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Future Entrepreneurs – Their journey begins

The unemployment rate in South Africa is the third highest in the world, according to the “Global Risks” report by the World Economic Forum. About 71% of all unemployed people in South Africa are between the ages of 15 and 29.

Brand South Africa CEO Miller Matola believes entrepreneurship presents the best solution to solving youth unemployment in South Africa. Amy Rosen, a contributor to Forbes.com, agrees with this, saying that youth entrepreneurship could be the long-term solution to youth unemployment globally as well. Entrepreneurship has become a major priority for South Africa’s government, which created the Ministry of Small Business Development. Lindiwe Zulu, the small-business development minister, says that her ministry prioritizes –

creating an environment where it is easy to start and sustain businesses”. This will help us all because it will grow our economy and create jobs that this country sorely needs.

What is the definition of an entrepreneur? According to different sources, summarised, an entrepreneur is someone who sees an opportunity which others do not fully recognise. They have an unquenchable self-belief that this opportunity can be made real through hard work, commitment and the adaptability to learn the lessons of the market along the way. An entrepreneur is someone who, rather than working 8 hours a day for someone else, would prefer to work 18 hours a day for him or herself. There is another element that really dwells at the centre of any entrepreneur: passion! An entrepreneur possesses an interior fuel and stamina that drives his or her actions; this superior energy helps to overtake and surpass the different challenges and it injects strength to continue pursuing goals when difficulties arise.

“Want to be an entrepreneur? Start at primary school…the sooner young people start learning about entrepreneurship the better, as the skills that can be gained are manifold.” Sir Richard Branson

Can you remember what it’s like to be a child? Not having a care in the world because you knew you were looked after.  To a child every day is new, so everything seems exciting and full of possibilities. Children are interested in learning as much as they can. How many times have you heard a child ask “why?” over and over and over again?  As we get older, we learn more facts, and we experience life, we learn what is logical and possible and what not.

Unfortunately, this is also what hinders our imagination. Kids don’t have this problem. Kids’ imaginations are limitless. They have dreams and passions and visions but unfortunately somehow these are suppressed as they are growing up and go through school. I want to agree with Cameron Herold, a TEDx speaker that, even if the school have the odd entrepreneur day, where the kids get the opportunity to sell something they made, our school systems are grooming children to say I want to be a lawyer, a doctor or a teacher one day. We should start grooming our children to also want to be an entrepreneur. If we can teach our kids to be entrepreneurial, and if they show those traits to be, we can actually have all these kids starting new businesses instead of pursuing careers in other corporations or even sitting waiting for government handouts.

Cameron Herold says the following on how to groom your child to be an entrepreneur:

  • Get your children games that nurture the trait of being an entrepreneur,
  • Teach them not to waste money,
  • Don’t give them an allowance, it teaches them to expect a paycheck, teach them how to generate money,
  • Teach them how to spend wisely,
  • Teach them how to save money,
  • Teach them to think creatively and on their feet,
  • Teach them to speak in front of people,
  • Show them what bad customers and employees look like,
  • Teach them to negotiate and guess prices.

Now the rewards of being an entrepreneur:

  • Driving innovation,
  • Changing people’s lives,
  • Creating jobs,
  • Fuelling growth,
  • Making a better world.

Entrepreneurs are everywhere, they run businesses that support our economy. Help us build a healthy economy in South Africa – raise your child to be an entrepreneur!