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Empowering Youth Entrepreneurs: The Key Role of Mentorship

today11 July 2024 708 2

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Youth entrepreneurship drives innovation, economic growth, and community development. Providing young entrepreneurs with the necessary tools not only aids their career and personal development but also benefits society as a whole.

However, entrepreneurship is not without its challenges. According to Natanya Meyer, associate professor in the South African Research Chairs Initiative for entrepreneurship education at the University of Johannesburg, the percentage of adults aged 16 to 64 intending to start a new business in the next three years dropped to 10% in 2023, the lowest in 20 years. This is a significant decline from the all-time high of 20% in 2021/22.

Simon Sinek, author and motivational speaker, emphasizes the importance of taking the first step despite uncertainties. He advises,

Dream big. Start small. But most of all, start.

To help young entrepreneurs face these challenges and provide mentorship, I Am Youth, Radio Pulpit, North-West University’s Faculty of Economic and Management Science, and its bhive Enterprise Development Centre partnered to host the annual ‘Pitch Your Business!’ Competition.

Mentorship is a game-changer

One crucial factor in overcoming entrepreneurial challenges is having a mentor. A mentor can show potential pitfalls, offer encouragement during self-doubt, and pose tough questions like, “Are you keeping up with your admin?” “Are you maintaining integrity in your bookkeeping?” and “Is this idea well-researched or just a trend?” A successful mentor who navigates the entrepreneurial path can recognize and nurture your potential.

Mentorship doesn’t always involve one-on-one interactions. Sometimes, it can be a program designed to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit, providing a space for aspiring entrepreneurs to explore their potential.

When choosing a mentor or mentorship program, look for the following qualities and values:

  • Experience
  • Healthy work ethic
  • Objectivity
  • A desire and ability to teach
  • Leadership skills
  • Willingness to learn, fostering trust and buy-in for all parties involved

In conclusion, youth entrepreneurship is vital for innovation and economic progress. While the journey may be challenging, with fewer individuals expressing intent to start new businesses, the support of a mentor can make a significant difference. Embracing guidance from experienced individuals and engaging in mentorship programs can provide the encouragement and practical advice needed to navigate the entrepreneurial landscape. With the right support and determination, young entrepreneurs can realise their dreams and contribute meaningfully to their communities and the broader economy.

Written by Kabelo Milton.

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and not I Am Youth.

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