Did you know that Steve Jobs left university and founded Apple in his twenties? Or that Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook while he was an undergraduate at Harvard?
Honing your entrepreneurial skills as a young student
Most young people spend their time worrying about exams or getting the latest gadget, they seldom think about starting a business. There are several reasons why developing your entrepreneurial skills while you’re still in school makes sense: you have the time and a wealth of resources and advice is available to help you on your way.
Becoming an entrepreneur whilst still being a young student helps you to get valuable experience and create ideas and opportunities for yourself and, possibly, the broader community. Let’s explore a great way that young people can develop entrepreneurial skills.
Enrolling into entrepreneurship programmes
Taking part in a formal programme can be a lot of fun for young entrepreneurs, and they can benefit in many ways. Learning how academic skills connect to real business opportunities can motivate youngsters, while entrepreneurship programmes also help to develop creative ideas in a constructive and supportive way.
Here are some of the specific benefits:
- Problem solving: when you own a business, problem solving forms part of your daily life. Every aspect of your business can have its issues whether it’s your customers, employees, equipment or suppliers. Running a business helps young entrepreneurs to face problems head-on and develop resilience in the face of adversity.
- Learning from mistakes: the truth is that young people are generally more impulsive than adults because they haven’t experienced the consequences of making bad choices. Making mistakes encourages us to develop tenacity and develop innovative solutions. This skill is important when running a business.
- Growing wealth: teaching young people the value of money is extremely valuable, from saving money, to the practicalities of using money to make money. While financial success is by no means the only measure of success, it’s clear that you will need an understanding of money in order to get along in the world.
- The art of selling: learning how to sell encourages young people to source and maintain customers. Whether it’s from a stand, online, or door-to-door sales, the ability to sell is an entrepreneurial skill that is crucial for keeping business doors open.
- Building relationships with people: whether it’s with business partners, customers, or employees, relationships are an integral part of any successful business. Interacting with people in an entrepreneurship programme will teach young people how to work with people and build relationships. Networking is an important entrepreneurial skill and in order to enhance it, one has to master the confidence to speak and interact confidently with others.
The earlier entrepreneurship education is introduced, the better and more lasting the influence. Funding opportunities for young African entrepreneurs are now more accessible. The Anzisha Prize offered by African Leadership Academy is open to young African entrepreneurs aged between 15 and 22. An applicant of the prize must be a founder of a business that’s already up and running. The venture can be a business enterprise, an invention, or a social project in any field or industry including science and technology, civil society, arts and culture, sports, etc.
Businesses will be judged on impact, growth, and job creation. Applicants should show leadership and commitment. The fellowship includes learning the methods of a world-renowned Entrepreneurial Leadership curriculum, training, consultation and mentorship services.
Applications are open – if you are a young entrepreneur, you are encouraged to apply.