Daily Trust

[ The essence of our education

- Maelyakub@gmail.com

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 privileges 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, middlemana­gement 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 potentials into real output, thereby creating wealth and improving on 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 that of 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 thoughtout 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 loses 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 on 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 26th June 2023, The Entreprene­ur will ‘put everything together’ in a summary for entreprene­urs at micro level and take up how an entreprene­urship culture can be developed and strengthen­ed at 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 visiting 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.

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