Our continent can only be stronger if we pull forces in one direction as a unified and progressive body. As we forge our transformation agenda forward as the Institute Of Entrepreneurs Zimbabwe, that of propagating generational entrepreneurs for socio economic transformation, we need to go beyond the boundaries and engage un numerous of exchange programs with other African Countries and push on the Agenda at SADC level.
Just a brief of where we are drawing our thrust and AGENDA from as Institute Of Entrepreneurs Zimbabwe.
In 2015, 195 countries agreed with the United Nations that they can collectively change the world for the better through the alignment of their efforts towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These SGDs were adopted by the United Nations as a call to end poverty, protect the planet and make sure that by 2030 all nations enjoy peace and prosperity.
All the 17 SDGs are critically important but the entrepreneurship thrust of Institute of Entrepreneurs Zimbabwe aligns well with SDG No. 4, 8, 9, 10, 1 & 2 almost in that order. In essence, provision of quality education unlocks the innovation in people who will then contribute to the economic growth by starting entrepreneurship endeavors, which will assist in employment creation. Entrepreneurship will thus contribute to the growth of the economy.
Africa has vast under-utilized resources, which cannot be exploited by foreigners in our watch. As such the African Union came up with Agenda 2063 which is a shared framework for inclusive growth and sustainable Development & a global strategy to optimize the use of Africa’s Resources for the benefit of all Africans.
Of the seven aspirations of Agenda 2063, aspiration 1 speaks of a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and economic development and the sixth aspiration talks about an Africa whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children.
Our country Zimbabwe, with its vision 2030, ‘Towards a prosperous and upper middle income society by 2030’ came up with National Development Strategy (NDS1) whose first guiding principle is the recognition that bold and transformative measures be taken as opposed to the slow and incremental change approach. This is exactly where the revolutionary approach the Institute of Entrepreneurs Zimbabwe is taking with regards to transforming the way business is conducted in the country comes handy.
The second principle dwelt on intensifying efforts to generate growth through the intentional mobilization of domestic growth vectors and thirdly the issue of leveraging on the competitive advantages particularly with regards to the configuration of our natural resource endowment, our excellent ecological endowment and our skills base You’ll find out that for all these goals to be achieved, there is need for quality entrepreneurship education of a command nature since our country is lagging behind in terms of real economic growth.
According to the African Development Bank June 2021 White Paper on entrepreneurship and free trade, entrepreneurship must be at the heart of efforts to transform Africa’s economic prospects. Entrepreneurship works as a catalyst for this new era of economic emancipation and prosperity. As such any
entrepreneurial effort must receive the necessary support as it forms the backbone of any thriving economy. Africa has a vibrant SME sector dominated by youths and these need to be capacitated. Developing the capabilities of these entrepreneurs will be critical to sustaining the envisaged growth into the future.
The SME sector has produced in recent time young men and women who have built robust companies through product and service innovation for the African and export market. Efforts from the SMEs have assisted in alleviating unemployment while at the same time contributing to the GDP of the nation. Hence, entrepreneurship stands as the key solution for employment creation, improving living standards, developing sustainable economies across the continent, and generating renewed economic growth on the continent. Though most entrepreneurs across Africa and Zimbabwe in particular may demonstrate ideas, motivation and desire, they lack the vital exposure, experience and expertise to start, support, sustain and succeed in their entrepreneurship endeavors. The failure rate of most startups in Africa is alarming.
Students graduating from universities who are joining the SME sector are not bringing in the necessary acumen expected in the market and will end up conforming to the existing pattern of copying and pasting what the business next door is doing without necessarily bringing in the required innovation. It is against this background that an institution that exclusively focuses on entrepreneurship and business is formed to support current and prospective entrepreneurs
We have a strong feeling and conviction that students in Universities need to be captured into the entrepreneurship institution and be nurtured in their areas of passion. The formation of IOEZ was motivated by the gap that exists in Africa of sustainable entrepreneurship initiatives against a background of struggling economies. While traditional mainstream organizations are making efforts towards supporting businesses, there is need for an institution that focuses specifically on entrepreneurship given its centrality in the African economic equation.
We are grateful to be part of this year’s SADC YOUTH FORUM in Botswana and this is our second invitation by this SADC arm SAYoF.