Entrepreneurs have a critical role to play in shaping the futures of the economies of
nations. By creating business opportunities in Nigeria, they ensure
that the wealth of the nations increases. Similarly, by exporting goods and services,
they ensure that the economies earn valuable foreign exchange that is vital for the
countries to import the necessary goods and services. In addition, by creating jobs,
they ensure that the people in the nations are gainfully employed. Moreover,
through their social causes and championing of public good endeavors, they
actualize sustainability, social justice, and environmental responsibility. Perhaps the
biggest contribution or the underlying theme that runs through all these
contributions is their innate ability to innovate that ensures speedy and efficient
development of nations and their economies.

Innovation is the Key to Success
To understand the role and the importance of innovation, see one must consider how
Europe pulled ahead of China and India through the “great divergence” in the time
of the First Industrial Revolution in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Before this, Asia was the dominant economic player in the world. However with the
advent of the First Industrial Revolution, European economies took off in a big way.
The reason for this was the entrepreneurial spirit and the innovative use of
technology in the Continent which was responsible for its aggressive growth and
subsequent dominance which continues to this day. Hence, this aspect which
underscores the importance of innovation is the biggest contribution that
entrepreneurs make in the development of nations. Indeed, the First Industrial
Revolution is a testament to the individual hard work, collective innovation, and
national renaissance which was all due to the astounding courage and initiative
displayed by the entrepreneurs.

How Some Nations Prosper and others Fail
Turning to the aftermath of the world wars when countries had to be rebuilt and
economies had to be developed, it is indeed the case that through the same

qualities noted above, the entrepreneurs in some countries succeeded in ensuring
that those countries emerged out of the rubble and the chaos to become
successes. We are talking about Germany, Japan, and some Asian countries such as
South Korea wherein the entrepreneurial spirit in addition to and with some help
from the governments ensured that these economies pulled ahead of others such
as China and India. Indeed, if not anything, the governments and the state should
at least not come in the way of the entrepreneurs and stifle their creativity and
innovation if they cannot enable and empower them.

The Role of the State
As mentioned earlier, the unleashing of entrepreneurial spirit and dynamism in
addition to innovation calls for an increased role of the state where it has to provide
the infrastructure or the hardware for the entrepreneurs to succeed. Similar to a
computer where the software sits on top of the hardware, the entrepreneurs can
succeed by creating the necessary software only when the hardware is in place. It
is indeed to the credit of the Chinese government and the leadership that though
this realization came late, they were able to jump-start the economy and ensures
that their country becomes an economic superpower. As for India, the fact that it
has realized that it is better late than never in ensuring that entrepreneurial
energies are unleashed means that it is on its way to emerging from the abyss of
underdevelopment and backwardness.

Entrepreneurs keep Economies going
Some experts in recent years have gone so far as to state that it is the
entrepreneurs who keep the countries from collapsing due to social and political
factors. Imagine how a typical day begins and plays it out in our everyday lives. No
matter what would have happened the previous day, the first thing you get in the
morning is the milk and the essential goods in addition to the newspapers and
other items that are critical for everyday existence. Who delivers all these items
rain or shine are the entrepreneurs millions of whom contribute and lubricate the
levers of the everyday lives of peoples and shape the economic trajectories of
nations. Indeed, the fact that it is entrepreneurs who keep the country from
collapsing is made clearer when one considers how countries like India seem to
bounce back from crises and step back from the abyss whenever there is a social or
a political event that threatens the socioeconomic fabric of the nation.

As the founder of modern economics, Adam Smith, put it, it is the economic
incentives of the entrepreneurs that ensures that you get bread on your tables
every morning. In other words, the entrepreneur is not being altruistic when he
goes about his or her business. Rather, it is his selfishness in making a profit that
contributes to the economies of nations. Therefore, one must realize the fact that
profit is not a bad word and that once everybody agrees that economic aspects
keep us going, and then all of us would benefit since we would think rationally and
objectively about the need to create an ecosystem for ourselves and by extension,
contribute to the economic development of nations. In short, let us celebrate the
astounding entrepreneurial spirit in ourselves and in others, and instead of creating
impediments, let us ensure that we enable and empower ourselves and others in
fostering creativity and innovation.