The Rise of the Entrepreneur

 In News

Man on top

The term entrepreneur has never been so sexy. Professions such as medicine and law now seem rather prosaic when compared with the adrenaline pumping rush of being an entrepreneur. Of course this is an exaggeration; plenty of what an entrepreneur undertakes on a daily basis is decidedly humdrum. Yet the mystique remains, they are seen as modern employment shamans magicing up jobs as they go.The hard work that goes into creating the jobs a footnote to the perception crafted by The Apprentice’s image consultants of demi-gods who deign to walk among us.

While they fall a little short of being demi-gods, they do deserve to be celebrated and Global Entrepreneurship Week gives us a perfect opportunity to do just that. At a time when we are growing weary of reading grey lifeless statistics charting the ever downward spiral of youth unemployment, their success stories add a splash of colour and suggest that – yes – there is some light at the end of this darkest of tunnels.

The most amazing thing about the entrepreneur phenomenon is that it has built up around ordinary people. Entrepreneurship is not the sole preserve of a hidden elite, entrepreneurs are your friends, family members and neighbours . While it is true to say that not everyone is destined to become an entrepreneur, more and more young people are exploring it as a viable option. What is more, now more than ever there is an infrastructure in place to support young entrepreneurs bring their products to the marketplace.

Startup Loans, training programmes, mentoring – you name it, it exists – there are even investment angels. Service providers are rushing to what is already a crowded marketplace and are keen to support youth in taking the first step up the entrepreneurial ladder. Yet while there is something of a headlong rush to provide services, there has been actually precious little research conducted on what actually works. This realisation sounded alarm bells in the minds of Youth Business International, Restless Development and War Child, who collectively decided that the time was nigh to do something about this shortcoming.

The fruit of their collective labour is a document entitled “Maximising the impact of youth entrepreneurship support in different contexts” , which was compiled with the help of the ODI.

Catchy it may not be, but highly significant it most certainly is. The report highlights three key components of entrepreneurial programme design. The first urges that the working environment and such constituent factors as conflict level, economy, degree of urbanisation, cultural perceptions of entrepreneurship and levels of gender equality be considered. The second highlights the importance of taking who you work with and their motivation, stage of entrepreneurial development, ethnicity, age and gender into account. While the third component argues that organisational capacity need also be considered in drawing up programme designs.

By following the model championed by the report the future design of entrepreneurship interventions can only improve and with that the next generation of entrepreneurs can enter the marketplace better equipped than ever. During Global Entrepreneurship Week this is something that we really should celebrate.

 “Maximising the impact of youth entrepreneurship support in different contexts”  is available here
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