Ask Kirubi: Know your worth

February 2, 2017

, I have said it time and time again that I employ mostly for attitude and train for skill. If you have a guy without the right attitude, their skill will not help you because they are irrelevant to your business. Most times it’s not the person that is the most qualified that gets the job, but the one who shows the most potential; the one who is trainable.

If we strip you off the various certificates, degrees and accolades that you hold, what are you worth?

Now this does not mean that we rubbish the skills acquired in various learning institutions. I’m merely challenging you to add value to the skills you acquire so that you can be distinguished from those with a similar skill set.

As you study and acquire knowledge, remember to train yourself for the labor market. Acquire basic or additional skills that will develop you. Don’t wait to be employed. Use the skills you have acquired to better your livelihood and of those around you.

Young people, you are the drivers of innovation and change. Take full advantage of this and prove to the naysayers that you are not a liability but the key catalysts for development.

Yesterday I attended the Innovating Economies Summit in Nairobi organized by the Economist where I sat in a panel discussing the use of Innovation to increase productivity and efficiency in Africa. I appealed to Governments and the Private Sector to invest in the youth and in particular help finance their ideas. However, investors will not pay attention to ideas that are not bankable.

You have a responsibility to make sure that your ideas are viable, sustainable, will add value and continuously bring back great returns. These are some of the biggest concerns for any investor and partner. At the same time, make sure you do the same amount of diligence on investors as investors do with other entrepreneurs or with you. That’s the only way such a relationship will work.

Africa has numerous opportunities, but remember you cannot thrive alone. If you stand alone, you stand little or no chance of survival. But if you partner together, merge your resources with other like-minded people then you will be able to attract bigger opportunities and the investment you need.

Donald Trump may just be doing Africa and other countries a favor if he regulates the movement and working conditions of immigrants in the US. Go back home my friends, and partner with your fellow countrymen to drive economic development. We are in need of your skills and knowledge to drive the development agenda in our countries.

Let no one limit your potential. If I don’t invest in your business then move on to the next investor. Work on your flaws and eventually someone will recognize your worth.

My plea to the older generation and to our leaders is to stop seeing the youth as a challenge but as a resource for investment. Empower and work with young people to enhance development.

Finally my friends, don’t see yourself as a liability but as an investment. Show an employer, investor, leader etc. how you can add value and be productive. The moment you limit yourself then that will be the beginning of your failure. Increase the competitiveness and productivity of yourself and that of your generation so that together you can drive the leadership and economic development of your country and Africa.

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