The following was part of an address I made at the Black Management Forum’s (BMF) Young Professionals’ (YP) enterprise development summit in April 2014. It has been adapted for the purposes of this blog.
In 2013, 73 million young people will be unemployed.
425 million young women and men will join the labour force between 2016 and 2030. That means the world will need about half a billion jobs by then. These are statistics by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban KinMoon who made remarks on Entrepreneurship for Development.
He further said that to help meet this challenge, we should encourage, educate and empower young entrepreneurs. He said, we need to make a shift from talking about creating jobs for youth to talking about inventing jobs by youth.
There are numerous discussions taking place around the world with young entrepreneurs on entrepreneurship for development.
In a Forbes article by Bryan Silverman, the founder of Star Toilet Paper a young entrepreneur himself. Silverman gave the following the advice was given to young graduates on entrepreneurship;
You are part of the generation of change, and you MUST be the catalysts. It doesn’t matter if you are your the boss of your one person company, if you decided to join a startup or small business of 10-50 employees or if you work for a company with thousands of employees. You can either be a fly on the wall and spend your 2 – 5 years at the company as someone who just completes their work or you can be the one who creates the bottom-up change necessary to innovate the company to become the best in the business.
Everyone has a dormant entrepreneurial mindset that has to be awakened. Being an entrepreneur doesn’t necessarily have a pre perquisite of starting your own business, it’s a way of thinking about how you want to take on the world. You can be an entrepreneur at your own company, or you can be an entrepreneur within a company of thousands of people-despite the fact that you may be at the bottom of the totem pole.
Here are a few mental shifts to make so you can evoke the values of entrepreneurship not only in yourself but also in others;
1. Think like a leader. Leading is about invoking a sense of confidence in those below you so everyone can lead the team forward.
2. Take risks, no matter the circumstances
3. Keep your eyes open. Prevent the problem rather than finding a solution.
4. Believe in yourself, have the guts to disrupt the status quo. If you wait until there is a problem to be solved, guess what somebody is already solving it so you are already behind the curve.
The spirit of entrepreneurship is alive in South Africa, it’s evident by looking at this room today. Let us take it forward with us into every space we occupy. It’s a state of mind, a way of doing things. The world is looking to us to bring about the changes to socio-economic problems through entrepreneurship. My question to you is, what’s your contribution?