“Ghanaian leaders are so quick at identifying problems but only lament about them and present no solutions,” he told students of the Zenith University College on Tuesday.
Speaking on entrepreneurship in Accra, Dr Nduom therefore, underscored the need for Ghana to nurture and develop people and leaders with the entrepreneurial mindset that would accelerate the country’s development.
He said Ghana was 25 years into its Fourth Republic – a time at which a person of the same age would have moved from a teenager into adulthood and was expected to make very informed decisions – but questioned if Ghana had become an adult nation 25 years into its Fourth Republic.
Using the 2016 electioneering as an example, he said, most politicians talked about the problems Ghana was saddled with such as corruption, lack of jobs, lack of access to capital to start a business idea but questioned how many of the talkers offered solutions or led in the implementation of any solution.
“That entrepreneurial mindset is what we need as a country to develop,” he added.
The renowned entrepreneur defined people with an entrepreneurial mindset as people who were able to identify problems, provide solutions to them and lead in the implementation of those solutions.
Dr Nduom said being an entrepreneur was not the same as being in business management, even if it was your own business you were managing, adding “so some people confuse running a business with being an entrepreneur. You do not have to be a business owner or start a new business to be considered as an entrepreneur,” he said.
He was of the opinion that although acquiring all the skills of business management was good, entrepreneurship was absolutely a mindset and an attitude that was not inherent but acquired and developed.
He said the basic principles of entrepreneurship were innovation and risk taking.
However, he was quick to explain that risk had to be taken with knowledge and investment protection mechanisms.
“Unlike business management that teaches people to avoid risk because it is not healthy for business administration, an entrepreneur is thought to embrace risk with knowledge,” he stated.
Dr Nduom said entrepreneurship was all about innovation because it was something that had to be experienced by trying, adding that innovation could not be done without taking risk.
He said business management skills or the theoretical aspect of entrepreneurship could help one to be a successful entrepreneur but it remained a management endeavour.
Taking risk with knowledge
Dr Nduom explained that taking risk as an entrepreneur did not mean investing without planning but meant seeing an opportunity you were not sure of but because it seemed potentially viable, you decided to venture without fear but with knowledge and investment protection mechanisms.
He said the risk of failing was part of the life of an entrepreneur, and using himself as an example, he said people saw the successful companies he ran today but did not talk about the many he ventured into that did not work.
He also mentioned consistency and persistency as major attributes of an entrepreneur, explaining that some innovations took hard work over a period of time to produce the desired results.
According to him, sometimes it took a while to acquire the necessary requirements and documents to hit an innovation running. For example, he said, it took him nine years to obtain a licence to run a savings and loans entity, when all efforts to get a licence to start a bank failed.
“My consistency led to the birth of the GN Bank, which is currently a universal bank and doing very well,” he said.
Dr Nduom advised the students to ensure they were always guided by what Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi described as ‘the seven social sins to be successful in life’.
These are Wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, religion without sacrifice and politics without principle.
He also advised the students to be guided by Proverbs 24:33-34-which says, “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man,” in their bid to become entrepreneurs and successful individuals.