Harnessing Digital Technologies And Business Survival Strategies

Project and Seminar Material for Entrepreneurship

Harnessing Digital Technologies And Business Survival Strategies


Abstract


The purpose of the study was to determine the extent of harnessing digital technologies (ICT) and business survival strategies in Nigeria and south east particularly. The design used for the study was descriptive survey and the instrument was structured questionnaire. The population of the study was all the 1251 registered entrepreneurs of medium and large scale businesses in the private sector, from which the respondents, consisting of 723 were drawn. Findings of the study showed that the utilization of ICT to create enabling business environment were accepted and enhancing marketing of goods and services through ICT. ICT such as web-based lesson, cyber guide and telecommuting projects for staff training were often utilized while the utilization of virtual classroom and personalized courses are minimal. The major barriers for utilization of ICT were customers incompetence in using the technology, limited number of competent staff, and taxation of internet sales. Based on the findings, recommendations were made which include that private businesses should organize on the-job training and offer opportunities for in-service training to their staff to make them more competent on the use of ICT, entrepreneurs in the South-East should develop digital networks to promote digital economy and network of ideas.


Table of Content


Chapter One:

Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Purpose of the Study
  • 1.4 Objectives of the Study
  • 1.5 Research Questions
  • 1.6 Hypotheses
  • 1.7 Significance of the Study
  • 1.8 Scope of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • 1.10 Limitations of the Study
  • 1.11 Organization of the Study

Chapter Two:

Literature Review

  • 2.1 Conceptual Review
  • 2.2 Theoretical Review
  • 2.3 Empirical Review
  • 2.4 Chapter summary

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Design of the Study
  • 3.2 Area of Study
  • 3.3 Population of the Study
  • 3.4 Sample and Sampling Techniques
  • 3.5 Instrument for Data Collection
  • 3.6 Validation of the Instrument
  • 3.7 Reliability of the Instrument
  • 3.8 Procedure for Data Collection
  • 3.9 Method of Data Analysis
  • 3.10 Ethical Considerations

Chapter Four:

Data Analysis and Result Presentation

  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.2 Answering Research Questions
  • 4.2 Testing of Hypotheses
  • 4.3 Summary of Findings

Chapter Five:

Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Conclusion
  • 5.2 Recommendations
  • 5.3 Suggestions for further Research
  • REFERENCES
  • APPENDIX 

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

Entrepreneurship stirs up ideas that could enhance businesses. This perhaps informed why entrepreneurship is fundamental to generating new ideas and developing new business opportunities (Shanghai, 2001). Ayeduso in Osuala (2004) stated that while the word entrepreneur describes the person or the actor, entrepreneurship talks about the actions, efforts, abilities, skills, processes or sometimes the business unit itself. Following the same opinion, Inegbenebor (2006) said that entrepreneurship is about learning the skills needed to assume the risk of establishing a business. It is about developing strategies and executing them with all the vigour, persistence and passion needed. According to him, preparing for entrepreneurship focuses on attitude and skill formation for the identification of economic opportunities, feasibility analysis, business planning and making arrangements for the sustenance and growth of the enterprise. Similarly, the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency (SMEDA, 2004) stated that entrepreneurship develops when a person organizes and manages a commercial undertaking. SMEDA also noted that entrepreneurship combines strong character of diligence, innovativeness, readiness to take risk, ability to sense opportunity, ability to mobilize human and material resources, being goal-oriented and focused, preserving and dogged for growth and excellence. Entrepreneurship is certainly critical in economic transformation. Entrepreneurship, according to Ray, Adams and McMilliam (1990) is being able to discover innovations that can enhance marketing of goods and services, create enabling business environment, staff training and deal with barriers to growth.

Emphasizing on the importance of businesses, Eneh (2005) stated that it is indisputable that businesses hold the key to national economic development because they create jobs, wealth, alleviate poverty, promote equity, social security, encourage the culture of self–help and self– reliance. Nagy (2003) pointed out that investment in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and use, can affect innovation. ICT according to UNDP (2001), refers to the full rang of electronic technologies and techniques used to manage information and knowledge. In this study the term technologies also called ICT is not referring to all the media currently available but more restrictedly to the recent computer technologies, internet, computer and cell phones.

