.

Very Satisfied

37.2

37.2

2.

Satisfied

41.9

79.1

20.9

100.0

3. Not Satisfied Source: Field survey by the author (2006)

TABLE 7 Summary of the nature of business support needs in the Niger Delta Region No.

Nature of Business Support Needs

Level of Need (%)

1.

Supply of basic Inputs and Raw Materials

95.0

2.

Provision of Technical Services

90.0

3.

Provision of Management Services

88.7

4.

Rent/Lease of Land

85.0

5.

Hire/Lease of Machinery, Equipment, etc

60.0

6.

Rent/Lease of Space in Industrial Parks, etc

40.0

Source: Field survey, 2006.

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TABLE 8 Factors affecting enterprises in the Niger Delta Region No.

Factor

Very Important

Important

1. 2.

Not Important

Inadequate Capital

78.2

12.3

High Govt. Taxes, Fees, Levies, Rates,

51.1

36.0

12.9

56.7

22.2

21.1

47.0

30.0

23.0

production

35.2

41.2

23.6

High cost or difficulty in hiring &

21.1

37.2

41.7

35.7

19.7

44.6

17.3

35.3

9.5

etc 3.

Inadequate

infrastructures,

including

electricity, water, roads, communication, schools, hospitals, good markets, etc 4.

High cost or difficulty in sourcing raw materials, inputs, equipments, spare parts, etc

5.

Low

demand

for

goods/services 6.

keeping the right caliber of technical, managerial & support staff 7.

Access to markets, including physical obstacles in sending goods to the market place & lack of information about the existence of markets

8. Lack of management training & skills Source: Field survey, 2006.

TEST OF HYPOTHESES Results of hypotheses test showed thus: Hypothesis One Variables: Independent:

Capital

Dependent:

Entrepreneurial activities

Statistical test: Independent t – test Statistical Test Results: r

=

0.74

r2

=

0.55

tc

=

1.91

tt

=

1.53

3

∞

=

0.10

df

=

(See appendix 1)

95

47.4


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Interpretation of Results: Since the tc falls outside the critical region of acceptance, the Ho that inadequate capital does not significantly affect entrepreneurial activities in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria stands rejected while the affirmative hypothesis that inadequate capital significantly affects entrepreneurial activities in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria is adopted. Hypothesis two: Variables: Independent:

Infrastructures and social amenities

Dependent:

Entrepreneurial activities

Statistical test: Independent t – test Statistical Test Results: r

=

0.70

r2

tc

=

1.70

tt

df

=

3

= =

0.49 1.53

=

0.10

(See appendix 2) Interpretation of Results: Inadequate infrastructure in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria was found to have a significant impact on entrepreneurial activities in the region as the computed t – value falls outside the critical region of acceptance. Hypothesis three: Variables: Independent:

Financial intermediaries’ services

Dependent:

Entrepreneurial activities

Statistical test: Independent t – test Statistical Test Results: r

=

-0.26

r2

= 0.042

tc

=

-0.37

tt

=

-1.53

df

=

3

=

0.10

(See appendix 3) Interpretation of Result: The tc as stated above falls outside the critical region of acceptance and as a result the Ho stands rejected while the H1 that entrepreneurs in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria have access to services of formal financial intermediary services is accepted. Hypothesis four: Variables: Independent:

