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In our everyday lives, we realise new way of doing things, new things are being produced and sold and new services are rendered, and most times people wonder where these ideas comes from and who are those that are actually bringing such ideas that are helpful and useful to us. These are basically innovators and entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurship is gotten from a French word which means "one who undertakes innovations, finance and business insight in an effort to transform innovations into economic goods". It could be new organizations or may be part of renewing an old organisation in response to a recognised opportunity. The most obvious form of entrepreneurship is that of starting new businesses. Entrepreneurship is the act of being an entrepreneur. According to Harper 2003, he argued that entrepreneurship is defined as the human propensity to be alert to profit organisation. "Entrepreneurship is a way of thinking, reasoning, and acting that is opportunity obsessed, holistic in approach and leadership balanced." Timmons & Spinelli (2007 page 79). Meyer G.D defines entrepreneurship as "a scholarly field that seek to understand how opportunities to bring into existence future goods and services are developed, created and exploited by whom and with what circumstances".
Bygrave says an Entrepreneur is the person who perceives an opportunity and creates an organization to pursue it. An entrepreneur is an individual who accepts financial risks and undertakes new financial ventures (wisegeek). According to Locket 2010, he said innovation popularly defined as 'the introduction of novelties; the alteration of what is established by the introduction of new elements or forms' and in commercial terms, as 'the action of introducing a new product into the market; a product newly brought to the market' and the action or process of innovating as making 'changes in something established, especially introducing a new methods, ideas or products'. Therefore, Theresa Ekwale in this study will be critically evaluated as an entrepreneur by analysing her background and early experiences to find out what encouraged her to be an entrepreneur, Elements of the entrepreneurial roadmap and their relationship with each other, the entrepreneurial and innovation process in the enterprises. Also, an expression of the business activities as a business model and consider the entrepreneurial opportunities' dimensions and drivers, the role of social networking or social capital, the role of any ethical factors in the development of the enterprise, established theoretical frameworks for entrepreneurship and innovation, and any differences between theory and practice.
WHO IS THERESA EKWALE?
She is a real business woman, amiable and very prudent in business matters especially hospitality. She holds a Bsc in Political Science and Business Administration. She is well admired by her peers because she stands tall in hospitality business where most people think it's a "man's world". She is an indigene of Edo State by birth but Delta State by marriage and she has made a good impact on the Port Harcourt community of Rivers State. She has an array of several professional qualifications in Nigeria and Ghana.
THERESA EKWALE BACKGROUND:
Theresa Ekwale was born on the 10th of October 1962 into the family of Mr and Mrs Okpeka in Owan local government of Edo state, Nigeria. She is the first child of four children, her siblings are married but the youngest (boy) recently graduated from the University of Calabar and is currently working for her. Her parents are retired civil servants living in Lagos, Nigeria.
Theresa finished both primary and secondary school in Edo state and afterwards attended a teachers' college in Lagos where she obtained her teachers' Grade II certificate. Theresa had uncles in hospitality industries, from that very young mind she started nursing the idea of having the same business. Soon after she got her teaching certificate, she decided to get married but her parents her not in support of her getting married because they wanted her to further her education to university level but Theresa insisted and got married promising that she would go back afterwards. After her first two kids, she started her National certificate in Education (NCE) after which she proceeded to do her first degree in the University of Calabar, Nigeria where she obtained a Bsc in Public and Business Administration, "combining family issues and education was a difficult task but because I was determined to succeed I remained focused". Theresa worked as a primary and secondary school teacher both in Lagos and Calabar. She was later asked to retire by the state government because she was not an indigene of the state. The retirement now gave her the opportunity to actualise her dream.
She started her business as a cosmetic shop owner known as NIMA COSMECTICS in 1995 in Calabar and by 1998 she moved to Port Harcourt with her family where she continued with her cosmetic business. In 1999, she opened a salon to tap the market from her location because there was no salon shop running at that time. The salon shop was close to her cosmetic shop so as to attract customers from both sides. In 2004 Theresa decided start up a hotel business called NIMA (SUITES) HOTEL, "I enjoy hospitality business because I have the background due the course I read in the university which also deal with people and am also a good house keeper and I can say that I have excelled in a profession that is mainly men's business and I have operated the business for more than 5years now with the help of my younger brother who works as the community relation officer". Theresa has now moved her cosmetic shop and salon close to the hotel for better management and also advertising and attracting customer to her shops.
Theresa Ekwale is happily married with four kids and is successful in her business.
ANALYSIS OF HER BUSINESS:
Nima (Suites) Hotel commenced test run operations in May 2004. The business was funded with sum of N50, 000,000 (Fifty million naira) which includes furniture, fittings and building equipments etc. Nima Hotel limited is a private company and with its well-structured objectives geared solely at providing hospitality services to give their guest the utmost in GUEST SATISFACTION and personalised touch. It is geared towards total commitment and personalised stress free services to their teeming guest, which range from government to high level clientele (Oil and Gas). Nima hotel is a quiet home for quiet people who are looking for a place to rest. It is simply a home far away from home; its principal business is hotel and catering.
THE ENTREPRENEURIAL ROADMAP
The entrepreneurial road map includes: the founder who is usually the leader, opportunity which is created by the business model which is an expression of the entrepreneurial process consisting of the idea generation, opportunity recognition and exploitation, the team which is linked with social capital and networks, the process and finally, the resources.