ICT have become the modern-day strategy to capture the market because of the potentials it can offer to enhance entrepreneurship. ICT has enormous potentials to assist economies in achieving specific economic development goals. ICT has the ability to improve communication and enhance the exchange of information and the role of communication in the success of any enterprise cannot be overemphasized. As identified by Itegboje, Adigun and Oyeyinka (2001):

ICT has a great role to play to enhance entrepreneurship. Bartelsman and Hinloopen (2002) pointed out that the use of ICT could have several impacts on productivity. It might help more productive businesses gain market share. The use of ICT may help businesses expand their product range, customize the services offered or respond better to client demand and to innovate. Moreover ICT may help reduce inefficiency in the use of capital and labour by reducing inventories. All these effects might lead to higher productivity. Investment in ICT might also have benefits going beyond those accruing to investors in ICT. Bartelsman and Hinloopen (2002) further stated that the diffusion of ICT may help establish networks, which produce greater benefits which is spillover effects, the more customers or businesses are connected to the network. The spread of ICT may reduce transaction costs which could lead to a more efficient matching of supply and demand and enabling the growth of new markets. Increased use of ICT may also lead to greater efficiency in the creation of knowledge. Where such spillovers exist, they raise overall multifactor production (MFP) growth.

Furthermore, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD, 2000) pointed out that much is being done to improve the environmental performance of industry through policies which induce reductions in general burden of taxation, and cost of essential services. Comparatively, smaller businesses, tends to be less aware than larger firms of environmental externalities and of the legislation that governs their activities. Besides, these smaller businesses have fewer resources to invest in environmental improvements and management tools that could make their operations more sustainable. According to them, businesses can fill market niches in the development and sale of environmental goods and services. It becomes a formidable challenge to involve the full range of businesses in working towards sustainable solutions. This is where the ICT advances come in to provide the means for governments and other stakeholders to reach, inform and influence businesses.

As aptly pointed by UNDP (2007) ICT enhance businesses efficiency, reduce costs and broadens market reach both locally and globally. The uses of ICT are increasingly transforming modern business by enabling the rapid, reliable and efficient change of large amounts of information. Access to and the use of ICT by businesses will lead to greater job creation, increase public revenue and a general rise in the standard of living. Furthermore, ICT offers enormous opportunities to reduce social and economic inequalities, particularly those related to income generation, poverty reduction, education, health, environment and gender equality and thus helps to achieve broader development goals.
Anyanwu in Okpoko (2004) reported that computer has contributed substantively to the socio-economic and human development of all industrialized and developed countries of the world. In developing countries the impact of ICT is gradually being felt especially in urban areas. The rapid advancement of ICT developed during the last two decades of the twentieth century has continued to change both the information and communication system in human businesses and in the daily lives of the people. Despite the potential contributions of ICT to enhance entrepreneurship, there are still obvious disadvantages of none utilization of ICT in business. The absence of ICT in business will lead to poor marketing of product, lack of access to information and collaboration among entrepreneurs in the business world. Jide (2009) has rightly pointed out that the disadvantages of lack of ICT skills need in Nigeria makes the need for ICT user, professionals and skills more crucial now than ever. The enormous disadvantages are hindering the effectiveness of ICT. Though digital literacy has become a necessity for all but it may be that majority in Nigeria lack basic ICT user skills. Agbonifoh (2006) has remarked that the word computer still elicits different reactions from managers of private businesses. Each person’s reaction depends on the degree of computer literacy. For those who are literate in computers, the term conjures a world of clamoring opportunities waiting to be explored. They see in the computer, not only opportunities for word processing without tears and do it yourself desktop publishing of leaflets, posters, pamphlets and books, but also an avenue for fast-paced world-wide communication on the world of information highway. Further, the computer offers opportunities for simple and complex analysis of data, massive information storage and retrieval and access to virtual libraries on world-wide web. While some managers are carrying on as though the computer is not meant for them, others still rely on manual typewriter, manual storage, retrieval and processing of data and files.

