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“It is in your hands to make the world a better place.” Challenge: Less than one out of every ten. This is the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor’s finding on the prevalence of entrepreneurs amongst South Africans. Comparatively, our country has one of the lowest entrepreneurial rates in the world. “So what?” you may ask. Well, the absence of a culture of entrepreneurship has some serious implications. More than 90% of South African youth (16 to 25 year olds) are waiting for government or for someone else to do something for them to be employed. Less than 10% are engaging in self-initiated income generation activities to take care of themselves. The result is that fewer than one out of every two young people are employed and therefore active economic citizens of our country. Given that “youth” represents a very large proportion of the South African population, you are talking of hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of young people. Is this a ticking time bomb?! So, being typically not-entrepreneurial about this challenge - we blame! Instead of us accepting responsibility (entrepreneurial) we cannot stop talking about the inefficiencies of the state! We look at these young people and shake our heads for their lack of ambition. The real question is this: did I ever talk to my children or to another young person about the option to create a job for her or himself?! Did I ever do something with a young person that enabled her or him to experience the magic of self-generated income through something other than being employed by me or by someone else?! If we are honest, more than 90% of us will reply “no” to both questions. You see, very few of us adults are entrepreneurial either! Over the years we “mystified” the word “entrepreneur.” True, it is not that simple! The word “entrepreneur” will be defined with different emphasis depending on the context. When you talk “entrepreneur” within a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) class, you will look at different aspects as apposed to when you talk to 16 year olds. You see, a lot had been achieved if your engagement with a young person leads simply for the boy or girl to state “I’ll consider entrepreneurship as a career choice.” Just that! We’ll talk more about this during a later conversation. So, let us explore what we mean by “entrepreneur.” Jeffrey Timmons, a pioneer in this field defined entrepreneur within a youth context as follows: An entrepreneur is someone who: * is able to create and build a business or organisation from practically nothing; * make things happen for him or herself by accepting responsibility; * turns a set-back into an opportunity;

* sees a gap; * senses an opportunity; * maintains effort until objective had been achieved; * builds a founding team of talents and expertise around him or her to complement his or her abilities in areas where he or she is less knowledgeable or skilled; * initiates and does; * has the know-how to find, marshal and controls resources (often owned by others) and to make sure he or she never runs out of money when most needed; * takes calculated risks, both personal and financial - to then do everything he or she possibly can to turn the odds in his or her favour. Imagine if this description could fit our youth in general? It is up to us to make a difference to the life of young people, one at a time.
This article is not copy protected and could be used freely in the interest of a culture of entrepreneurship amongst young people - will appreciate reference to EWET?

Contributed by Arie Bouwer, Product; Fund & Development Planning Manager; EWET – Education With Enterprise Trust (Nonprofit), 49c Stuart Street, PO Box 150, Harrismith, Free State, South Africa.