It’s 2016 and youth across the globe are all about digital but, alas, the African continent is still predominantly using analog communication. Youth unemployment is depressingly high and the ailing economy and lingering debts are not doing much to help the morale. But let’s not focus on that now, okay? I’m sure there are other places on the net you could go to for that. I want to discuss how we can use digital platforms, the internet in particular, to get our continent on the road to greener pastures.
African youth using internet to carve business enterprises
Africa’s youth have more and more access to the internet and are becoming greater contributors to the digital revolution. So let’s instead look into ways that a young person in Africa can carve out a nice piece of future for themselves and maybe even others.
Outside of the “study hard , work hard, get lucky” and “who you know vs what you know” blah blah blah, a very good way of ensuring that you find and retain employment is by starting your own business. Yes, starting a business can be a frightening thought and some people might not even know where to start.
My advice is to start simple – With something you can wrap your head around.
Let’s do a little case study. Here’s a girl (hypothetical of course), her name is Lebo. Lebo has a degree in multimedia but has had no luck finding work at the company that she dreamt of working in since she was a first-year student. She then decides to take a leap of faith and plunges herself into the world of the self-employed.
But where does she start? Does she compile a business plan and go looking for funding?
No, The Biggest problem with that, in my opinion, is that she will be going from one presentation to the next, coming out a few years older. Her first move should be to establish a brand and a market for that brand. The internet is good for that. With platforms like Behance, she can start exhibiting her work and marketing her brand. A good website portfolio goes a very, long way. You can basically get all-inclusive packages for getting your website online from companies such as Afrihost and Web Africa.
So now that the business is up and running, what does she do?
She makes sure that the success of her business is sustainable. This means that clients have to be happy so that they come back for more. Project management becomes a key skill here. Tools such as Trello are very good at helping set project goals and also managing collaborations.
With all that money coming her way, Lebo should start looking at ways to manage her finances and ensure that financial management does not become the bane of her enterprise. A good and free online tool for managing your monies is Mint.
Lebo’s business is now successful and employs a number of people with varying skills. With patience and the right strategy, you too can be like Lebo. The internet is a major game changer for many industries and for us as the African youth, the task is to champion our continent into the digital world and beyond. The internet also offers African youth an opportunity to strengthen our various economies in the process.
What else do you think Africa’s youth can do to build enterprises? Share your thoughts with US.
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