Written by Palesa Bogoshi
Africa being a continent filled with developing countries, it is refreshing to have a buzz about entrepreneurship leading the innovation taking place in several communities. This is the most vital element contributing to the development of our economies, however, is entrepreneurship increasing at the demanded rate? Being a country in need of consistent development in all aspects and sectors makes entrepreneurship vital for stimulating growth.
Entrepreneurship has been encouraged since the 1970s, with traces from Professor David Birch of MIT’s report “The Job Generation Process” published in 1979 stating that most of the jobs created were produced by smaller businesses. Various methods have been used over the years to stimulate entrepreneurial growth in order to increase jobs to sustain economies like ours such as conferences, funding and mentorship. The latest model, being entrepreneurial centres, hubs or incubators has certainly been the talk on everyone’s lips as efficient progress has been evident from such approaches to encourage entrepreneurship.
Since the Global Entrepreneurship Week is upon us, we take a look at the driving forces which enabled the establishment of such a movement.
Global Entrepreneurship Week, commonly known as GEW emerged in 2008 as a result of Enterprise Week UK and Entrepreneurship Week USA 2007, with the mission to increase entrepreneurs amongst the youth in several continents, encourage the establishment of collaborative ecosystems, born global founders and communities and also achieve an increased understanding of this field. This international initiative, along with many entrepreneurial hubs, has since been fostering the growth of entrepreneurial ecosystems. Entrepreneurial ecosystems are usually established with the intent to grow existing industries and build on their foundation, capabilities and skills. One of the best known centres of such entrepreneurial activity has been Innovation Hub in Pretoria, South Africa.
Although there are other places where innovation and entrepreneurship are being stimulated, Innovation Hub focuses on promoting socio-economic development and competitiveness in the targeted sectors of ICT, green economy and advanced manufacturing. These sectors being the most relevant in this specific community, The Innovation Hub (TIH) is encouraging entrepreneurship to increase expansion in the listed sectors.
This model assists in solving the issue of excluding large swatches of the population from positively impacting the economic growth of their communities. Start-ups are accommodated, mentorship is easily available and the right resources are accessible. Entrepreneurship is then encouraged, supported, understood and celebrated, contributing to the GEW’s overall goal. The most vital of solutions for developing our economy is enabling people to innovate from a young age. Innovation should be encouraged from school level and in universities.
Organisations like TIH close the gap between the youth who are still being taught how to innovate and entrepreneurs. As a result, their targeted sectors should have improved standards, higher qualified employees and many more benefits.
The benefits of entrepreneurship could be endless and entrepreneurs are national assets to be cultivated, remunerated and motivated. Their innovations constantly improve and change our standard of living, creating jobs and cultivating prosperous communities. The new business ventures created by entrepreneurs produce a virtuous cycle in the economy, for example, the new and improved offerings brought by entrepreneurs (like “technopreneurs”) enable new markets.
The jobs created by such unique businesses with new technologies and products require education and training institutions to nurture the new class of workers in that specified sector. This results in better, high paying jobs. Entrepreneurs contribute to the national income with the wealth generated in new businesses, which could go towards investing in more entrepreneurial ecosystems to vigorously promote entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs also create positive social changes and assist in developing communities.
The bottom line is that entrepreneurship is highly needed and we need to keep establishing methods to assist the growth. With balanced approaches to cultivating and maintaining entrepreneurship, there are definite positive impacts on the economy and societies. So let us welcome Global Entrepreneurship Week with open arms and celebrate our existing entrepreneurs as we welcome the new ones and inspire the ones of tomorrow.