3,200 Ghanaian Youths Trained in Entrepreneurship

Three thousand two hundred young Ghanaians have received entrepreneurship training covering areas such as product design, starting a business and financial management.

The beneficiaries were drawn from the Greater Accra, Ashanti, Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions

Mr Allan Rutt, Country Director, British Council Ghana who announced this at an SME trade festival dubbed ‘Jobs for youth’ held in Accra to enhance and sharpen the entrepreneurial skills of the youth.

He said after their training, the beneficiaries were inducted into the enterprise club, which organised business talks, facilitated networking and providing business information and support.

The Country Director said after the entrepreneurship training, 400 enterprises were selected from the trainings of British Council, Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and NBSSI to receive three months business incubation services that enabled them to develop their enterprises and innovations into viable businesses.

He indicated that, Ghana had a young population and estimated that 75 per cent of Ghana’s population is under 35 years.

Adding that “considering the valuable potential of young people, this initiative presents a huge opportunity for Ghana to build and grow its developing economy”.

He stressed that, to maximise the potential of young people to contribute to the economy, they needed to be provided with the right skills, support and opportunities.

The project he explained was funded by the GIZ and implemented by the British Council, aimed to compliment efforts by the government and other stakeholders in providing sustainable support to young people to create jobs for themselves and other young people through skills development, business incubation and acceleration as well as seed funding, access to markets and networking.

According to Gideon Mankralo, Employment Advisor at GIZ, the organisation is dedicated to building a future worth living around the world and would continually act as a provider of international cooperation services for sustainable development and international education.

“Ghana’s economic growth rest largely on the private sector and regardless of the continuous effort by the government and other development partners in implementing interventions towards job creation, youth unemployment and joblessness was still high,” he stated.

Source Ghanaian times

MANY NIGERIAN YOUTHS UNEMPLOYABLE – IVIE TEMITAYO – IBITOYE

Ivie Temitayo-Ibitoye, is the lead consultant at Elite Hunters, a recruitment and HR development firm. She speaks with MOBOLA SADIQ about the mistakes many businesses make regarding HR structure and talent management

As the lead consultant at Elite Hunters, what exactly do you do?

I am responsible for developing strategies to attract, develop and retain talent for corporate organisations and SMEs in diverse industries across Nigeria, as well as provide individuals with recruitment opportunities and employability strategies for career growth.

How would you describe your experience as a recruitment and HR development consultant?

My experiences have been very educative and revealing. I have become more aware of the employability gaps amongst potential employees in the country, as well as the mistakes many businesses make regarding HR structure and talent management.

Do you think the labour market is favourable to job seekers?

No; it is highly competitive. Due to the huge mass of unemployed people in the country, there is more pressure on a potential job seeker to stand out in the labour market and invariably get a job.

What are the requisites a job seeker needs to have to compete favourably in the labour market?

A job seeker must have the customised functional and general skill sets required for any job or prospective employer. By general skill sets, I mean emotional intelligence, problem-solving skills, among others, while functional skills are specific to the function or role being applied for.

It has been said that many Nigerian youths are not employable. Can this be true?

My estimate is that 80 to 90 per cent of graduates are actually unemployable.
In the past eight years of working as a recruiter, I have discovered that the educational system has contributed to the ‘unemployability’ of many of our youths. Many Nigerian youths go to universities and graduate with degrees that have no direct correlation with what the jobs (they are seeking) require, even though they had read something close in some cases. A person may have studied Banking and Finance, but a bank would still have to train the person for five months before he or she can work with them. It is not unusual to meet graduates of English Language who cannot write articles. We find that most of them are focused on salary, rather than personal development. So, when you give them an opportunity to make up for their lack of skill and knowledge, by employing them, they turn down the job offer because the salary is not enough for them.

What challenges do professionals in your field face?

Finding great talent to hire for organisations has been a major challenge. We put out job adverts and have hundreds of people apply, but we are still unable to shortlist any due to poorly written email applications, resumes and cover letters.

What are your personal challenges on the job as a woman?

I have had none. I have enjoyed growth in my career and I’ve been able to make it this far with a lot of support from family and friends.

When did you set up your company and how did you come about the name?

The company was founded in 2012.

‘Elite’ means a select group that is superior in terms of ability or qualities to the rest of a group or society. ‘Hunters’ was got from the word ‘Hunt’. This means at Elite Hunters, we make it our priority to identify and source for the best talents to fill the positions required by our clients.

What other grounds do you hope to cover in the next five years?

