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This study was conducted to assess entrepreneurship and socioeconomic development in Oron municipality, with 10 selected SMEs in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State serving as case studies. Specifically, the study sought to determine the role of entrepreneurship and managerial capacity in economic development in Akwa Ibom State,

Nigeria; identify the factors influencing entrepreneurship and managerial capacity in contributing to Akwa Ibom State's socioeconomic development; assess the extent to which entrepreneurship and managerial capacity have contributed to Akwa Ibom State's socioeconomic development; and identify problems or constraints.

The survey descriptive research design was used in the study. The survey yielded a total of 50 valid replies. The findings revealed that entrepreneurship plays a critical role in the economic growth and development of any nation based on the responses received and assessed.

To put it another way, there is a correlation between entrepreneurship development and economic progress. Furthermore, the T-Test results reveal that there is no significant difference in Akwa Ibom State between the function of entrepreneurship and economic development. According to the study, policymakers should recognise the importance of entrepreneurship in economic development.

Entrepreneurship merits equal attention as science and technology; it is the entrepreneur who converts scientific and technological discovery into wealth. Thus, entrepreneurship, like land (raw materials),

labour, and capital (liquid and physical), should be recognised as key factors of production, because only the entrepreneur can combine all of the other factors to produce wealth.



Scholars' and researchers' perspectives on African entrepreneurship vary tremendously. Some argue that, for whatever reason, the entrepreneurial skills required to develop and manage firms for productive activities in the real sector of the economy are lacking in Africa.

According to Nil-,-Henrik March's 1995 World Bank report, the poor economic performance of most Sub-Saharan African countries, particularly the slow rate of industrialization, might be used to justify such a pessimistic outlook.

Supporters of this position may point to the fact that many African countries' economic policies in the two to three decades following political independence did not necessarily private industry.

This corresponds to a third-place finish. According to Adjebeng-Asem (1989), the African entrepreneur is still alive and well, but instead of engaging in manufacturing, scholars have directed him or her towards non-productive, rent-seeking activities known as commercial entrepreneurship.

Despite this significant gap in Africa's growth, experts and intellectuals all over the world have long emphasised the role of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship in national economic development.

According to Dozie (2005), this crucial component of production was at the heart of Joseph Schumpeter's (1934) basic theory, which established that no nation would overcome development obstacles unless a critical mass of entrepreneurs existed.

This theory, which served as the foundation for the Schumpeterian model of economic growth, has assisted many developed and developing countries in accelerating their development by focusing on proper incentives to encourage entrepreneurial activity (Dozie, 2005).

Entrepreneurs supply the fundamental impetus an economy requires for economic progress by forging new ground. Individuals excel in human endeavour due to the key qualities or attributes they possess. Sadly, despite more than four decades of import substitution strategy, structural adjustment programme commercialization and privatisation of weak state-owned firms,

and general economic decline, Nigeria's manufacturing sector still contributes very little to GDP. It is plagued by low productivity and poor product quality. This has been exacerbated by an increase in import rivalry, which has resulted in the downsizing or outright bankruptcy of numerous industrial businesses.

As a result, the success of the private sector reconfiguration as a driver of economic growth is based on encouraging and developing local technical entrepreneurship.

Furthermore, theoretical and empirical research has revealed the critical role of technology innovation and technical entrepreneurship in advancing economic growth. These studies are increasingly regarded as critical components of technical policy and economic planning.

Entrepreneurship is inextricably tied to small and medium-sized firms (SMEs), which are the driving force behind development in developed economies and serve as a springboard for industrial progress and economic expansion (Stefanovic et al, 29).

Entrepreneurs not only have the ability to ensure self-reliance in industrial growth by relying on local raw materials, but they also create more jobs per unit of investment and ensure even industrial development, particularly in rural (Roy & Wheeler, 36).

As a result, Nigerian governments at all levels, including the Akwa Ibom state government, are stepping up efforts to boost entrepreneurship growth by extending projects that provide financial and technical aid to entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship accounts for more than 90% of manufacturing job prospects and more than 70% of total employment in Nigeria (Onwumere, 20).

