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Why entrepreneurship is the way out for the youth
By Boniface Sagini | Updated Jan 28, 2020 at 12:33 EAT
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Jobless youth in Kenya (Photo/Courtesy)
SUMMARY

The demand for jobs is pretty high. The supply is low. The young workforce is simply too big for the public and private sectors to absorb. 

Graduates are getting to the job market faster than job opportunities are created for them. So we have to do something.

There are essentially no government jobs anymore. The government is officially not hiring. CS for Public Service, Margaret Kobia said that herself. It was precedented with the high, unsustainable wage bill.

The CS suggested that some of us should start businesses and create employment. Some people castigated her because she has been an employee all her life, allegedly.

Despite the misdeeds of the government, I concur with her.

 I'm a member of the Mastercard Foundation /Restless Development's African Youth Think Tank (YTT). At YTT, youth unemployment is one of the big things we are into.

The demand for jobs is pretty high. The supply is low. The young workforce is simply too big for the public and private sectors to absorb. My projection is, it gets worse.

Graduates are getting to the job market faster than job opportunities are created for them. So we have to do something.

Competition for jobs is ridiculously high. I mean, even a volunteer job requires some insane credentials, some final year students never get a place for industrial attachment.

Consequently, someone has to create more jobs. That's why policymakers are now concentrating on entrepreneurship. There's simply no other way out of this menace. Entrepreneurship means more jobs, more taxes to the government, growth to the economy.

Entrepreneurship solves yet more problems

A lot of young people want to be their own boss. They want to retire early. They want flexibility and autonomy. Entrepreneurship and not formal employment can afford them that.

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You can also contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals SDGs solving challenges in your community using a business model. It is called social entrepreneurship.

The argument used against entrepreneurship

Some people are saying Kenya is not favourable for doing business, discouraging young people from pursuing it.

I contend with the fact that our country needs to take measures to encourage entrepreneurship.

But I think using 'bad business environment' argument against pursuing entrepreneurship is being pessimistic.

In fact, the Kenyan business environment has never been 'good'-good being a subjective word- but businesses have always been started and grown.

 I personally think there is no better time to set shop as a YOUNG person in this country than NOW.

I mean, there's mobile money. There's Google My Business. There's KCB Lion's den.

There are accelerators coming up. There are NGOs giving free business skills training. There's the Mbele na Biz competition happening right now, billions of money being invested in young businesses.

Corporates and governments are partnering to support MSMEs (even at the idea stage) because of the scourge of unemployment.

Policies are being drafted to advantage young business owners.

Young people are being given structural advantages to do business.

Try entrepreneurship!

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