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Entrepreneurship education answer to youth unemployment


Marketing officers with the Nigerian job-finder site Jobberman

The shape of new global economic realities is becoming clearer: businesses need to be more flexible, quicker to learn, smarter at understanding markets and cross-cultural dynamics. And in the Knowledge Age, with its backbone of digital information and communication, speed is critical.

The stresses of economies shrinking or nearing collapse during this historic transition have put massive numbers of youth globally into unemployment or underemployed.

There are 1.2 billion youth in the world aged 16 to 35. They comprise 17% of the world’s population and 40% of the world’s unemployed. In 2010, 357.7 million youth were not in education, employment or training, and the number is ever increasing.

The threat of youth unemployment is not limited to developing countries even the developed countries face this challenge. The unemployment crisis has become a socio-economic crisis, impacting the young by increasing the burden of debt, creating a lack of job opportunities, causing resource degradation and decreasing the overall quality of life. The crisis has stoked increasing resentment among youth and has deepened mistrust of existing institutions, corporations and governments.

Youth unemployment statistics in Kenya show that 60% of the Kenyan population is under the age of 30.  The Kenyan unemployment rate is approximately 40% as of December 2011 and that an estimated 64% of unemployed Kenyans are youth.

Africa at a scope is full of young people with great business ideas, raw talent and determination with the promise of driving the growth of the continent through entrepreneurship. However, young people find it difficult to take their ideas further because they lack the necessary funding, information, skills and opportunities.

If the nation envisions to produce more Forbes Billionaires of our future generation in Africa, the likes of Aliko Dangote , Chris Kirubi, Mike Adenuga, Patrice Motsepe, the way forward will require a commitment to training all youth to think and behave like entrepreneurs: people who create opportunity rather than wait for it.

Entrepreneurship education results in an ongoing cycle of learning and innovation that will bring sustainable job creation and re-creation.

Dynamic entrepreneurship education and training is the fundamental tool for reversing the youth unemployment crisis globally. It is a tool that can arm young people not only with tools to start businesses and create jobs, but also to be opportunity-focused, flexible employees ready to fill existing jobs. The education and training should not only be institutionalized but offered at grass root levels. The politicians should cease from offering youths hand outs and instead invest in youth creative and innovative ideas.

“Entrepreneurs are not just involved in start-ups,” notes Donna Kelley, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at Babson College. “Entrepreneurs of all kinds are found throughout the economies of the world—in established companies and organizations, family businesses, non-profits, and franchises, among others.”

By Brian Osinde a.k.a MoneyGuru (U.S.I.U – International Business)

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