The Scenario Of Young Entrepreneurs In Africa
BY: EVAN-LEE COURIE
The process has ultimately resulted in the ‘Very Young Entrepreneur (VYE) Scenario’, which proposes investing in entrepreneurs of all ages, but with a focus on entrepreneurs under the age of 25 and successful transitions from school to viable entrepreneurship.
According to the ‘Very Young Entrepreneur (VYE) Scenario’ research paper launched by the Anzisha Prize, which has worked with very young African entrepreneurs for over a decade, investments in supporting successful transitions from school and university directly to entrepreneurship could unlock significant employment gains in Africa.
We chat to Melissa Mbazo-Ekpenyong about the Anzisha Prize and the future of young entrepreneurs in Africa.
What is the Anzisha Prize?
The Anzisha Program is a partnership between African Leadership Academy and Mastercard Foundation that seeks to fundamentally and significantly increase the number of job generative entrepreneurs in Africa.
We believe that a key to doing so is to test, implement and then share models for identifying, training and connecting high potential, very young entrepreneurs (15 to 22-year-olds) so that many more organisations have better collective success in creating a pipeline of entrepreneurs with the capabilities for scale.
Our movement is a layered approach to servicing very young entrepreneurs on the continent. We have various prizes, programs and resources geared towards supporting and celebrating very young entrepreneurs.
Our goal is to inspire and support very young Africans with leadership potential to pursue and succeed in entrepreneurship.
We do this by encouraging very young Africans with leadership potential to become entrepreneurs, influencing parents and teachers to support entrepreneurship as a career choice and equipping investors & policymakers to specifically create opportunities for very young entrepreneurs.
You’re never too young to start your entrepreneurial journey. You don’t have to know everything, but you must be willing to test out a few solutions.
Entrepreneurship is not an easy pathway and for years it has been glamourised as something you do after everything else has failed.
But what if it’s something you do instead of going down a traditional career path? There is ample opportunity for young entrepreneurs to succeed.
The over-dependence of African youth to pursue formal employment has become quite alarming, given the declining job opportunities in the formal sector.
Some of the most effective ways of lobbying for very young entrepreneurs could be to advocate for tax exemptions, simpler registration processes, and business subsidies for them.
For policies and regulations to support entrepreneurs, the entire system should work towards the same goal. This means that educational policies, trading regulations, and business mandates should create an ecosystem where it is more straightforward for very young entrepreneurs to start and run businesses.
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