As it stands 60% of the continent’s population falls below the age of 24, furthermore 25% of this young population is illiterate.According to The World Bank and other data collected by institutions such as the Brookings Institute, these figures are only expected to grow as the African population increases and more people turn towards urban life. This in turn will lead to an increase in demand for resources around the whole continent. If Africa does not adequately plan for this inevitable series of events there will be no rising, only sinking. One viable way of doing so is encouraging the emergence of Small and Medium Enterprises to provide a sustainable way of ensuring employment and development across the board. Initiatives on the continent have put two and two together and are working tirelessly to make certain nothing taints Africa’s bright future; one such initiative is My African Start-Up.
My African Start-Up’s main goal is to ensure that African entrepreneurs are put on the global map. This year foreign direct investment inflows totaled $80 billion and according to global consultants this should reach $150 billion by 2015 – however this enormous amount of money usually benefits large co-operations leaving the start-ups to rely on government sponsored programs for funding and support. Africa is at the center of the international economy and our SME’s should not be left behind. My African Start-Up an initiative being launched on October 31st in Abidjan is employing a simple but workable concept. Entrepreneurs post their profiles in conjunction with those of their businesses on the online platform which global investors and other interested parties will visit essentially linking the two. Above and beyond this there is the launch as stated earlier which will feature networking events, training sessions and seminars on innovation and supporting entrepreneurship on the continent. Partners already committed to the initiative include; HEC Paris one of the most prominent business schools in the world, and Ampion Venture Bus which will catalyze the entrepreneurial energy in our emerging markets just to name a few.
Small medium enterprises are literally the key to success for Africa as all those working in the sector will have employment and be able to provide for their many dependants. Entrepreneurs all over the continent need to relish opportunities such as My African Start-Up as our future rests in their hands.
Photo Credits: My African Start-Up