Community Participation and Entreprenuership in Nigeria

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Department of Sociology
University of Ibadan

Paper Presented at the First African Entrepreneurship Seminar, organised by School of Entrepreneurship and Business, University of Essex, U.K, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, University of Abuja, and Bayero University, Kano. Held at Conference Room (Anambra), Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, NIGERIA. 31st March-2nd April. 2008.


Community concerns is particularly constituted on a set of social relationships based on a common sense of identity, can assist in the contribution to entrepreneurship in Nigeria. The paper focuses on community in Nigeria as a catalyst to enhancing entrepreneurship. It shows the involvement of the community in the exchange of ideas and production of knowledge for entrepreneurship among its people. The concept of ‘community talk’, as an avenue for entrepreneurship development is proposed. The paper concludes with the important role of community as a correlate of entrepreneurship development in Nigeria.

Keyword: community, community participation, community talk, entrepreneur, and entrepreneurship.


My fellow participants,

Long time in the history of mankind, man’s life has been associated with interaction. This interaction has led them to organize themselves into an environment called the Community”. This is where different breed of people interact with rules and an organized structure. In the community, they developed a sense of “We” feeling or a sense of togetherness. This “We” feeling evolved into community initiative in which the members work together in achieving the common goal that will enrich their solidarity. This togetherness pattern is considered as the participatory effort. Community therefore, is a relevant tool for entrepreneurship development in Nigeria.

Interestingly, the involvement of community people in their own development makes cost-sharing between the local population and outside agencies possible. Cost sharing is of particular importance to government and other agencies involved in community development projects especially in a milieu featuring stringent economic policies and resources. Participation serves as a vehicle for psychological satisfaction, motivation and mobilization. By being associated in decisions concerning their well-being, people are able to see that they have some control over their environment. This will in turn make it easier for local and even external human and material resources to be tapped, pooled and mobilized for development projects especially in a milieu featuring stringent economic policies and resources. Let take a look at the concept of community before further delving into what we intend to achieve.

What is a community?

Communities can be defined by characteristics that the members share, such as culture, language, tradition, law, geography, class, and race. As Shaeffer (1992) argues, some communities are homogeneous while others are heterogeneous; and some united while others conflictive. Some communities are governed and managed by leaders chosen democratically who act relatively autonomously from other levels of government, and some are governed by leaders imposed from above and represent central authorities.

A community is a geographic area in which residents perceive themselves to be stakeholders and share behavioural expectations as a result of social relationships developed while participating in formal, informal, and interdependent economic, social, and political institutions and activities, and while sharing a variety of public and private services.

Meanwhile, Zenter (1964) points out three aspects of communities. These three vibrant aspects of community are: First, community is a group structure, whether formally or informally...
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