In the same way, Igwe (2005) portrayed two critical issues, confronting the utilization of ICT to be illiteracy and inadequate educational opportunities in Nigerian educational system. On the other hand Olubamise and Jide (2007) opined that communications quality is low and ICT penetration is still insufficient considering Nigerian’s size and population, the cost of broadband is still a barrier, poverty, lack of awareness and access excludes the poor, rural dwellers and private businesses from ICT. Even if a determined entrepreneur manages to survive, there is still the problem of finding a reliable e-commerce infrastructure that will safely and reliably handle the electronic transactions without viewing the seller from Nigeria as high risk. There have been limitations on what one can buy online. There are rigours associated with online shopping systems and the restrictions in the global market(Ovia,2007).

For Nigerians to be employable and entrepreneurial the demand is not degree or qualification but innovative people who can contribute meaningfully to the economy and society. It is against this background that this study seeks to find out how the utilization of ICT has enhanced entrepreneurship in South-East, Nigeria.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

In the past entrepreneurs use obsolete but cheaper technologies such as typewriter and cyclostyling machines which are now filled with disadvantages in the present day of digital technologies. These has negative implications for boosting of business survival. For example, with the use to this technologies error correction, communication, document scanning and formatting are not possible.

However, with the advent of ICT it has been found that entrepreneurial skills and business survival are facilitated. ICT has great potentials in enhancing skills of entrepreneurs. It has facilitated training through on-line learning and helped in the area of enhanced business environment. To scan, organize and store documents are possible with computer but not with the old technologies used in business by entrepreneurs. According to Chris (2012) the growth of personal computer and computer networks continues to impact businesses both large and medium. Through computer and internet connection entrepreneurs can perform administrative tasks like paying your business bills on your computer, as well as marketing your business online, e-mail and instant messaging allow for easy communication. Moreover Uchegbu (2002) pointed out that the introduction and use of internet has caused an important revolution in communication and that is capable of improving the way we communicate, study, contract and transact business. This progress in business in noted as a result of progress in the ability to link up computers.
Despite these obvious advantages opinions from the background of this study still show that entrepreneurs are not yet taping the benefits of ICT in enhancing their skills. These are however opinions and there is need to verify the authenticity of the opinions. It is therefore the problem of this study to verify the extent of utilization of ICT and business survival strategies, Nigeria.


1.3 Purpose of the Study

The general purpose of this study is to determine the extent of harnessing digital technologies and business survival strategies.


1.4 Objectives of the Study

  1. Determine the extent to which entrepreneurs of medium and large scale businesses utilize ICT to create enabling business environment.
  2. Find out the extent to which entrepreneurs of medium and large scale businesses utilize ICT in enhancing marketing of goods and services.
  3. Determine the extent to which entrepreneurs of medium and large scale businesses utilize ICT in staff training.
  4. Identify the barriers to utilization of ICT by managers of medium and large scale enterprise to enhance entrepreneurship.

1.5 Research Questions

The following research questions guide the study:

  1. To what extent do entrepreneurs of medium and large scale businesses utilize ICT to create enabling business environment.
  2. To what extent do entrepreneurs of medium and large scale businesses utilize ICT in enhancing marketing of goods and services.
  3. To what extent do entrepreneurs of medium and large scale enterprise utilize ICT in staff training?
  4. What are the barriers to the utilization of ICT to enhance entrepreneurship by entrepreneurs of medium and large scale businesses in South-East Zone?

1.6 Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study at 0.05 level of significance.

  1. There is no significant difference in the mean rating of entrepreneurs of medium and large scale businesses on the extent to which ICT are being utilized to create enabling business environment.
  2. There is no significant difference in the mean rating of entrepreneurs of medium and large scale businesses on the extent to which ICTs are utilize in enhancing marketing of goods and services.
  3. There is no significant difference in the mean rating of entrepreneurs of medium and large scale businesses on the extent of utilizing ICT in staff training.
  4. There is no significant difference in the mean rating of entrepreneurs of medium and large scale businesses on the barriers to utilization of ICT.

