Global Entrepreneurship Week starts

Today is Day 1 of the Global Entrepreneurship Week where countries all around the world are joining together to inspire, connect, inform, mentor and engage the next generation of entrepreneurs.

With the financial crises causing massive job cuts, one may wonder why all this hype about the youth? Why don’t we focus on assisting the unemployed or even women entrepreneurs?

The reason is simply because youth entrepreneurs face peculiar challenges that doom their businesses to failure even before they get off the ground.

The major challenge youth entrepreneurs face is the lack of business skills. Many youth owned ventures fail not so much because the entrepreneur is not so good at running their business; it is more of not starting and growing the business properly. Youth enterprise is mainly organic: idea to implementation without much planning in between.

Young business people require specific and practical information related to organisation, business plan development, and budgeting amongst other crucial requirements for enterprise sustainability.

Marketing is also another factor that keeps youth business small. There is a need for these entrepreneurs to access readily available information on how to implement the most effective marketing strategies. Specific information required includes making marketing contacts work, branding, developing marketing strategies, positioning of the enterprise and products and e-marketing.

An atypical characteristic of youth enterprise is that access to credit is not as important to their survival as it is for say women or retirement age entrepreneurs. Apart from the youth fund, which in itself only lends to groups, youth entrepreneurs hardly have any other formal credit options. This in turn has led to their hesitancy or disinterest in applying for loans to either startup or expand their enterprises. Furthermore, commercial banks which treat young business people as “fly by night” and thus not serious have also contributed to this apathy in seeking formal finance.

As we all know there is power in numbers. However, the youth have a hard time in joining networks that enable them to learn from each other as well as form strategic partnerships.

So how does Yipe fit into this?

The Youth Interactive Portal for Enterprise (Yipe.org) envisions increased levels of entrepreneurship amongst African youth. Yipe will play its role in achieving this challenge by:

  • Encouraging would-be youth entrepreneurs to start their own enterprises by bringing business opportunities to their attention;
  • Increasing the awareness of business financing opportunities amongst youth entrepreneurs;
  • Providing business support services to assist entrepreneurs in writing business plans and complying with the various government and tax regulations;
  • Initiating entrepreneurship educational programs to equip more youth with the skills to become entrepreneurs;
  • Advocating for reforming market regulations to facilitate market entry for example by reducing the numbers of licenses required and punitive taxes; and
  • Increasing entrepreneurial opportunities available to the youth by working towards eliminating discriminatory policies and stereotypes targeting youth entrepreneurs.

Yipe.org salutes this global effort to unleash enterprise amongst the world’s youth.

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About yipe
Yipe an acronym for the Youth Interactive Portal for Enterprise is an organization that assists entrepreneurs to start up and manage their small businesses.

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