Indeed, SMEs in Nigeria have the potential to serve as a vehicle for wealth creation, job creation, entrepreneurial skill development, and long-term economic development, as entrepreneurs' creativity and ingenuity in utilising the country's abundant non-oil natural resources will provide a sustainable platform/springboard for industrial development and economic growth,

as is the case in industrialised and economically developed societies (Van Praag and Craese, 2004). It is also worth noting that the United States, China, Germany, Japan, and other highly industrialised countries place a strong emphasis on entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) as engines of industrial growth and economic advancement (Robichaud et al, 51).

As a result, every developing country, including Nigeria, should follow suit. Indeed, the entrepreneurial success stories of India, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Brazil, and Singapore, among others, could provide a boost to Africa's developing countries, particularly Nigeria (Ebiringa, 211).

The need to uncover the potentials and roles of the entrepreneurship sub-sector in Nigeria's industrial and economic growth remains a problem worthy of scientific investigation, hence the need for this study to determine the role of entrepreneurship in the economic development of Akwa Ibom state.

Entrepreneurship is a source of pride in almost every country or state. Because of their critical roles in the development and prosperity of many economies, entrepreneurs have been aptly described as “the engine of growth” and “catalysts for socio-economic transformation of any country.”

Entrepreneurship is a legitimate vehicle for achieving national economic goals such as job creation and poverty reduction at a low investment cost, as well as developing entrepreneurial abilities such as indigenous technology. Access to infrastructural facilities brought about by the presence of such enterprise or organisation in their surroundings,

stimulation of economic activities such as suppliers of various items and distributive trades for items produced and or required by the entrepreneurs as a result of rural urban migration, and improvement of the standard of living of the private enterprise's employees and their dependants are other intrinsic benefits of a vibrant entrepreneur.

Akwa Ibom State is Nigeria's most populous oil-producing state, with a population of almost four million people. Akwa Ibom State's economic development plans have largely aligned with the country's economic growth goals since independence. When Akwa Ibom State was established in 1987, it inherited a number of state-owned industrial, commercial, financial, and service enterprises.

However, because global thinking at the time favoured private-sector-led economic development over government ownership of commercial and industrial institutions,

and especially because publicly owned enterprises in the state had long folded due to mismanagement and corruption, the state's industrial sector was virtually non-existent at the state's inception.

However, there has been an increase in entrepreneurship activities in the state over the years in various fields of human endeavour such as oil and gas, haulage, maritime activities, shipping, trading, ICT, agriculture, construction, and so on, which has served to provide gainful employment for citizens and boost socioeconomic development.

The current emphasis on indigenous technical innovation and entrepreneurship by government and stakeholders stems from the failure of previous attempts to stimulate development by borrowing or transferring advanced, and sometimes inappropriate and sustainable, technologies from developed countries via the import substitution strategy.

According to Adjebeng-Asem (1989), governments in most developing economies, including Nigeria, have been chastised for paying insufficient attention to the need for accelerated economic growth and for failing to harness their own citizens' abilities for technological innovation and entrepreneurship.

Critics also suggest that these developing countries rely on technology that is inappropriate for their environment (ibid, 1989). Nigeria's exports have been dominated by raw materials and semi-manufactured goods, with the petroleum sector accounting for the lion's share.

Less than 5% of these exports are related with knowledge-intensive goods and services on average. Adjebeng-Asem (1989), Akeredolu-Ale (1975). The problems were severe in the 1980s and early 1990s,

when Nigeria had sluggish industrial output and falling crude oil prices, and industrialization through indigenous technical development became major considerations in industrial policy deliberations.

As a result, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) argued that in order for Nigeria to join the league of industrialised economies, industrial activities must converge and focus more on knowledge-based production, particularly in small-scale manufacturing and processing industries.

This point of view was expressed in part in the multiple development national , rolling plans, and ongoing reform measures outlined in the Federal Government of Nigeria's National Economic Empowerment and Development (NEEDS) (2004). The policy's core idea has been that small-scale industries should spearhead the country's march towards economic recovery.

Small industries, according to research, serve as a vehicle for fostering indigenous entrepreneurship, expanding possibilities per unit of capital spent, and contributing in the development of local technology in many countries. Sule (1986), Nils-Henrik and March (1995).