I hope to be a catalyst for solving unemployment issues in Nigeria and also help to build platforms that will train people and help them become more employable.

What’s your advice to companies that want to grow and maintain an enviable standard?

They need to invest in their people, and build their own proprietary curriculum. They also have to be sincere about their mission and values, and have the right culture.

What is your fondest childhood memory?

Reading the newspaper to my dad is one of my fondest childhood memories. I learnt to read early and spent a lot of time with my dad mimicking the newscasters I watched on TV.

What is your favourite dish?

I like plantain and any nice sauce.

What do you do for fun?

I watch movies, or try a new recipe.

What’s your advice to young ladies trying to carve a niche for themselves?

Be dedicated and committed to your dream and goal. Don’t give up, but stay focused on your focus.

Source Punch

3 Smart Steps to take to Grow Your Startup

… Want to grow your startup and you don’t know what elements to focus on? The road to success is different for everyone, however, this article highlights some factors you should consider to grow your business… 

By Azugbene Solomon

Are you taking the right steps to put your ideas into action? How well are you prepared before going into entrepreneurship?

Did you know that only 50 percent of startups survive more than five years? Unfortunately, many startups fail to achieve product-market fit. Without a smart growth strategy in place, startups have no clear roadmap towards long-term success.

Entrepreneurship offers a lot, especially, if you know how to easily get your new business off the ground. However, do you know what it takes to create a business that you believe will serve a need for the public successfully?

The fact is that starting a successful business is not as easy as eating cake. This is a journey you mustn’t start if you don’t have an idea of where you are going.

While you’re anxious to get started, you will realise you’re just another name in a sea of competition. This is why you have to build your brand and develop relationships within and outside the business. This is one of the best ways to gain access to customers and grow your business.

How to grow your startup to the maximum

Do you know how to grow your startup to the maximum? Do you actually know how to keep your company moving forward with smart business expansion principles?

So, how do you start? What elements should you focus on? The road to success is different for everyone, however, position your startup for sustained success and build a growth strategy that actually works by following these simple steps:

1. Network and connect

Some of the most successful businesses have professional ties with other companies in the industry. By developing a network of professionals, you can turn to you have more resources at your fingertips to grow your business.

Networking allows you to share knowledge and ask questions of like-minded professionals. Also, it creates an environment for opportunities and opens you up to other markets and connections.

  • Attend Networking Events and Trade Shows
    There are often networking events for startups and entrepreneurs that you can attend. You can find out about these events by following organizations on social media, joining professional groups and organizations, and checking regularly at local hotels where such events are often held.
  • Host your own event
    There’s no better way to introduce yourself to the professional world than to host your own networking event. With the use of digital tools like a conference app and social media, inviting and updating guests won’t be much of an issue. During the event, you have the opportunity to showcase what your business has to offer and build lasting connections.

2. Build Awareness

Being known among other businesses is a must, however, you can’t grow your business if potential customers don’t know you exist.

Brand awareness is an imperative and continual part of growing your business. As a business owner, you can effectively leverage social media for brand awareness and sales.

While some of this is done by providing quality service, a lot of building brand awareness will come from your ability to market your business. Two common areas of marketing are traditional and digital:

  • Traditional Marketing
    This is your typical marketing tactics that have been used for years. This includes marketing methods like using business cards, flyers, promotional products, signage, cold calls, commercials, radio broadcasts, and other solutions to spread awareness about your brand.
  • Digital Marketing
    Whether you have a physical business location or you run your show from home having a strong online presence is imperative to building brand awareness. A reliable website, social media accounts, blogs, and compelling content all play a crucial role in your brand’s ability to reach your target audience.

3. Develop Relationships

Relationships building is very important when it comes to entrepreneurship. As a business owner, for your business to grow, you must focus on the core purpose for your success – your customers.

When startups take the time to develop authentic business relationships with their customers, they are put in a position where they can better serve them.

This thus results in long-term relationships and repeat business. But how do you develop a positive relationship with your customers?

  • Learn more about the customer
    The trick to selling your products or services is appealing to the needs, wants, and/or interests of your customers. It is imperative that you not only know who your company can best serve but how you can best do this. Customer satisfaction surveys, interaction through social media, and research can help you to learn about your customer.
  • Provide quality services
    You can’t very well expect to develop strong relationships with your customers if you’re not providing quality service. Customer service should be a huge part of your business strategy to grow. Focus on ways to provide friendly, simplified, and convenient services to your customers. Go above and beyond what is expected to ensure that every encounter they have with your business is a good one.

