At VC4Africa we believe entrepreneurship is the single most powerful agent for progress, whether that be economic, social or environmental. Entrepreneurs are the small % of our societies that harness big ideas that have to potential to change the world. Even better, these individuals are crazy enough to do something with those ideas and have the determination to see them work in practice. So when Global Entrepreneurship Week comes around we see this as a unique opportunity to champion this point and celebrate the members of the VC4Africa community!
But VC4Africa is only a small part in a much larger movement to see more entrepreneurship on the continent. Good thing we are not alone in our fight to garner more support for entrepreneurs and it’s encouraging to see African governments stepping forward to pick up the fight. Girma Wolde-Giorgis, the president of Ethiopia, is one of these individuals who has been eager to engage Ethiopia in this way. In a public letter he explains, ‘I would like to express my profound pleasure that Ethiopia is participating for the first time in the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) celebrations. Ethiopians are an enterprising and hard working people who should naturally take an active part in such a global entrepreneurial event. Having been an entrepreneur myself for most of my life, I fully appreciate the independence and self-fulfillment one can gain from entrepreneurship. Not only can it be a vehicle for self-employment and financial independence, entrepreneurship can also enable one to create jobs for others and contribute to the country’s economic growth and transformation.’
Explaining why African countries should focus more on promoting local entrepreneurship he expands, ‘It is particularly important that developing countries like Ethiopia educate their youth in the benefits of entrepreneurship, encourage the development of an entrepreneurial mindset so that young people will think about being innovative and generate viable business ideas. Entrepreneurship should be seen by the new generation as an alternative to job hunting or to unemployment. The responsibility for creating employment should not rest just on government and corporations. Young people should start thinking early about what they can innovate and create their own employment and empower themselves economically. Developing an entrepreneurial mindset among the youth is an essential tool in the fight against poverty.’ Clearly the president sees a future for Ethiopia’s youth and increasingly we see the flag of entrepreneurship spreading.
Why Become an Entrepreneur?
What leads a person to strike out on his own and start a new business? Maybe it is because they graduated and could not find a job. Maybe it is because a previous employer changed strategy and no longer required the same skill sets. Sometimes a person is just plain frustrated with his or her current job and doesn’t see better alternatives in the marketplace. Maybe it is just no fun working for a boss, dealing with the corporate structure and being passed up for promotions. And maybe, just maybe, it is because there is a great opportunity everyone seems to be missing. There is a need nobody has been able to solve and now its time to work on a solution that could potentially change the world. If there isn’t an organization doing it right, then maybe its time to start out on your own and lead the way!
What are some of the benefits of being an entrepreneur?
• Entrepreneurs make the decisions and at the end of the day they are their own boss. They choose how to do business and the partners they want to work with. They decide what time is for work and what time is for play.
• Successful entrepreneurs are able to provide for themselves and their families financially. Sometimes earning more (or even a lot more) than the people working in companies.
• You have to get your hands into all parts of the business. You need to be involved from the initial idea to its final execution. It’s the integration across the organization from concept to design, build, marketing, sales, operations and customer care that makes the difference.
• It offers a certain prestige or status as being someone responsible, who has a vision, passion and dedication for an idea.
• The entrepreneur has the opportunity to build equity, which can be kept, sold, or passed on to a younger generation. It can be used to grow the business or to connect with new partners.
• Entrepreneurship creates an opportunity for a person to make a contribution on a local, regional or international level. Most times, a new idea makes a small improvement onto an existing model. But sometimes that small improvement is relevant to more people than the entrepreneur realized and before they know it they are working on the future of a multinational organization servicing clients around the globe.
Any of these reasons help justify the risk inherent to entrepreneurship. Let’s face it. Starting a new company and building it into a successful enterprise is one of the hardest things to do. The chance of failure is great. At the same time, it is the people who have the vision, passion and unwavering dedication that have the ability to do great things. These are the individuals who shape the world we live in and design the way it works today and for tomorrow.
Great entrepreneurship is about solving the world’s most difficult problems. It’s actually about dedicating your life to a greater purpose and its the belief in ideas that see people working 80 hour weeks without complaining. It is the power of ideas that mobilize a team who are willing to work under extreme conditions for small pay. Because in the end, ideas live longer than people and that is possibly the entrepreneur’s greatest contribution.
Join VC4Africa in celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week
During one week each November, thousands of activities around the world inspire millions to engage in entrepreneurial action while connecting them to potential mentors, collaborators, and investors. In three short years, Global Entrepreneurship Week has expanded to more than 100 countries—empowering nearly 20 million people through 95,000 activities. Powered by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the initiative is supported by dozens of world leaders and a growing network of 24,000 partner organizations. For more information, visit Unleashing Ideas, and follow @unleashingideas on Twitter.
Start Date: November 14, 2011
End Date: November 20, 2011
If you are an entrepreneur working on a promising business in Africa, than join VC4Africa and let’s show the world!