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There is a need for a rise in youth entrepreneurship in Africa and this is a reality that we can no longer take for granted. Children are becoming youths and youths becoming family men by the day and gone are the days where the narrative was that business must be what is handed down from parents to children. It’s a good thing but those days are no longer the mark of business excellence. Youths now have more information almost about anything, including business ideas and tips on how to set up a business, without necessarily going to study business in school.

Youth entrepreneurship is one of the cornerstones that many countries now look up to for the continued survival and growth of the economy.

The youths symbolise continuity especially if they are in business, unlike the aged population. Particularly, the youths with a zest to explore all life’s available avenues to generate money. In so doing, brainstorming will continuously ensure African countries are never short of brilliant ideas given there are those people who view it as a black continent. According to research, young people are more inclined to experiment and are not risk averse as compared to their older counterparts. The sky is the limit for the youths to venture in because in every sector there are unexplored opportunities ready to be seized. Notably, these ripe and hanging fruits await those who can see opportunities where others see nought to pluck them out. This is the major differentiation between those who will eventually have a start-up to those who won’t take this road fully satisfied to keep being employed by somebody else. Indeed, these are appealing attributes of successful entrepreneurship given the whole world is plagued with unemployment, especially for graduates. This is why many youths are being motivated and empowered to start their entrepreneurial ventures. The long and short of it is that this will result in them being independent and self-reliant. Worth noting, is that most of these ventures are high-tech start-ups. The world has turned to become digital and fast-paced. Suffice it to say, that there is no room to waste precious time without starting new companies that will add value to the quality of life of the general masses.

Thus, for one to survive in such a fluid environment they have to go with the flow. Otherwise, your relevance will be swept under the carpet if you are not proactive and flexible enough to capitalize on opportunities and close on available gaps. Innovations that add value to the rest of the populace are enabling countries to maximize that and improve their economic status take for example developed countries such as China and the United States of America.

In Zimbabwe, the government has initiated that all institutions follow the 5.0 doctrine. The age 18 – 35 falls under the bracket of youths and most of them will pass through the doors of tertiary education. That said, the doctrine is premised on the idea each research that a student does must come up with commercially viable innovation. It must be of the value of some sort if it doesn’t add so to the available body of knowledge then there is a problem of misalignment.

Also, these goods and services must be heritage-based as well. All these are major strides to promote local industrialisation and to ensure idea generation does not end on that point but progresses to product or service development. Students who are coming up with prototypes are proud of the mandate of the 5.0 doctrine.

Besides instructing institutions to follow this doctrine, our Zimbabwean government in 2018 ensured the operation of the Empowerment Bank. Actually, by its name itself, it proves the bank is mainly based on empowering the youths to make something of their ideas business-wise. This has immensely helped in lending issues of loans which was a tedious task in the past given most do not have collateral. Henceforth, with Empowerment Bank a balance was struck on how the lending can be done starting even from smaller amounts. Capital is the major holdback for youth entrepreneurs. For some reason, giving a financial start and boost will go a long way in ensuring their dreams do not face an early death.

Policies of all sorts are being implemented and promoted so that there is a sizeable growth of youth entrepreneurs not only in Zimbabwe but in her sister African countries as well.

For Zimbabwe, this coincides with the Robert Mugabe Youth Day celebrated on the 21st of February every year which serves to highlight the government is standing with the youths until eternity. Interestingly, this year’s theme was ‘ Positioning  Youth Empowerment and Development Towards Achieving Vision 2030.’ Needless to mention, the youths are the leaders of tomorrow therefore they need to be aided to make the right and sound decisions that will increase the quality of life for the masses. Creatively coming up with commercially viable innovations puts even the country on another level. Employment-wise, these other youth entrepreneurs will be able to aid in alleviating this growing scourge that is escalating to unprecedented levels. When youths are gainfully employed and are doing honest day jobs then other related problems of drug abuse, theft plus prostitution would have been dealt away with. Pressing this same argument, if such levels of youth entrepreneurship are reached this will be to the relief of the society at large.

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Organisations in the civic society are also helping in promoting youth entrepreneurship such as Youth Empowerment and Transformation Trust (YETT) which implements various programs to conscientise youth on financial literacy.

The thrust is to support those who want to start their ventures to close gaps they would have seen in their respective locations. There is a need to move from the highly informal type of youth entrepreneurship divorced from innovations. Also, there are now programs like “Ndine Thaza” which loosely means in English l have 1000 bucks which helps entrepreneurs pitch their ideas whilst competing for the coveted prize. This is being done so that other young people feel motivated to think outside the box of starting their own business because in Africa seeing is believing. The doubting syndrome is a major setback.

However, some claim underrepresentation in the governmental space is a major hindrance to youth entrepreneurship in most African countries. Truth be told this is correct because youths need to have their voices heard. Without adequate representation in parliament then the drive to continue promoting their welfare will be limited as compared to if there is a large number of them in such spaces. Only youths can be able to voice out the woes they face in their daily lives unlike if decisions are made by the senior citizens of the country who have a huge generational gap with these youngsters.

The ageing population’s hope is all on us the youths. As a result, we need to take entrepreneurship seriously because it has led to the growth of many countries.

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