Conclusion

As tartup, like a little baby, has to be nurtured with utmost care and intuitive outlook.

However, while putting in the effort to your brand and products, it’s also important to take smart steps that’ll make the long-run totally worth it at the end of the tunnel.

Hence, smart up and apply the above effective tips to your startup to watch your brand soar beyond bounds.

Reference
1. 3 Smart Steps to take to Grow Your Startup and Take it to the Max by Onaplatterofgold.com

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Ideas Malawi young entrepreneurs summit Thursday at BICC

By Nyasatimes.com (Chris Loka)

Malawi is Thursday hosting the first ever all-youth entrepreneurial summit whose purported goal is to bring together players in the industry to share experiences and discuss viable ideas that can help move the country forward.

Mwendo: An opportunity for young entrepreneurs to come together and push for policies that can allow them to flourish

Joshua Mwendo PR & Marketing Consultancy has partnered with Ideas Malawi for the summit which breathes to life from May 8 to 9 at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in the capital Lilongwe.

The summit, which will run under the theme ‘Breaking Barriers’, will, among others, feature five talk sessions from entrepreneurs.

“It will also be spiced performances and creative exhibitions from existing enterprises being run by the youths apart from being graced by industry leaders and experts that have made it,” said Mwendo, PR & Marketing Consultancy managing director.

According to Mwendo, the summit will be an opportunity for young entrepreneurs to come together and push for policies that can allow them to flourish and grow their businesses.

He said in an interview with Nyasa Times on Tuesday that much as it was possible for one to do things on their own, it was imperative for young people to come together and discuss entrepreneurship for posterity.

“As a young entrepreneur myself, I am certain this will be a great opportunity to connect with fellows and numerous business associates,” he said.

Organizers of the event, Ideas Malawi, a firm geared at enhancing opportunities for the youths has pledged its support to the existing business structures by promoting youth in the business sector with mentorship and starter-up capital.

How to build self-confidence

Featured photo credit: The Stilled Man

By Azugbene Solomon

“Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand brake on.” — Maxwell Maltz

Nobody is born with limitless self-confidence. If someone seems to have incredible self-confidence, it’s because he or she has worked on building it for years. Self-confidence is something that you learn to build up because the challenging world of business, and life in general, can deflate it.

An online negative review, a request for a refund from a customer or a flat rejection from investors can cause our self-confidence to dwindle. Well-meaning but sometimes unkind comments from those closest to us can also hit us hard.

On top of this, we have to deal with our inner critic of self-doubt that constantly tells us that we are not good enough. When bombarded by so many elements that threaten our self-confidence, we need to take charge of building it up for ourselves.

As we teach at Skill Incubator, building a successful business requires a thick skin and unshakable confidence in your ability to overcome obstacles.

10 Things You Can Do to Boost Self-Confidence

Confidence can be a tough thing to build up. We’ve put together some handy tips to help you out.

Here are 10 things you can do to build up your self-confidence.

1. Visualize yourself as you want to be.

“What the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.” — Napoleon Hill

Visualization is the technique of seeing an image of yourself that you are proud of, in your own mind. When we struggle with low self-confidence, we have a poor perception of ourselves that is often inaccurate. Practice visualizing a fantastic version of yourself, achieving your goals.

2. Affirm yourself.

“Affirmations are a powerful tool to deliberately install desired beliefs about yourself.” — Nikki Carnevale

We tend to behave in accordance with our own self-image. The trick to making lasting change is to change how you view yourself.

Affirmations are positive and uplifting statements that we say to ourselves. These are normally more effective if said out loud so that you can hear yourself say it. We tend to believe whatever we tell ourselves constantly. For example, if you hate your own physical appearance, practice saying something that you appreciate or like about yourself when you next look in the mirror.

To get your brain to accept your positive statements more quickly, phrase your affirmations as questions such as, “Why am I so good at making deals?” instead of “I am so good at making deals.” Our brains are biologically wired to seek answers to questions, without analyzing whether the question is valid or not.

3. Do one thing that scares you every day.

“If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.” — T. Harv Eker

The best way to overcome fear is to face it head-on. By doing something that scares you every day and gaining confidence from every experience, you will see your self-confidence soar. So get out of your comfort zone and face your fears!

4. Question your inner critic.

“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” — Louise L. Hay

Some of the harshest comments that we get come from ourselves, via the “voice of the inner critic.” If you struggle with low self-confidence, there is a possibility that your inner critic has become overactive and inaccurate.

