The Youth and Entrepreneurship

Despite the prevalent rhetoric emphasizing the numerous intrinsic benefits of youth entrepreneurship there might be obstacles and barriers that deter young people from pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors. For instance, the short duration of youth empowerment initiatives, an excessive emphasis on supply-side training, insufficient or non-existent financial support, a tenuous connection to viable market opportunities, and a strong emphasis on bringing young people together as a group rather than as independent entrepreneurs can all be problematic. Nonetheless, economic uncertainty and a scarcity of formal paid jobs and other professional prospects drive young people toward self-employment, or what some refer to as ‘entrepreneurship by necessity.’ They lack, however, the necessary skills and knowledge to successfully develop and manage a firm.

Youth entrepreneurship creates employment prospects for young people, builds ingenuity and resilience, and strengthens their social and cultural identities. These, it is suggested, allow young people to make constructive contributions to their own growth and to the economic development of their communities. Entrepreneurship has the potential to integrate marginalized youngsters into economic activities by creating jobs. While there is ample evidence that many young people, particularly in developing countries, are forced into entrepreneurship as a result of a lack of or limited opportunities for formal work, their motivations for starting micro-enterprises also change with time. Indirectly, it improves the socio-psychological situation of unemployed youth in general. Thus, regardless of their origin, the development of a sense of communal acceptance and appreciation among these young people molds their cultural and social identities.

Constraints exist that prevent young people from beginning enterprises. Several typical impediments include lack of information, lack of credit, lack of necessary skills, lack of market access, and lack of relevant institutional supports. While these barriers are prevalent in both rich and developing countries, young people’s perceptions of the severity of each barrier vary. When these restrictions continue to exist unabated, they represent grave challenges to the growth of youth entrepreneurship. The International Labour Organization (ILO 2012) highlighted five strategies for effective youth entrepreneurship promotion: (1) address specific barriers faced by youth; (2) provide a diverse range of services, including mentoring; (3) incorporate entrepreneurship curricula into secondary and tertiary education; (4) create a conducive regulatory environment for business expansion; and (5) conduct impact assessments to ensure continuous improvement.

Three distinct impediments have been highlighted in the literature: fear of failure; disengagement from entrepreneurship; and diminishing levels of awareness. Fear of failure is a personality trait that results in a desire to avoid the potential of failure regardless of the situation. This has two main dimensions in terms of entrepreneurship. The first dimension is problem-focused, emphasizing misery caused by unemployment and financial strains. This is related to a strong aversion for humiliation, embarrassment, and loss of self-worth. The second dimension is emotional in nature, emphasizing emotional responses such as guilt, despair, rage, and frustration. These develop when aspiring entrepreneurs place an excessive emphasis on what their close family members, relatives, and other members of society think of their performance. Additionally, the perception of lack business experience and abilities, inability to plan and implement priorities, and low self-esteem can all contribute to young individuals engaging in avoidance behavior. It becomes a potential impediment to youth entrepreneurship when it persists.

Young individuals can withdraw from entrepreneurship to varying degrees based on how they perceive the barriers they face. Specifically, poor access to finance, loss of cultural identity, and insufficient institutional support capacities can all contribute to young entrepreneurs abandoning their start-up attempts. This is often referred to as a hasty entrepreneurial exit. On the other hand, young entrepreneurs can abandon the start-up process based on sound judgment — such as the likelihood that the present business would fail. Additionally, this is referred to as the intelligent exit. Regardless matter whether the disengagement is voluntary or not, the value of feasibility analysis as a tool for learning cannot be overstated.

While some young people have chosen not to be entrepreneurs in the traditional sense, this does not negate the critical role of entrepreneurial knowledge in the quest of youth entrepreneurship. Promoting entrepreneurial awareness can be accomplished in three ways: (1) by strengthening entrepreneurial mindsets; (2) by cultivating a climate conducive to inspiring people to embrace entrepreneurship; and (3) by increasing motivation and capacity to identify and seize economic and social opportunities. Regardless of these factors, a lack of information and restricted access to professional networks or mentoring programs exacerbate the challenge young people face in finding, launching, growing, and sustaining an organization. As a result, not only is entrepreneurial awareness low, but also the link between reality and mentorship programs is ambiguous.

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