Young people are being challenged to venture into entrepreneurship instead of waiting for employment.
With the high rate of youth unemployment in Kenya, renowned Kenyan entrepreneurs believe that entrepreneurship is the only way for the age group.
Joanne Mwangi, the CEO of Professional Marketing Services Group (PMS GROUP), says entrepreneurship is the future for Kenya.
Speaking during the “Think Young” Entrepreneurship School at Strathmore University, Mrs Mwangi said that a time has come for young people to think beyond the office, and become self-employed, or stay jobless forever.
“The government is doing its part, but young people no longer have the luxury of waiting on the government to create jobs for them. They need to play a more proactive role and look for other alternatives,” she said.
Her sentiments were echoed by Kenyan business tycoon Dr Manu Chandaria, who said that Kenya’s youth can do anything they put their minds to.
He said with their creativity, they have the ability to become successful entrepreneurs.
“Everything is possible, young people can create jobs for themselves. This however requires a lot of sacrifice, hard work and a burning passion,” he said.
“If you don’t have a self-drive, then that’s the end for you.”
Dr Chandaria also advised the youth to take failure as a stepping stone to the next level.
“Many people want to quit when they fail, but this should not be so. Failure is the first stage for getting to the next level,” he said.
Mrs Mwangi on the other hand said young people should not be in a hurry to succeed.
She said entrepreneurship requires a lot of patience and hard work.
“Young entrepreneurs seem to be in a hurry to make money quickly. They should not be, and their focus should not be on the money, but on giving superior service to their customers,” she said.
“That’s the way their businesses will succeed.”
Kenya’s unemployment rate currently stands at 40 per cent. 70 per cent of those unemployed in the country are between the ages of 15 and 35.
Dr Chandaria and Mrs Mwangi however said Kenyan youth have the ability to turn this around with their creativity.
Last year, Forbes Magazine named 8 Kenyans in the list of the 30 most promising young entrepreneurs in Africa, showing that Kenyan youth are not only talented, but are full of energy and have creative ideas that can work to their advantage.
The ongoing Think Young Entrepreneurship School is the first African edition of a global boot camp for youth entrepreneurs from across the world. Kenya is the first African city to host the entrepreneurship school.
Kenya was chosen to be this year’s host because of Nairobi’s bold profile as a global innovation and entrepreneurship hub.
Since the first Entrepreneurship School in Brussels back in 2011 with 27 participants, the initiative has expanded to now have events around the globe, with schools in Spain, Greece and Hong Kong, spreading important knowledge, experiences and inspiration for entrepreneurship around the world.
By Ian Obare