Small-scale enterprises make for more than 90% of the industrial sector in Nigeria in terms of enterprise number (Ajayi, 2002). They have also made significant contributions to economic progress through employment, job creation, and sustainable living.

In 2003, the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission was founded. Despite their importance and contribution to the national economy, small businesses confront a number of problems and constraints in terms of development and expansion.

Another barrier to small-industry modernization is the persistence of low levels of technology, a scarcity of and insufficient entrepreneurial skills among operators, and a lack of effective management practises.

Because of their low product quality, they struggle to compete in a globalised economy that is technologically driven, knowledge-based, and export-oriented.

As a result, increased commercialization or technology transfer of research discoveries is required in order to capitalise on the enormous R&D activities that occur at universities, polytechnics, monotechnics, and other public and private sector research facilities.

However, this can only be accomplished through a deliberate intervention strategy targeted at developing a core set of attributes among small industry operators in order to improve production efficiency, quality, and output.

The failure of previous efforts by small industry operators, combined with the government's lack of intervention, necessitates an investigation into why indigenous technical innovations, management practises, and other key business success factors are frequently not translated into viable business ventures, despite the country's technological need.

These issues, according to Akeredolu-Ale (1975), Afonja (1986), and Adjebeng-Asem (1989), show a link between technical innovation, embryonic entrepreneurship, and a far greater degree of technological advancement.

The current study focused on a specific aspect of the relationship between emerging entrepreneurial traits and their impact on the formation and evolution of small-scale manufacturing firms. Against this backdrop, the study looked at the impact of entrepreneurial qualities on socioeconomic development.

The following goals are hoped for by this study:
1. To investigate the impact of entrepreneurship in the socioeconomic development of Nigeria's Akwa Ibom State.

To determine the elements influencing entrepreneurship capacity in Akwa Ibom State's socioeconomic growth.

3. To assess the extent to which entrepreneurship has contributed to Akwa Ibom State's socioeconomic development.

4. Identifying issues or obstacles impeding the growth and development of entrepreneurship in Akwa Ibom State.

1. What role does entrepreneurship play in Akwa Ibom state's socioeconomic development?

2. What are the variables influencing entrepreneurship and management capacity in Akwa Ibom State's socioeconomic development?

3. To what extent has entrepreneurship aided Akwa Ibom State's economic development?

Ho: In Akwa Ibom State, there is no discernible difference between the function of entrepreneurship and socioeconomic growth.
Hello: In Akwa Ibom state, there is a substantial disparity between the function of entrepreneurship and socioeconomic growth.

The significance of this study is to determine the roles of entrepreneurship and management talents in the private sector in the economic growth of Akwa Ibom State.

The effort would also expose the researcher, government, and general public to the challenges hindering entrepreneurial growth and, as a result, influencing socioeconomic development in Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria in general, as well as possible answers to these problems.

The study's findings would help the government carry out more deliberate and result-oriented planning on the expansion of entrepreneurship in Akwa Ibom State and the nation as a whole, with the goal of boosting its contribution to the betterment of the Nigerian economy.

The study's postulation and generalisation can lead other scholars to further literature on the roles of entrepreneurship in Akwa Ibom State's social and economic growth.

The research will look at the impact of entrepreneurship on socioeconomic growth in the municipality of Oron. The study would include all residents of Akwa-ibom state's Oron Local Government Area. As a result, the respondents for this study will be drawn from and among the residents of the study area.

The researcher encountered some difficulties while conducting this study, including time limits, budget constraints, language barriers, and the respondents' attitudes. However, the researcher was able to handle them just to ensure the study's success.

This is done to facilitate a better understanding of the project; some of the important phrases used are described here to highlight their operational implications in the context in which they are used.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP: The process of establishing a firm or other organisation is known as entrepreneurship. The entrepreneur creates a business strategy, acquires the necessary people and other resources, and is solely accountable for the company's success or failure.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Economic development is the ongoing, concerted actions of policymakers and communities to improve a specific area's standard of life and economic health. Economic development is also known as quantitative and qualitative developments in the economy.

CAPITAL: a type of capital that can be used to generate more riches.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are companies with less than 500 employees.

ORGANISATION: This is a grouping of many departments working together to achieve a shared purpose. It is a systematic procedure in which individuals engage in order to achieve goals.

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