Government taxes, levies, rates and tariffs

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Entrepreneurial activities

Statistical test: Independent t – test Statistical Test Results: r

=

0.86

r2

= 0.74

tc

=

2.92

tt

=

1.53

df

=

3

∞

=

0.10

(See appendix 4) Interpretation of Results: Government taxes, levies, rates and tariffs were found to have a significant impact on entrepreneurial activities in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria. This was affirmed by the result of hypothesis test which indicates that the computed t- value fell outside the critical region of acceptance and the Ho being rejected with the affirmative hypothesis adopted. DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS Capital is unarguably central to the success of any business venture. Without it, entrepreneurship cannot thrive in any form. Findings of the survey indicated that lack of or inadequate capital is the most important factor affecting entrepreneurial development and growth in the Niger Delta Region. It was also observed that the formal source of funds (banks and other financial intermediation institutions) have so far paid very scant attention to the needs of small businesses. This position was confirmed by the result of hypothesis tested which indicated a very strong relationship between availability of capital and enterprise performance. It shows that capital inadequacy was a significant factor affecting the operations of entrepreneurs in the region as well as Nigeria as a whole. Infrastructural facilities, including electricity, portable water, roads, communication, hospitals, schools and market places are necessary factors for any entrepreneurial activity. The problem of inadequate or complete lack of infrastructures features as one of the key problems confronting entrepreneurs in the region. The result of the test of hypothesis also indicated a significant correlation between infrastructures and operational efficiency of enterprises. It’s indicated a 70 percent relationship which is very significant. Business development services are critical to entrepreneurial activities. Such services include skills acquisition and development, procurement of inputs, manpower training, provision of extension services, equipment procurement support and specialized professional services. The relationship between entrepreneurs access to formal financial intermediary services and their performance was found to be negative and insignificant in measurement. The existing legislation and regulatory policies including taxes, tariffs, rates, levies, import/export guidelines and business registration/incorporation play a vital rile in the promotion of entrepreneurial activities. This was strongly affirmed by the result of analysis which indicates a degree of relationship of 86 percent and a 74 percent coefficient of determination. This means that, as much as 74 percent of entrepreneurial activities are affected by government taxes, levies, rates and tariffs. CONCLUSION The study proposes entrepreneurship as the most organized strategy for transforming the economy of the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria. The underlying philosophy is that within an entrepreneurship framework, a massive economic transformation that is multi-dimensional can take place within a relatively short period. As has been established, small businesses, which are usually promoted by entrepreneurs, present the best opportunity for fostering effective utilization of the vast and diverse natural resources that abound in the Niger Delta Region. They are better-placed to produce and deliver to the local and export markets the goods and services required by consumers, including the intermediate goods critically needed by large firms. And, it is after the acquisition and application of basic contemporary technologies, that innovation can begin to germinate among the entrepreneurs. RECOMMENDATIONS The following measures are recommended, based on the findings and foregoing conclusions:

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1.

Establishment of a Small Business Bureau for the Niger Delta Region to be sponsored and funded by the constituent states of the region, with the support of other stakeholders in the area such as the oil and gas companies.

2.

Provision of infrastructures: The key areas of concern are access roads network, electricity, water and telecommunication.

3.

Access to capital from formal sources: Because of the potentials and proven benefits of small business to the economy, banks and other formal financial institutions need to re-examine their current attitude, capacity and approach towards lending to small businesses.

4.

Review of government legislation and regulatory policies through a restructuring of the current tax regime with emphasis on rebates and tax holidays for start-up businesses and those undergoing expansion or acquiring new technology or developing new products.

5.

Establishment of business clusters, science parks and technology villages.

6.

Strengthening and sustaining the existing business development programmes.

7.

Restructuring of the SMIEIS Scheme

8.

Advocacy of partnership among entrepreneurs in the region.

9.

Easier access to Capital Market.

References Bush, G. W. (2005, April 27). Taking action to strengthen small business. A speech addressed to the National Small Business Week Conference, Washington DC. Central Bank of Nigeria (2001). A study of Nigeria’s informal sector (Volume II): In-depth study of Nigeria’s manufacturing sector. Abuja: Central Bank of Nigeria. Duke, J. E. (2006). Entrepreneurial strategy for the economic development of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria: A study of selected projects/organizations in the region. Unpublished Ph.D Thesis. Faculty of Management Sciences, University of Calabar, Nigeria. Harvard Business School Entrepreneurial Management Unit (2005). Entrepreneurial management. Retrieved on July 27, 2005 from http//:www.chbs.edu/units/em/entrepreneurial management. Joseph Duke Consulting (2003). A study of micro and small enterprises of Akwa Ibom and Cross River State: Draft report. Unpublished report paper. Nwachukwu, C. C. (1990). The practice of entrepreneurship in Nigeria. Owerri: Africana-FEP Publishers. Nwachuckwu, C. C. (2002). Comparative management: An introduction. Owerri: Springfield Publishers. Oshagbemi, T. A. (1983). Small business management in Nigeria. London: Longman. The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (2002, September). A survey on micro & small enterprises. The NESG Digest, 14, 1-16. Wider Perspectives (2004). Niger delta regional development master plan – micro and small enterprise sector study: Final report. Unpublished report, Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Wikipedia (2005). The Free http://enwikipedia.org/wiki/entrepreneur.

Encyclopedia.

Retrieved

on

August

9,

2005

from

World Bank Group SME Department (2001). Overview of the SME sector in Nigeria. Abuja: World Bank Group SME Department.

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ENTREPRENEURSHIP AS A STRATEGY FOR THE ECONOMICDEVELOPMENT OF THE NIGER DELTA REGION OF NIGERIA  
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