Entrepreneurship is crucial to Africa’s economic growth and development. Research has it that, entrepreneurship could be the solution to the continent’s youth unemployment challenge, which is projected to reach 60% by 2030. Business education and training play a vital role in building the skills needed for successful youth entrepreneurship in Africa.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation recognizes the importance of training and capacity building for young African entrepreneurs to help them start or scale their businesses and this is why the TEF Business Management Training is one of the strong pillars of the Foundation’s flagship programme.
This training has been carefully curated to equip the entrepreneurs with business knowledge & skills required to launch and run successful businesses. It covers several topics including starting and scaling a business, business development, financials & bookkeeping, marketing strategy, leadership, effective management, and building a dynamic team. Over the years, the Foundation has trained over 1.5 million young Africans on its TEFConnect platform.
In this piece, we will examine the critical skills needed for youth entrepreneurship, the importance of business education and training in building these skills, and the role of diverse stakeholders.
Critical skills for youth entrepreneurship in Africa:
- Creativity and Innovation: Young entrepreneurs in Africa must be creative and innovative to develop new and unique products and services that meet the needs of the African market. Creativity and innovation require critical thinking skills, which can be developed through business education and training.
- Business Management: Entrepreneurship requires an understanding of basic business concepts, such as accounting, marketing, leadership (personal, team, and organizational), and human resource management. Young entrepreneurs must have a basic understanding of these concepts to run a successful business.
- Financial Management: Entrepreneurs must be able to manage finances effectively to ensure the sustainability and growth of their businesses. This includes budgeting, financial forecasting, and cash flow management.
- Communication Skills: Effective communication is crucial for entrepreneurs to build relationships with customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders. Communication skills include verbal and written communication, negotiation, and networking.
- Digital Literacy: In today’s digital age, entrepreneurs must have digital literacy skills to leverage technology to improve their businesses. This includes using social media for marketing, online sales, and e-commerce.
Importance of business education and training in building skills for youth entrepreneurship in Africa:
Business education and training play a crucial role in building the skills needed for successful youth entrepreneurship in Africa. Here are some reasons why:
- Bridging the skills gap: Business education and training can bridge the gap between the skills young people have and the skills they need for successful entrepreneurship. Many young people lack the business and financial management skills needed to start and run a successful business. Business education and training can provide them with these skills.
- Encouraging creativity and innovation: Business education and training can encourage creativity and innovation by providing young people with the tools and techniques to develop new ideas and solutions to problems.
- Building confidence: Business education and training can build the confidence of young entrepreneurs by giving them the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. This can help them overcome the challenges and setbacks they may face as entrepreneurs.
- Improving access to financing: Business education and training can help young entrepreneurs access financing by equipping them with the knowledge and skills needed to prepare a business plan, manage finances, and demonstrate their business’s potential for growth and profitability.
Role of stakeholders in providing business education and training for young entrepreneurs:
- Public Sector: The public sector can play a crucial role in providing education and training for young entrepreneurs. They can create policies that promote entrepreneurship and provide funding for business education and training programs. The public sector can also work with the private sector to create mentorship and coaching programs to support young entrepreneurs.
- Educational Institutions: Educational institutions, such as universities and vocational training centers, can provide business education and training programs specifically tailored for young entrepreneurs. Following in the footsteps of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, the leading philanthropy empowering African entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries through funding, training, mentoring, and networking young African entrepreneurs, these programs can cover business management, financial management, marketing, and other critical skills needed for successful entrepreneurship.
- Private Sector: The private sector can accommodate these young African entrepreneurs who have undergone business education and training and give them the space to actualize what they have learnt. This could come as an internship or vocational training.
The importance of training young African entrepreneurs cannot be overemphasized. Our recent impact assessment report at the Foundation solidifies this as 93% of the respondents (entrepreneurs) agree that the pieces of training gotten from our platform, TEFConnect, have been critical in making key business decisions and other relevant areas.
Training and capacity building plays a crucial role in building young African entrepreneurs and equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need for their entrepreneurial journeys. The Tony Elumelu Foundation understands the value of training and capacity building, and this is why it remains one of the Foundation’s pillars.