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Why should more parents care about entrepreneurship?

After noticing his love for farming while he was in primary school, Martin’s Sure Ondiwa‘s mother was instrumental in channeling his entrepreneurial endeavors. She gave him a small piece of land and he used it to plant maize and made a profit. After noticing that he could be successful, he grew green grams and groundnuts and was able to buy his first cow.

Achieving all these milestones at such a young age, taught him that young people need the courage to execute anything in life and that it is never too early to start. He merged his love for entrepreneurship and agriculture and 15 years later, he is the founder of Greenfarms and an Anzisha Fellow (2021).
Pictured: Martin’s parents in Kenya

The concept of entrepreneurship conjures up a variety of images for different people. Some see entrepreneurship as a means to an end in a difficult economy where it is often challenging to find a job. As parents, you obviously – understandably – do not want to expose your child to those struggles.

Naturally, parents want the best for their children, and unfamiliar ways of attaining that outcome will naturally create concerns for them.

Given our focus on youth aged below 25, the Anzisha Prize tends towards a broader definition of entrepreneurship to recognize different socioeconomic landscapes and the unique challenges young people face. For us, entrepreneurship includes economic activities –innovative or not –that have potential to generate revenue, grow, and, importantly, create jobs for others.

So, what does this have to do with you and your child?

Here are three reasons why you, as an African parent, should care about entrepreneurship:

  • Unemployment rates continue to rise around the world.
    There are three times as many young people being unemployed as adults. In Africa, specifically, the youth unemployment rate in 2023 averages around 12 percent. With its rapidly-growing youth population, jobs are not being created quickly enough to absorb new entrants into the formal labour market.
  • Career pathways are not linear anymore.
    There exists an opportunity crisis, where even university graduates, who are presumably skilled for employment, struggle to land jobs right after completing their studies.
  • An estimated 65% of children entering primary school today will likely work in roles that do not yet exist.

These figures paint a stark reality –a potentially dismal future –that we cannot ignore away. This reality compels us all to think creatively and proactively about how we can enable the youth in our lives to secure their future.

“Education is now about developing the right skills and attitudes,” says Vincent Tago, Senior Master at African Leadership Academy and father of two sons, “so that learning is not just about acquiring knowledge but also about cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset to become successful.”

How can you cultivate a young, entrepreneurial mindset, you ask?

Here are a few key ingredients to get you started:

  • Visible and accessible role models: show your child the characteristics, skills, and behaviours
  • Growth mindset: stay curious and view mistakes and failures as learning opportunities
  • Transparency: be brave and humble, as you model risk-taking and a willingness to fail forward

It’s becoming more and more obvious that if you have children today, regardless of age, it is critical to model entrepreneurship skills daily. 

By providing role models – like the Anzisha Fellows – you also introduce your child to the “rules” of the e-ship game. They get to see that, while transitions into entrepreneurship come in many different forms, certain habits, skills, and mindsets lay a solid foundation for the journey.

Interested in learning more about how to have coaching conversations with your child?

Lynn Brown
Lynn Brown
Lynn is a content marketer that focuses on brand storytelling through digital platforms. Skilled in a background of web development, search engine optimization and content production, Lynn is excited to utilize over 10 years’ experience in digital marketing to help grow the ecosystems that support Africa’s very young entrepreneurs to ensure their success.

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