By Otunba Kayode Fasae
It is a great pleasure for me to present this paper on the Creative Enterprise: Intervention for Talent Development. It was Adam Smith who first raised the concept of factors of production when he identified three factors namely land, capital and labour which must be present before production can take place. Thereafter, other scholars have argued in support of the coordinating role played by the fourth factor, the entrepreneur whose function of coordinating the other factors was found to be the greatest determinant of enterprise facilitation. We have since learnt that except for the special skill of facilitating enterprise, business activities will not occur successfully.
Before delving into what a creative enterprise also known as the Creative industry is, I will like to point out that putting business together in a successful and sustainable manner is a function of being creative. It takes a creative and innovative person to conceive and nurture business to fruition. However, I will be concentrating more on instances where and when an individual or group of individuals have leveraged personal creativity and innovativeness in business enterprises
The entrepreneur who engages in taking the risk of running a business is expected to creatively bring together all other factors of production in a sustainable manner that will translate into success. Universally, enterprise development is adopted as a catalyst to leverage improved personal well-being as well as economic development, knowing fully that the aggregate volume of enterprises that the citizens of a country are able to create ultimately determine the growth and development of the economy. Of the number of factors which determine the ease of starting an enterprise, individual talents have continued to play a critical role. The aggregate creativity of the people of a country more than natural resources such as minerals like crude oil have become more relevant in the determining of the wealth of nations. Countries like Japan with little or no mineral resources have leveraged their knowledge capital to attain prosperity.
A report from UNESCO and the consulting group, Ernst & Young (EY), indicates that the creative economy employed nearly 30 million people worldwide and generated $2.25 trillion in revenue amounting to 3 percent of the world’s GDP in 2013 which is substantially more than the worth of global telecommunications ($1.57 trillion) and greater than the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of India, Russia, or Canada combined together.
Creative industries have been identified to play increasingly important role in achieving socioeconomic well-being of the people, making it imperative for policymakers to leverage human creativity which is regarded by some scholars as the ultimate economic capital, as rightly put by Landry & Bianchini thst “industries of the twenty first century will depend more on the generation of knowledge through creativity and innovation”. I am in agreement with the school of thought that the world will move towards the knowledge, innovation, skills, creativity and ingenuity of the people to attain the desired socioeconomic objectives of a better world.
In his own work, Richard Florida, a development economist, makes a convincing point about the growing importance of creative talent in an increasingly knowledge-based economy. According to his definition, the creative class includes not only the world of traditional artists – writers, painters, actors, musicians, entertainers, etc., whom he refers to as “bohemians” but everybody for whom creativity or intellectual work is an essential element of his or her personal and professional life.
For the purpose of this paper, I will agree with the definition by UK Government Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) which describes the creative industry as: “those industries which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property”. The Nigerian creative industry which has been largely represented by Nollywood, a sobriquet used to describe all performing artists in the film and entertainment sectors, has been adjudged the third largest in the world thus making it the most visible window for talent discovery and management.
However, let me quickly add that creative spirit is not limited to the business world nor those enterprises that have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent, it is evidently clear that there are talented, skillful, innovative and creative individuals in virtually all areas of human endeavours and can be found in either the public or private sectors. While we have creative entrepreneurs, it should be noted that there are creative employees in different organisations – private and public. That explains why many corporate organisations are embracing the concept of talent management in advancing the course of the business goals and objectives. This trend seems to be peculiar to the private sector as the public sector is yet to appreciate the need to identify and leverage on the individual’s talents, skills and creativity as well as reward them for such. In actual sense, what separates innovativeness and creativity in the private sector from the public sector is the degree of acceptance and the development of the conducive atmosphere.
The increasing importance of creative enterprise in the well-being of the people and economic growth of a country has raised the global focus on the creative industry at the 74th United Nations General Assembly to declare the year 2021 as the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development. Under this theme, a number of activities will take place to highlight the power of creativity for resilience in a time of pandemic and to share best practices and experiences, enhance human resource capacity, promote an enabling environment at all levels as well as tackle the challenges of creative economy.
Back home here in Ekiti State, I am glad to tell you that the visionary administration of His Excellency, Dr John Kayode Fayemi has from inception taken cognizance of the State as the Fountain of Knowledge, having enormous human resources in diverse areas of human endeavour. Our Governor announced his commitment to establish the critical linkages between the people of the State and knowledge economy. The State has since then introduced a number of programmes and policies to support the actualization of this goal, among which is the reduction of the Right of Way (RoW) charges for laying broadband infrastructure from ₦4,500 to ₦145 per meter. Following the State announcement of the reduction of the RoW charge the State had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with O’dua InfraCo to lay 606km of fibre. The reduced RoW charge appears to be bearing fruit in other ways. MTN, the largest mobile network operator with 43% share of internet subscribers in Nigeria, has requested approval to lay 160km of fibre across Ekiti State.
This policy and the resultant impacts will no doubt improve broadband coverage in the State thereby given better access to the Internet across the populace which will help to boost the national broadband plan for 70% penetration by 2025. The about 700km project is significant for Ekiti State, presently with 16% broadband penetration, the reduction of the RoW charge serves a plan to increase access in the State to cover 90% of the population, solving the previous challenges associated with “middle and last mile delivery” systems.
With the universal acceptance of the importance of creative enterprise serving as a springboard for economic development and attainment of the individual well-being, it is essential to extend our examination to study the link between creativity and enterprise facilitation or by extension the relationship between creative enterprise and talent management. Talent management has become a buzzword of interest to the individual as well as to business organisations. In fact, I expect the government or the public sector to take interest in the discovery and management of talents as a lever of increasing productivity.
The argument in favour of intervention for talent development as a means of promoting creative enterprise cannot be overemphasized. Talent management has never been more important as a strategic pillar for Human Capital Management than the present time that has ushered in the age of the fourth industrial revolution. While talent can be innate or inborn, there is the obvious need for additional training to hone the talented individual natural capacity.
Many organisations have come to understand and appreciate the strategic importance of engaging talented employees. Some tech companies have gone beyond country and continental frontiers to recruit gifted hands in pursuit of their business goals. For instance, Andela an American company with operational campus in Nigeria has served as a global platform for training and recruitment of talented software engineers to help companies around the globe to overcome the severe shortage of talented and skilled software developers since 2014. The company has offered software companies around the world access to its talent pool through appropriate add-on training in alignment with global market demand. At a global scale, many large organisations in sundry sectors and industries have come to appreciate the correlation between talent management and attainment of corporate goals. Various talent management efforts focuses on identifying, recruiting, developing, placing and retaining people who are key to the competitive success of the company.
In conclusion, I would like to seize this opportunity to thank and appreciate His Excellency, the Governor of Ekiti State whose adoption of the knowledge economy mantra underscores the concept of creative enterprise and talent development. Most of the programmes aimed at promoting the creative industry were captured by the activities of the Microfinance and Enterprise Development Agency (MEDA) where basic business training and various funding platforms had been created. I am glad and bold to say that the volume of enterprise facilitation and development rolled out by the present administration in Ekiti State is unrivalled and I believe much more will still be done. We will continue to serve the purpose of enterprise development, and in doing this special focus will be given to talent development.
In line with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) philosophy of providing necessary training and financial support for operators in the creative industry as part of promoting enterprise development, (specifically in the fashion, information technology, movie, music and performing arts) MEDA will continue to lay emphasis on the inclusion of creative industry in its intervention programmes. I have no doubt that this will further enhance our pursuits in job creation and poverty reduction.
Thank you and God bless.
Otunba Kayode Fasae is Director General, Microfinance and Enterprise Development Agency (MEDA), Ekiti State.