UTILIZATION OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY TO ENHANCE ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN SOUTH-EAST, NIGERIA
The purpose of the study was to determine the extent of utilization of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to enhance entrepreneurship in South-East, Nigeria. Four research questions were posed to identify the utilization of ICT to create enabling business environment, boosting production of goods and services through ICT, utilization of ICT in staff training and barriers to utilization of ICT in enterprises. Four null hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance and were used to guide the study. 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 enterprises in the private sector, from which the respondents, consisting of 723 were drawn. Mean and standard deviation were used in analyzing the data collected and the criterion mean of 2.5 was used to judge the responses as to whether they were high or low. Four null hypotheses tested at 0.05 level of significance were upheld. 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 enterprises 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, educatiornal institutions should incorporate digital courses in all levels of education to develop ICT compliance workers at the points of employment, entrepreneurs in the South-East should develop digital networks to promote digital economy and network of ideas.