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Abstract

This article explored the lived experiences and perceptions of youths in the Niger Delta regarding the factors that influence the decision to become an entrepreneur. Drawing from the theories of motivation and planned behavior, the conceptual framework of this phenomenological study underscored the synergetic relationship between entrepreneurial motivations and characteristics. Using semistructured interviews to collect primary data, 20 youth small and medium enterprise owners shared their perceptions and lived experiences regarding their perceived entrepreneurial motivations and characteristics. The analysis and coding of data helped to identify emergent themes based on the modified van Kaam seven-step approach. The research findings revealed 19 dominant themes, including unemployment, the desire for control and freedom, financial independence, the willingness to take risks, determination, self-motivation, and persistence. This study may contribute to social change as more Niger Delta youths might become better enlightened to make a well-informed decision about becoming an entrepreneur, which might potentially address the unemployment challenge in the region and enhance socioeconomic development.

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