Leo Stan Edeh

Recently, there was trending news about Zinox Group‘s Chairman, Leo Stan Ekeh, calling on Nigeria to embrace disruptive entrepreneurs as a means of achieving immeasurable economic growth.

According to Mr Ekeh who was speaking at the just concluded 2019 Africa Fintech Foundrythe Federal Government and State Governments should support the emergence of disruptive entrepreneurs. He also cited America as an example of a truly successful to emulate.

Ekeh joins a growing list of compatriots attesting to great potentials inherent in Nigerians and their capability to turn the country around if provided a conducive space to operate.

Who are Disruptive Entrepreneurs? The Founders of Google, Microsoft, Apple, Uber and other technologies all pass as disruptive innovators.

The concept is technically used to describe entrepreneurs whose entry into a market changes the story of the existing market and value network; thus, displacing established market-leading firms, products, and alliances.

In Nigeria, for instance, Konga, Jumia, Uber, Afrocab are some of the disruptive innovations we can identify. In 2009, when Uber launched its operation in Nigeria, even car owners opted for their service to save cost and ease off the stress of getting stranded in Lagos’ notorious traffic gridlock.

The Implication: When disruptive entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to thrive, the old market is threatened due to the noticeable competition. However, consumers/consumers are availed with many alternatives. This is what happened when Microcomputers invaded the market in the ‘70s and ‘80s, displacing the old and big mainframe computers. Soon, the old world switched for a portable device to work with.

Recall back in the days when the essential research kit in our schools were encyclopedias. Today, the story is different, as many students now opted for Wikipedia which is easier to access with less to pay for. This is what disruptive entrepreneurs do: they provide alternatives, and in a case where there are more disruptive entrepreneurs in a market, they give their world a long list to consider.

More Insight: As it is the case anywhere in the world, the emergence of disruptive entrepreneurs usually means well for the economy even though some folks may be negatively affected. Then again, this is what business is about –outdoing, outsmarting, and over-maneuvering of rivals as much as possible.

The good about this is that the competition influences price, market supply, customer relations, and quality. And, because no market can completely restrict disruption, these (disruptive) entrepreneurs have help developed nations stay regulated and under check.

Let’s illustrate: For a long time, Dele is the only producer of table water in Lagos –posing as an all-time monopolist in the market. The moment Shola and Samaul emerge as new players in the same niche, Dele is forced to make some changes to his business model. If Shola and Samuel are able to match up to Dele’s quality and service, they would have successfully created alternatives. And if they go on to do more than Dele, they are sending Dele out of the market.

Does Nigeria Need Disruptive Entrepreneurs? The answer is yes. They are needed to ensure accelerated economic growth. However, before this can happen, the Government must provide an enabling atmosphere for entrepreneurs, just as Mr Ekeh has advocated.

A lot can be achieved if the Government can make and implement policies that favour market entry for new players who are capable of disrupting the market for the common good.


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