Indigenous entrepreneurship is an asset that Africa has but does not optimize, a potential that Africans need to be aware of and consider as important.
Dr. Henrietta Onwuegbuzie of the Lagos Business School said this recently at an interview with WebTV on the sidelines of the recent 5th Africa Academy of Management Conference.
She was of the view that indigenous entrepreneurship was a key component of driving Africa as a globally competitive region.
“Africans need to see it as a tool for sustainable socio-economic development; indigenous people have knowledge ignored over time. For example, there are many useful herbs that Africa has but is not fully exploiting, such as shea butter which has been termed the new gold and is now in high demand,” She said.
Onwuegbuzie also cited the example of the “Bitter Leaf,” patented in the United States of America, the USA, for curing diabetes and also serves as a fantastic detoxifier that helps in the treatment of hypertension, cholesterol control while equally serving as an effective anti-bacterial and anti-fungal functions providing immense health benefits.
Speaking further on the concept of indigenous entrepreneurship Dr. Onwuegbuzie observed that the global failure rate of entrepreneurs who have ideas, write business plans, pitch and get funded is 90%.
To start a business, she said people have the misconception that funding is the first consideration, but from her perspective training and capacity building are the critical first steps to business sustainability.
She believed modern education, combined with indigenous knowledge, would bring out the best home-grown solutions to problems and these solutions could be commercialized and peddled in larger global markets.
“The core of entrepreneurship is providing solutions. Once an individual understands the fundamentals of entrepreneurship, then it is easy to be successful,” Onwuegbuzie said.