The Essence Of Our Education

Two things are very important in life. First are the opportunities we have to continuously develop ourselves through observations, learning, thinking, and doing. The purpose of developing ourselves, and this brings us to the second important thing, is to earn the privilege to serve others. Indeed, if there is any difference between the value we get as people of ‘emerging’ nations out of our education and the value those in ‘developed’ countries get from their education is in this understanding and its application: the essence of education is to grow ourselves to be of great service to others, after all, at the end of everything, there is just so little that we actually need for ourselves but so much more that we can do for others.

Elsewhere, I have argued about how entrepreneurship is more about others (which we narrowly call our customers and markets) than it is about ourselves. Whatever financial benefits may accrue to entrepreneurs, at the risks that they face, pale in comparison to the value of the direct and indirect jobs they create; or the goods and services they produce that people need; the taxes and levies they pay to governments; the social services they provide to communities, etc.

Over the last three decades, I have been a university lecturer, middle-management bank official, senior corporate executive, entrepreneur, and business consultant. On these journeys, my observation is that we do not take entrepreneurship committedly in our country. This is sad because on one hand we have these limitless entrepreneurial opportunities and on the other, we have an army of our healthiest demographic, with reasonable education, roaming our streets and ‘waiting to be employed’. There is nothing wrong with getting employed if the jobs are readily available. If not, however, the jobs should ‘first’ be created. To do this, we need creative and resolute entrepreneurs to convert our potential into real output, thereby creating wealth and improving our national security.

In fairness, governments at various levels in our country have been coming up with interventions to support individuals and groups to start and/or grow their businesses, expending trillions of Naira in the process over the last four decades. Whilst there are success stories, we have not yet gotten the traction we require to leapfrog our economy and society. There are several, all surmountable, challenges responsible for the freeze.

In The Entrepreneur column, substantial parts of which is now a book titled ‘Mindful Entrepreneurship – Insightful Business Management Philosophies and Practices for Success’, that I have launched, I have tried to share with you the basic theories, principles, and practices of starting, managing, growing, and exiting a business. I have tried to bring out the imperatives of business success that revolve around five elements: Knowledge, Integrity, Relationships, Action, and Compartmentalisation. Call it the ‘KIRAC’ Model…

As an entrepreneur and business consultant, I have come to realise that one emerging issue in our country is the lack of good retirement planning. Many, otherwise educated, people of various age groups and at various points in their careers, in both our public and private sectors, have no deliberately thought-out retirement plans that they will be or are working on. Many of these people work for thirty to forty years in great organisations, earn good incomes, and receive substantial legitimate benefits yet live pitifully after retirement. Besides the personal costs to them and their loved ones, other collateral losers may be their communities and the nation at large because of their failure to contribute in other ways. These losses are avoidable.

Thankfully, there are also retirees that are living admirably and contributing to their families, communities, and the country in ways that they didn’t or probably couldn’t when they were fully employed. A healthy, comfortable, and meaningful retirement is not just desirable but achievable. However, it needs planning and discipline.

It is on these notes that we will be drawing the curtain on The Entrepreneur column on 26th June 2023. It has been about one hundred weeks of engagement with you in The Entrepreneur column. I believe that we have covered most of the key and contemporary entrepreneurial issues. As students and entrepreneurs, of course, we must remain voracious learners as we continue to seize opportunities and face ever-emergent challenges. I shall remain available in the service of those in need of more engagement and education on entrepreneurship.

But as we draw the curtain on The Entrepreneur column for now, we will immediately launch another on retirement planning. ‘The Retirement Planner’ will debut on 3rd July 2023 in the Daily Trust newspaper. In the interim, from the 15th of May to the 26th of June 2023, The Entrepreneur will ‘put everything together’ in a summary for entrepreneurs at the micro level and take up how an entrepreneurship culture can be developed and strengthened at the macro level by our governments.

The Retirement Planner will aim to bring out the ways those just starting out on their careers in their mid-twenties, those in mid-career points, as well as those about to retire, can work to enhance their chances of living comfortable and meaningful lives after retirement. The column will advise individuals already in retirement on how to maintain and/or reattain their decent living conditions. On debut, the Retirement Planner will make it clear that “the best day to start planning for retirement is the day you start work. The next best day is today!” This is as applicable for employees as it is for entrepreneurs even if in different ways. The column will cover all aspects of retirement planning from finance and investment, income, and cash flow management, to physical and mental health issues, relationship management, personal security, estate and legacy management, etc. From time to time, I will have to visit experts in some fields for your benefit and the interest of those you may advise and positively influence.

I hope and believe you will enjoy and more importantly, benefit from ‘The Retirement Planner’ as you did The Entrepreneur column.

Daily Trust

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