(Source: Locket 2010)
The leader (founder): Entrepreneurial leadership can be defined as a social influence process intended to facilitate the discovery, evaluation, and exploitation of entrepreneurial opportunities (Covin and Slevin). The founder is at the heart of the entrepreneurial process and always the initiator of the business idea. Based on the definition, the leader (founder) of Nima (suites) Hotel is Theresa Ekwale who thought of the idea of setting up a hotel when she noticed there was none around the location and it was close to a commercialized area. Theresa Ekwale being the initiator and creator, she was able to assess and explore the opportunity identified.
Opportunity: Venkataraman and Harting in their article stated that "an entrepreneurial opportunity is the chance for an individual to present new value by introducing new products or services to the society". Entrepreneurial opportunities contain possibilities for both an economic gain and a loss for the entrepreneur pursuing the idea. Knight (1921) pointed out an important quality about entrepreneurial opportunities. He observed that one cannot collect more information or carry out more analysis before making necessary investments to reduce uncertainty. Entrepreneurial opportunity can also be seen as an external environmental condition suggesting the feasibility of introducing and selling new products, services, raw materials and also organising methods at prices exceeding their production cost (Hitt A. et al 2002).
The entrepreneurial opportunity for Theresa Ekwale was that she built her hotel close to a commercialised area in the aim of targeting expatriates from different companies and she was the first to start up a hotel in that location and the only person who owns a hotel as well.
Team: The entrepreneurial team have to do with all parties that are participated toward the success idea on the particular innovation. The founding entrepreneurial team or start up team could be a well balanced start up team with professional as part of the team and as such there will be access to key resources such as finance, marketing, legal adviser, PR services etc (locket 2009). In the case of Nima Hotel, the start up team consisted of 3 individuals; Rufus Ekwale (husband) who is the CEO of the hotel, Emmanuel Akhiemieho (brother), who brought his experience gathered from the university to the establishment in term of organizational coordination. He has attended a conflict Resolution seminar (USAID sponsored), held at the Metropolitan Hotel Calabar and herself having experience in marketing and advertising. All these experience played a major role in the success story on the business.
Process: the process has to do with the mode of thinking and organising. It is regarded as the planning and activities that are put in place to ensure that the business or new venture is accepted. Theresa started off with the cosmetic and salon shops when the idea of setting up her own hotel came to mind. Her former house which she wanted to make a rented property was renovated and turned into a hotel.
Resources: According to Hitt A. et al an entrepreneurial resources can be defined as an suitable set of resources required to classify the entrepreneurial opportunities with the greatest possible returns and use a disciplined approach to utilize them. Entrepreneurial resources are the tangible and intangible assets a firm uses to exploit competitive imperfections in markets. Examples of entrepreneurial resources include physical assets, financial resources, individual resources, and organizational resources (Barney 2005). For Theresa, financial resource was N50, 000,000 (loan from the bank) and individual resources were her husband Rufus and her brother Emmanuel.
The Entrepreneurial and Innovation Process: The entrepreneurial process deals with all the functions, activities, and actions associated with perceiving opportunities and creating organizations to pursue them. It is driven by a lead entrepreneur and an entrepreneurial team.
( Source: Locket 2010)
In case Theresa had the idea of setting up her hotel but noticed there was none around her vicinity and its was also a commecialised area. It was a clear opportunity for her to tap into the market so she utilised that opportunity as the only hotel owner in a commercialised area.
A BUSINESS MODEL: is an architecture for product, service and information flows, including a description of the various business actors and their roles; and a description of the potential benefits from various business actors; and a description of the sources of revenue(Locket 2010).
Opportunity business model: The entrepreneurial opportunity business model is a description of the key dimensions (proposition; people; place; process; profit) and drivers (societal; commercial; legal; technological) that underpin any new business idea to be exploited in an enterprise (Locket 2010). In Nima hotel, the dimensions supporting the business model is: profit, process, place, people and proposition and the imperatives are: technological, legal, societal and commercial. Below is the diagram of the opportunity business module
(Source: Locket 2010)
For Nima hotel;
Prepostion: to offer clean, fresh and comfortable accomdation and also to promote toursim in Rivers state, Nigeria and facilitate recreational relaxation.
People: they consist of the leader/ founder, guest, team, staffs etc.
Place: its in a commercialised area which enhances patronage.
Profit: it includes lodging and renting out halls for occasions.
THE ROLE OF SOCIAL NETWORKING OR SOCIAL CAPITAL: network can be defined as a set of nods either persons or organisation which is linked by a set of social relationships (friendship, transfer of funds etc) of a specific type (Cooper A.C). Social capital is the connections within and between social networks it is the accumulation of 'goodwill' not based purely on economic exchanges (Locket 2008). Social capital refers to the resources available through networks of social relationships possessed by an individual or a social unit (Ghitulescu and Lean). An entrepreneur needs networking skills to sell their innovative ideas as well as their brand names. It's a way of creating awareness on the business or product and to possess social capital, a person must be related to others, and it is those others, not himself, who are the actual source of his or her advantage.
Entrepreneurs get support, and access to distribution channels through the people they meet (their social network).
Theresa Ekwale was successful in the hospitality business as she already had an uncle who was into the same business and a network of people around who she had talked to in the past concerning the hospitality business. She also had friends who were influential and helped in creating awareness for the business. She had also met with the owner of one of the biggest hotels in Port Harcourt, Nigeria "Aristohouse hotel and casino" who advised her on the strategy of setting up a hotel business.
Theresa is now a successful and proud owner of a hotel. She was determined to succeed so that only was part of the driving force which helped her achieve her dream and now Nima (Suite) hotel is one of the prestigious hotels in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.
Theresa Ekwale had a good entrepreneurial roadmap which helped in the success of her business. She had a good balance of leadership, team work, opportunity and resources.