Youth Dynamism Should be Tapped

Published on 9th January 2007

Entrepreneurship is the process by which individuals become aware of the self-employment career option, develop ideas, take and manage risks, learn the process and take the initiative in developing and owning a business. It's a way of thinking that is opportunity oriented.

Effective youth entrepreneurship education prepares young people to be responsible, enterprising, participants in economic development and sustainable communities. It follows therefore that policies to promote youth entrepreneurship need not be seen as a departure from the broad policy orientation. This is based on the recognition that not all young people can become entrepreneurs in a business sense. Enterprise life skills can help youth adapt well to other non-entrepreneurial careers. 


The major constraint on the enterprise culture by the youth has been lack of capital either to start operating or to encourage growth. Many of the young entrepreneurs have been able to overcome this through support from immediate or extended family, labouring and saving and through acquisition of loans. Lack of relevant knowledge and skills due to poverty and as a result of limited access to vocational training has also largely inhibited youth progress in entrepreneurship. Most informal sector operators acquire their knowledge and skills through watching others, trial and error, parents and other family members, apprenticeship and through personal experience. Many Governments and the international institutions that advise or fund them have been reluctant to see the adolescent and youth sector as a priority development entry point. The reality is that there are a number of benefits from the promotion and enhancement of youth entrepreneurship.


An obvious and perhaps the most significant benefit of entrepreneurship is that it creates employment for young people who own businesses. This is especially so in an economy subject to rationalization, change and restructuring. There may also be direct effect on employment if new young entrepreneurs hire fellow youth. This could help address some of the socio-psychological problems and delinquency that arise from joblessness. 

Youth -Run Enterprises also provide valuable goods and services to the society especially the local community. This results in the revitalization of the local community. It has also been observed that new small firms tend to raise the degree of competition in the product market, thereby bringing gains to consumers. In addition, the enterprises may create linkages between youth entrepreneurs and other economic actors such as sub-contracting and franchising. 

Youth entrepreneurship promotes innovation and resilience as it encourages young people to find new solutions, ideas and ways of doing things through experience-based learning. In certain circumstances, young entrepreneurs may be particularly responsive to new economic opportunities and trends. This is especially important given the on-going globalization process. It is increasingly accepted that youth entrepreneurs can present alternatives to the organization of work, technology transfer and a new perspective to the market. It is also important to note that social and cultural identity is promoted through youth enterprises, as there is a stronger sense of community where young women and men are valued and better connected to society. Enterprises also give young people especially marginalized youth, a sense of meaning and belonging. This can shape the identity of the youth and encourage others to treat them as equal members of society.

In a broader sense, entrepreneurship helps young women and men to develop new skills and experiences that can be applied to many other challenges in life. Therefore, the challenge for governments, NGO's and international bodies seeking to improve youth livelihoods is to "tap into the dynamism of young people and build on their strong spirit of risk-taking. 


The Global enterprise fund can help promote an enterprising and entrepreneurial culture as is reflected in the increasing role that self employment plays in job creation across the world. In most African countries, self-employment is emerging as an important source of employment, livelihoods and economic dynamism. Most of the employment is created in the informal sector. Let’s seize the moment, embrace the idea and make a difference in our society. It’s all about doing ordinary things in extra ordinary ways.

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