Nurturing Africa’s “green” youth entrepreneurs

Nowadays, the media is full of stories on green fuels, ranging from jatropha, coffee husks as well as peanut casings, amongst other innovative sources. There is even a sub-set of the social entrepreneur class, the so-called “green entrepreneur” who in turn consist of “renewable energy entrepreneurs”.

Biodiesels such as jatropha have the potential to create upto 300 direct and indirect jobs from every 1,000 hectares cultivated. The crop grows well even in arid areas, making it an ideal agricultural based enterprise. Even apart from its use as a fuel, jatropha is ideal for other consumer items such as soaps and insect repellents. However, such an enterprise is beyond the reach of young entrepreneurs. Not only do they lack access to land, but more importantly, they are often unaware of information on new trends in green enterprise.

Agri-based enterprise is now big business. African governments are even leasing land to Middle and far Eastern countries. Even large corporations such as Daewoo have leased large tracts of land. Indeed environmental conservation and climate change management have become common. Our larger companies have even found an alternative source of income through carbon credits trading.

Unfortunately youth entrepreneurs have not taken advantage of such opportunities.

To address this gap, the Yipe.org Entrepreneurship Portal regularly posts information for our “green” youth entrepreneurs. Currently, there are two opportunities that young entrepreneurs interested in making a change to our environment can take advantage of:
• The World Bank’s International Essay Competition invites the youth to share ideas on the impact of climate change on their lives and how to tackle climate change through youth-led solutions.
• The Financial Times Climate Change Challenge sponsored by Hewlett-Packard and Forum for the Future aims at highlighting businesses with ground-breaking approaches for tackling the threat of climate change.

As the business leaders of tomorrow, it remains imperative that the youth are made aware of such opportunities. At Yipe.org we shall continue to keep them “in the know”.

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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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