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Youth day and entrepreneurship

How appropriate to celebrate Youth Day with the final pitch of the top 13 in the City of Cape Town’s #YouthStartCT competition.

There will be only one   winner announced on Wednesday the 20th June, but by my book, all of these young people have “won” by taking their business idea to another level.

They brought their A game in this, the final pitch of 10 minutes to 5 adjudicators. I was so pleased to see how they integrated the learning of the previous 4 weeks into a mature pitch.

Projections are subjective and sometimes hugely over optimistic, yet if these 13 businesses get close to the impact they envisage, it will mean employment of >300 people after one year! That is good news!

Seeing these Young people excel in this way, reminds me of the opportunity that lies before us in unlocking this great potential.   I wrote this insert for the most recent Your Business article. It talks to the 5 reasons why young people make great entrepreneurs. I hope it stirs more young people to consider entrepreneurship as first choice for their careers.

  1. High levels of energy and resilience-On average young people have much larger energy tanks than more maturer groups.  Youth brings an ability to rebound that many people lose with age, unless they remain young at heart. This resilience allows them to bounce back after defeat and try again, relatively unscathed.
  1. More to gain.  Aspiring entrepreneurs from older groups generally can be confronted by what they stand to lose when considering leaving fulltime employment. Security and benefits may be at such a level that they are hindered in making the choice through what they may lose.  Young aspiring entrepreneurs, on the other hand, may focus more on what they may gain than on what they may lose. Whilst security and benefits are still a consideration, these may be minimised when compared to possible gains. Most young people fresh out of college don’t have children and spouses to support, so they can put real focus on launching their business.
  1. Fresh view/outlook.     Young people, in general, are far more willing to try something new. As we age, we often look back at our younger years and can’t believe the crazy things we tried. But it’s never too late for some to be young, be crazy, and launch a company.
  1. Cheerleading from the grandstand   It’s a known fact that high unemployment levels are most sharply felt by young people. A large variety of stakeholders, from Government and Private Business are overtly cheerleading for young people to be a big part of the entrepreneurial answer to unemployment. Examples are seen in the prominence of Business incubation in the state of the nation address; to commitments by Western Cape Government to reduce red tape and by business as it supports and facilitates private incubation models.
  1. Social change-on the ground     Everywhere that social challenges and problems are evident, young people are at the coal face. They may be in touch with the why in such a way that they help to shape the what of sustainable solutions.

Here’s to seeing more young entrepreneurs arise

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