Lessons for unlocking entrepreneurship as a career for African youth

Anzisha Prize’s Josh Adler says young African entrepreneurs are exceptional at creating jobs for other youth.

A report put together by the Anzisha Prize has found that, if parents in Africa can be convinced that entrepreneurship can result in ‘job security,’ they will view entrepreneurship as a viable option after high school.

If parents are convinced, they will encourage their children to actively consider the entrepreneurial route for their futures.

The report’s findings state that young Africans today are three times more likely than the generation before them to be unemployed, and this was even before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The statistic has informed the programme’s work of building a movement championing “entrepreneurship as a career” to solve unemployment among African youth.

He says they are excited to share critical lessons that will inform the future of young entrepreneurs and hopefully amplify how the continent tackles the future of work.

The Anzisha Prize has supported 142 African youth through a fellowship programme that has empowered entrepreneurs to develop their business acumen and created more than 2, 500 jobs.

The report titled Unlocking Africa’s hidden job creators: Lessons from ten years of supporting transitions from education to entrepreneurship in Africa highlights 11 key lessons learned that inform how early-career entrepreneurs can be supported.

The key lessons that standout according to the report are the following:

· Lesson: When young women entrepreneurs are purposefully sought out, they are easily found.

· Lesson 6: Entrepreneurship is learned through practice. Entrepreneurial skills are best practiced like a sport, not taught like a class.

· Lesson 10: Markets open when trust is borrowed. Investors are more willing to engage young entrepreneurs who are endorsed by established brands.

· Lesson 11: Supporting parents will enable very young entrepreneurs. A widespread parental attitude shift could be the trojan horse that unlocks entrepreneurship as a career.

Regional head, Eastern and Southern Africa Mastercard Foundation Daniel Hailuuj said, “Young people have the greatest stake in Africa’s economic future and the Anzisha Prize has proven that they are ready to roll up their sleeves and build that future.”