24 January 2012

Gambia: Training Youth On Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is the act of being an entrepreneur, which can be defined as "one who undertakes innovations, finance and business acumen in an effort to transform innovations into economic goods". This may result in new organizations or may be part of revitalizing mature organizations in response to a perceived opportunity.

The most obvious form of entrepreneurship is that of starting new businesses (referred as startup Company). However, in recent years, the term has been extended to include social and political forms of entrepreneurial activity. When entrepreneurship is describing activities within a firm or large organization it is referred to as intra-preneurship and may include corporate venturing, when large entities spin-off organizations.

According to Paul Reynolds, an entrepreneurship scholar and creator of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, "by the time they reach their retirement years, half of all working men in the United States probably have a period of self-employment of one or more years; one in four may have engaged in self-employment for six or more years.

Participating in a new business creation is a common activity among U.S. workers over the course of their careers." And in recent years has been documented by scholars such as David Audretsch to be a major driver of economic growth in both the United States and Western Europe. "As well, entrepreneurship may be defined as the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled (Stevenson, 1983).

Entrepreneurship and its related trainings has become very common in The Gambia with young people now engaging more in the business sector. This will reduce the burden of unemployment on the side of our government and equally reduce the dependency rate, which has been leading to poverty and economic failure in family lines, according findings.

Many rising youth organizations in the country that has a born concept in mind that "youth is the change" in any country are standing up to defend the future of their fellows towards a line that leads to a successful future. One of them is Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) Africa. Supported by the Dutch people through an organization based in the Netherlands, YEP works to reduce unemployment among talented young people in Africa.

Entrepreneurial activities are substantially different depending on the type of organization and creativity involved. The organization has over the years trained some 53 young people on entrepreneurship. These youth were tasked by their trainers to effect change and redirect the focus of other young people and since they graduated, this was the message they spread among their peers.

In addition, the organization organized a five days training for eleven new members on entrepreneurship. At the end of the training which was held at the Kairoh Garden in Tanji, the new members show an overwhelming enthusiasm with the information they received and this has inspired them to sacrifice their times for themselves, their families and for others who are not privileged to attend the training.

Entrepreneurship ranges in scale from solo projects (even involving the entrepreneur only part-time) to major undertakings creating many job opportunities. Many "high value" entrepreneurial ventures seek venture capital or angel funding (seed money) in order to raise capital to build the business. Angel investors generally seek annualized returns of 20-30% and more, as well as extensive involvement in the business.

"If many young people make a little change, it would be surprising to see how many others youth will change," Paul Engelsman, a co-founder of YEP told the grandaunts on Friday. Many kinds of organizations now exist to support would-be entrepreneurs including specialized government agencies, business incubators, science parks, and some NGOs.

One statement that Paul made at the gathering that sounds so touching to me and other attendees at the graduation is that we must always remember that it is a robe to the future of the youths if they are told that without education, they are working towards a bleak future. We must not make people to live by only giving, but we must understand that helping people is not a business and we must endeavor to help people for them to also help.

The chairperson of YEP Dembo Kuyateh, while welcoming the new members into what he referred to as the "YEP family" encouraged them to work hard and also effect changes in the organization. In more recent times, the term entrepreneurship has been extended to include elements not related necessarily to business formation activity such as conceptualizations of entrepreneurship as a specific mindset (entrepreneurial mindset) resulting in entrepreneurial initiatives, example in the form of social entrepreneurship, political entrepreneurship, or knowledge entrepreneurship have emerged.

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