1.7 Significance of the Study

This study is of great significance to private businesses because the finding would provide data that would make managers to became producers and creators in high value areas of knowledge economy. The managers would be drivers and not consumers in the global digital economy. It would expose the staff to new ways of working in the enterprise.

Government would understand the need to be proactive in exploiting ICT for enterprise development. The government and international funding agencies would be interested in general development of ICT in higher institutions.

Educational institution would also find that the study would benefit them in that it would expose the challenge of globalization and information age for the transformation of the academic system from traditional role of teaching, learning, research and development methodology, to ICT application which is the latest revolution changing all aspects of human endeavour.

The study will enable adult education administration fill the gap of ICT knowledge in the society through continuing and life long education. The findings of this study will have significant effect on the way people live, work and play in the society.

Finally, future researchers would also benefit by identifying further areas to explore in ICT.


1.8 Scope of the Study

The focus of the study is on harnessing digital technologies and business survival strategies in South-East, Nigeria. This study covers the registered private businesses in South-East, Nigeria. The study focused on utilization of ICT to create enabling business environment, enhancing marketing of goods and services through ICT, utilization of ICT in staff training and barriers to utilization of ICT. The researcher did not cover other areas o of ICT utilization since the researcher believes that such areas can be carried out by future researchers.


1.9 Definition of Terms

Enterprise a Business or Company.

Technology(ICT)application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry.
Entrepreneur a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit


1.10 Limitations of the Study

The researcher encountered the following limitations in the course of the study:

  1. The respondents were skeptical in giving out information to the researcher on the grounds of uncertainty in the use of information.
  2. Some questionnaires were not used for analysis because of inappropriate filling and failure of the entrepreneurs to return the instrument.

1.11 Organization of the Study

The study is organized into five chapters. Chapter one covers; background to the study, statement of the problem, general objective of the study, specific objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, limitation of the study, operational definition of terms and organization of the study. Chapter two covers review of related literature. Chapter Three covers research methodology which includes: introduction, research design, target population, sampling techniques and sample size, data collection instruments, validity and reliability of research instruments, data collecting procedures, data analysis techniques and ethical considerations. Chapter four covers research results of the study. Chapter five covers discussions and interpretations of research findings.


Chapter Five


Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Conclusion

The conclusions are drawn from the findings of the study. Entrepreneurs of medium and large scale businesses agree that ICT is utilized to create enabling business environment. Results of the study emphasized that ICT have boosted production of goods and services in businesses. From the study it is clear that ICT are not fully utilized in staff training by entrepreneurs of businesses. The result of the study evidenced many barriers that prevent the utilization of ICT in business in South-East Zone, Nigeria.


5.2 Recommendations

Based on the findings the following recommendations are made:

  1. Entrepreneurs should organize on-the-job training and offer opportunities for in-service training to their staff to make them more competent in the use of ICT.
  2. Educational institutions should incorporate digital courses in all levels of education to develop ICT compliance workers at the points of employment.
  3. Entrepreneurs in the South-East should develop digital networks to promote digital economy and network of ideas.
  4. The government should reduce the tax of internet sales to promote the purchase of internet resources by entrepreneurs.
  5. Government should subsidize the cost of internet sales to reduce the burden of lack of fund on entrepreneurs.
  6. The internet providers should build in soft wares that will facilitate delivery of goods through the internet.
  7. The government in their capacity should provide steady electric power supply to enable the entrepreneurs utilize ICT in business.

5.3 Suggestions for further Research

The following suggestions are made for further research:

  1. The extent of utilization of ICT in other Zones of Nigeria.
  2. Evaluation of access to ICT facilities in other Zones of Nigeria.
  3. A study of broadband diffusion as a marketing strategy in Nigeria.

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