Strategies such as cognitive behavioral therapy help you to question your inner critic, and look for evidence to support or deny the things that your inner critic is saying to you. For example, if you think that you are a failure, ask yourself, “What evidence is there to support the thought that I am a failure?” and “What evidence is there that doesn’t support the thought that I am a failure?”

Find opportunities to congratulate, compliment and reward yourself, even for the smallest successes. As Mark Twain said, “[A] man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”

5. Take the 100 days of rejection challenge.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

Jia Jiang has become famous for recording his experience of “busting fear” by purposefully making crazy requests of people in order to be rejected over 100 days. His purpose was to desensitize himself to rejection, after he became more upset than he expected over rejection from a potential investor. Busting fear isn’t easy to do, but if you want to have fun while building up your self-confidence, this is a powerful way to do it.

6. Set yourself up to win.

“To establish true self-confidence, we must concentrate on our successes and forget about the failures and the negatives in our lives.” — Denis Waitley

Too many people are discouraged about their abilities because they set themselves goals that are too difficult to achieve. Start by setting yourself small goals that you can win easily.

Once you have built a stream of successes that make you feel good about yourself, you can then move on to harder goals. Make sure that you also keep a list of all your achievements, both large and small, to remind yourself of the times that you have done well.

Instead of focusing only on “to-do” lists, I like to spend time reflecting on “did-it” lists. Reflecting on the major milestones, projects and goals you’ve achieved is a great way to reinforce confidence in your skills.

7. Help someone else.

Helping someone else often enables us to forget about ourselves and to feel grateful for what we have. It also feels good when you are able to make a difference for someone else.

Instead of focusing on your own weaknesses, volunteer to mentor, assist or teach another, and you’ll see your self-confidence grow automatically in the process.

8. Care for yourself.

“Self-care is never a selfish act — it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.” — Parker Palmer

Self-confidence depends on a combination of good physical health, emotional health and social health. It is hard to feel good about yourself if you hate your physique or constantly have low energy.

Make time to cultivate great exercise, eating and sleep habits. In addition, dress the way you want to feel. You have heard the saying that “clothes make the man.” Build your self-confidence by making the effort to look after your own needs.

9. Create personal boundaries.

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.”– Harvey Fierstein

Learn to say no. Teach others to respect your personal boundaries. If necessary, take classes on how to be more assertive and learn to ask for what you want. The more control and say that you have over your own life, the greater will be your self-confidence.

10. Shift to an equality mentality.

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” — Marilyn Monroe

People with low self-confidence see others as better or more deserving than themselves. Instead of carrying this perception, see yourself as being equal to everyone. They are no better or more deserving than you. Make a mental shift to an equality mentality and you will automatically see an improvement in your self-confidence.

Conclusion
Try to find something that you’re really passionate about. It could be photography, sport, knitting or anything else! When you’ve worked out your passion, commit yourself to giving it a go. Chances are, if you’re interested or passionate about a certain activity, you’re more likely to be motivated and you’ll build skills more quickly.

Sometimes the quick fixes don’t help in the long term. If you’re feeling bad and things just don’t seem to be improving, it’s worth talking to someone who knows how to help.

Reference
10 Things You Can Do to Boost Self-Confidence by Chris W. Dunn. Entrepreneur.com

10 Different Ways To Encourage Youth Entrepreneurship


By Robyn D. Shulman


Social Entrepreneurs


I cover the intersection of education and entrepreneurship.


In 2010, world-renowned education and innovation expert, Sir Ken Robinson released a short animated film, titled Changing Education Paradigms. In the video, Robinson argues that our current education system stifles and anesthetizes creativity while it lowers the capacity for divergent thinking.

Robinson states, “Divergent thinking is not the same thing as creative thinking, but that it is an essential capacity for creativity.” He also refers to a paper clip study in the book Breakpoint and Beyond: Mastering the Future Today, by George Land and Beth Jarman. The paper clip study followed 1,500 kindergarten students through elementary, middle and high school.

As the students moved up through grade levels, the authors asked the question: “How many uses can you think of for a paper clip?” When the authors first proposed the question in kindergarten, 98% of students scored at genius level in divergent thinking. By the age of 10 years old, only 32% of the same group scored as high, and by age 15, only 10% remained at genius level.

Rather than developing the natural gifts of curiosity and high-level thinking, the traditional teaching model we still use today can stifle creativity, innovation, and divergent thinking.

Unfortunately, for most, our current school system does not align with 21st-century student needs, or the rapid changes we see on an economic, social, and global level.

