Entrepreneurship is ‘solution to unemployment’ ISSA YUSSUF IN ZANZIBAR

Kigoda has vowed to continue waiting until he secures a job in any government institution and peruses newspapers every morning for advertised vacancies, but Malkia’s small business of baking and supplying bread has been growing.
Malkia is no longer interested in getting employed, “I started my business with a loan of 50,000/= (fifty Thousand shillings) only. My business of supplying bread has grown! I could not wait any longer for a job after staying idle for one year.
” The story of Kigoda and Malkia reflects the situation of thousands of youths, graduates from different higher learning institutions in the country, many waiting to be employed, while very few get self-employed.
In efforts to help graduates and other young people like Mr Kigoda not waste time for long wait to be employed, the government in collaboration with different stakeholders in economical empowerment organised ‘Youth Entrepreneurship Forum.’
Ministry of Labour, Empowerment, Elderly, Youth, Women and Children; Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Marketing; Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), Diamond Trust Bank (DTB), Tanzania Commission for Science & Technology (COSTECH); Milele Foundation; and Shell among others worked to make the first ever ‘Zanzibar Youth Entrepreneurship Forum (ZYEF)’ successful.
Through the forum held at the former House of Representatives, Kikwajuni, Stone Town, all main speakers including President Ali Mohamed Shein encouraged young people to get engaged in entrepreneurship instead of being idle, waiting for government vacancies which can never be sufficient.
Citing several wealthy people in the country and across the globe who started with a small business and grew up steadily, Dr Shein told youth that entrepreneurship is the best way in overcoming unemployment challenges.
Researchers and academicians explain Entrepreneurship as the willingness to take risks and develop, organise and manage a business venture in a competitive global marketplace that is constantly evolving, and that it is commitment to be creative and innovative and turn an idea into a profitable business.
“The government remains committed to support you. Come up with workable idea, get loan and start a business. Never allow idleness,” Dr Shein said as he challenged the youths to be innovative and creative.
He said many youths thinking about starting their own business are setting their mind on the correct direction, but should understand that successful entrepreneurship involves much more than having a great idea, “you must be tolerant and never lose hope.”
Dr Shein said experts explain further that entrepreneurship is the capacity and willingness to develop, organise and manage a business venture along with any of its risks in order to make a profit. The president encouraged youth about starting new businesses as an example of entrepreneurship, and that it is about innovation and risktaking, and is an essential part of a nation’s ability to succeed in an ever changing and increasingly competitive global marketplace.
Ms Dawn Hoyle, Country Director, VSO said in her brief remark at the forum that entrepreneurship is about innovating, breaking down barriers, taking risks and showing that new business models can tackle longstanding problems.
She said that the entrepreneurship forum was to help youth on their entrepreneurship journey, as she argued that many large companies started in someone’s kitchen or backyard. “A number of those companies are now major corporations giving back to communities.
Individuals are also making important contributions. Collectively, these entrepreneurs are helping to advance the Millennium Development Goals,” Ms Hoyle said. She said that the World is in the middle of a global crisis over unemployment that demands a bold response to find jobs for some 73 million young people unemployed this year, and that estimated 425 million young women and men will join the labour force between 2016 and 2030, which means the world will need about half a billion jobs by then.
Ms Hoyle said “To help meet this challenge, we all need to play our roles to encourage, educate and empower young entrepreneurs. We need to make a shift from talking about creating jobs for youth to talking about youth inventing jobs for youth.” She commended the organisers of the forum describing it as vitally important because entrepreneurship is part of the solution transforming unemployed young people into major employers. “There are many examples, but let me tell you about Lorna Rutto, a young woman from the Rift Valley in Kenya.
It is a beautiful region, but like many people there, Lorna grew up in a slum. One of the biggest problems was the sewage and waste. There was no rubbish collection so it just accumulated,” Ms Hoyle narrated, she continues.
“Before she was even a teenager, Lorna saw an opportunity. She melted the plastic into little ornaments that she could sell. In her twenties, Lorna started a recycling programme. With support, she shaped a business plan.
By the time she was 24, she had created 500 jobs. She also eliminated over 1 million kilos of waste from the environment.” Lorna is very impressive, the VSO director said but she is not alone,
“There are many of you here today with fresh ideas who can unleash change. Do waste your potential, as Lorna said, we can see potential job opportunities anywhere, even in waste.” The Principal Secretary (PS) Ministry of labour, Empowerment, Elderly, Youth, Women, and Children Ms Fatma Gharib Bilali said her office in collaboration with other partners were prompted to organise the forum after seeing increasing number of graduates from colleges, staying idle.
“We Youth Entrepreneurship forum are to help them change, use the knowledge and skills they acquired from learning institutions to create jobs, instead of long wait for employment from the government,” Ms Bilali said.
She said through ‘business incubator’ about 700 youth (86 percent women) have been trained to start different types of business, and that already some of them started and it is growing steadily.
The two Ministers: Ambassador Ms Amina salum Ali (Industries and Marketing), and Ms Maudline Cyrus Castico (empowerment and gender), on separate occasions promised to continue working hard to ensure no youth is left behind in entrepreneurship.
“Just come up with an idea individually or in a group, share with experts to help you improve it. All youth are capable of being good entrepreneurs for the development of our country,” Ms Castico said as Ms Ali thanked about 200 entrepreneurs who turned up for the forum, some taking part in entrepreneurship exhibition.
Some of the topics presented at the forum (mainly through panel discussion), include ‘What has the government been doing to support entrepreneurs and what do they need to do more to spark entrepreneurship among Youth/Women in Zanzibar?’ ‘Mindset change & business opportunities,’ ‘Revenue model & viable financial business,’ ‘the bottlenecks of small businesses,’ ‘empowering Women and Vulnerable groups: fostering entrepreneurship,’ ‘Financing and funding opportunities,’ and ‘How to build trust and customer relations,’ were the other topics.
Other interesting topics presented at the forum were ‘expanding local business through exporting,’ ‘Intellectual Property,’ ‘Agribusiness, value addition and quality standards,’ and ‘Innovation and ICT in business.’
Ms Salha Omar, and Mr Ali Kassim, among the youths who participated in the forum, said, “It was a good training as we learned many things helpful to future life to economically become entrepreneurs.
”The youth said most of them were impressed and encouraged to start small business appealing to the government through the Ministry of empowerment to continue providing loans so that it becomes easy for them to move ahead. “But skills and capacity building are important for quality products along with reliable market,” Ms Omar observed.