Many parents are not aware of the misalignment between education and the unknown jobs of tomorrow. The common belief about securing a job right out of college no longer holds true. In fact, for many, college is simply not the right path. According to Student Loan Hero, Americans owe over $1.4 trillion in student loan debt, and the average Class of 2016 graduate has $37,172 in student loan debt. Although unemployment rates have dropped, many Millennials work in low-paying, entry-level positions far away from their field of undergraduate studies.

Given these statistics, it is critical for all adults to pave a better road for the next generation and to encourage entrepreneurship.

If you have a young child or work with children, here are ten things you can do now to introduce entrepreneurship skills early.

Encourage divergent thinking:

Through informal discussions, ask open-ended questions, work on problem-solving, share ideas and build on learning experiences together. Teach children to question, research, and ask for further information. Ask them to take notice of things in their daily lives. For example, when they see a problem or feel frustrated about something, ask them how they would solve the issue, or make it better. Let your child guide, discover and make connections on their own. When the opportunity presents itself, practice divergent thinking at home.

Create a safe-space for ideas:

Divergent thinking is most likely to thrive in a safe environment that welcomes all types of ideas, encourages risk-taking and allows for fast failure. Kids who feel safe are more likely to share ideas, step outside of their comfort zones, and take on more challenges. You can support divergent thinking, encourage individual expression and foster creativity by building a safe space for youth.

Challenge ideas:

Encourage your children to ask why we do things in a certain way. Teach them to look at problems and find various solutions. When we make challenges, it forces us to begin thinking of alternatives.

Encourage leaders through ownership:

Praise kids for unique ideas to solving problems, and for having the confidence to share their solutions. You can also refer to their ideas with unique names such as “Stacy’s Solution” or “Anthony’s Answers.”

Build an Idea Box:

When I taught middle school, many parents asked me how to encourage innovation at home. In my classroom, I kept an empty box for students to drop idea notes. When they had an idea, figured out how to solve a problem, or noticed how to make an improvement, they wrote down their thoughts, and added them to the “Idea Box.” At the end of the week, we went through these various ideas together.

You can create an “Idea Box” at home while including the entire family. Using this strategy can encourage everyone to share new possible ventures, foster communication skills, and build confidence in a group setting.

After you’ve gone through some viable ideas, encourage kids to take action.

Provide experiences:

Take your kids to different places and let them explore. Pay attention to their natural curiosities and guide them toward those interests. As they grow, you can begin to see naturally born passions. Their creativity and innovation will come to the forefront when they participate in things they enjoy doing.

Let kids fail:

Let your children fail and teach them how to learn from their mistakes. Show them how to get back up, self-reflect on what they learned, and move on. Failure teaches kids how to be resilient in any situation, and it is critical for building self-confidence and a healthy mindset.

Financial literacy:

Schools do not teach financial literacy nearly as much as they should. Introduce money early on and give them goals and responsibilities for managing their finances. Show them the importance of saving and investing. Open a savings or checking account with them. If possible, give them an incentive to save money by offering a matching contribution.

Model positive relationships:

Entrepreneurs understand the importance of pursuing and building meaningful relationships. People like to work with and purchase goods from those they find likeable. Talk with your kids about their friendships, and focus on the importance of compassion, giving back and listening.

Communicate:

Many nights, my daughter and I chat about my work day and her school day. Through these casual conversations, she understands the power she has to go after her dreams while understanding reality at the same time. Make communication a priority as well as a safe place to talk about ideas, answer questions, and be a sounding board. Communication is key to divergent thinking, creativity, and successful entrepreneurship, and the model must start at home.

By cultivating continuous improvement in these areas, we can give children the confidence to move outside their comfort zones, provide mental tools for growth, encourage creativity and support future entrepreneurs.

Although some schools are embracing this new way of thinking, many are still far behind in the industrial age of teaching and learning. Don’t depend on a school to bring these critical skills and successful life strategies to the forefront.

Always keep the paper clip in mind. Encourage your kids to see their paper clips in many different ways throughout their school years. You may find your child is a natural born entrepreneur.

If you are interested in divergent thinking, education, creativity, and entrepreneurship, you will find tremendous value in the video below presented by RSA Animate and Sir Ken Robinson


I am honored to be named LinkedIn’s #1 Top Voice in Education, 2018. I am also the founder of EdNews Daily and the Managing Editor at Influencer Inc. In addition, I also…MORE
Honored to be named LinkedIn’s #1 Top Voice in Education, 2018. Certified K-9 and ESL teacher, Executive Editor, Influencer Inc and currently run all thought-leadership pieces for 51Talk, China.


This article was first published at www.forbes.com