Three Ways for Africa’s Youth-Led Small businesses to Improve Their Businesses Post-COVID19

Africa, according to UN forecasts, would account for more than half of global population increase over the next three decades, adding 1 billion people and putting it on course to replace central and south Asia as the world’s most populous region shortly thereafter. Africa’s population growth is thus no longer news, as the continent also has the highest proportion of young in the world, with 60% of its population under the age of 25. Africa sees a large influx of educated youth seeking to make a meaningful and lasting influence each year, as a result of the teeming numbers documented. On average, 11 million young people enter the labor market each year, but the continent generates only approximately 3.7 million jobs; thus, the change to entrepreneurship, which has seen Africa’s status as a SME hub enhanced through the hard work and representation of youthful passion. The continent has the highest rates of entrepreneurship and female entrepreneurship in the world, with the African Development Bank reporting that 22% of Africa’s working-age population is engaged in early-stage entrepreneurial activity and 27% of the female adult population is engaged in early-stage entrepreneurial activity. While entrepreneurial potential is substantial, its contribution to economic growth and the development of SMEs has been modest. Sub-Saharan Africa, according to a contrary statistic, has the highest rate of business discontinuation at 8.4 percent. The issue is one of African SMEs’ survival and how they might improve their growth prospects. Covid19, on the other hand, has suffocated economies, leaving many enterprises scrambling for solutions and devising methods of survival.

Specifically, when considering options for business survival, it is natural to prioritize finances or capital as a critical component that cannot be compromised. However, capital alone cannot ensure a business’s success or survival, particularly in these trying times. Apart from funding and the careful implementation of strategies, several other factors must be considered. These factors include developing the necessary working knowledge to construct and sustain the relevance of the enterprise in which an individual wishes to engage. The question then becomes: How can youth-led SMEs expand their enterprises in such a way that they can avoid discontinuity and build a sustainable venture Post Covid? Businesses are founded on a foundation of activities and time-tested procedures, and SMEs in Africa can increase their sustainability by implementing the following:

1) Training Programs

The value that training programs bring to firms and enterprises cannot be overstated, since they are the entrepreneur’s ultimate form of self-investment. The benefits of training programs include increasing skills and knowledge, preparation of individuals or employees for increased responsibilities, increased dedication to the firm as the value of the individual increases, and a broader viewpoint for the entrepreneur working in the business. Training programs are classified into a variety of categories, including management training, sales training, and mentorship schemes. It is critical that youth-led SMEs in Africa explore developing their enterprise by enrolling in capacity-building training programs.

2) Networking

There is a proverb that states, ‘Your network is your net worth,’ and it might be determined to be less than an inch accurate if it does not correctly nail the necessity of network building on the head. Networking provides a platform for small business owners to build relationships with individuals in similar or related sectors, which can eventually assist increase their potential to acquire new clients, partners, and develop. SMEs can leverage networking to generate business leads, find new industry trends and best practices, boost business confidence, and form connections. In a nutshell, you increase your net worth by expanding your network. Networking identifies and facilitates opportunities that you would not be able to discover or access on your own. It is a critical component of business models that have enabled leading companies, such as Covid19, to weather the storm of challenging economic times. As a result, a robust network of friends and contacts will be beneficial during both prosperous and trying times.

3) Partnerships and Collaboration

The partnership’s critical component is the expansive horizon and myriad opportunities it provides for a firm. Youth-led SMEs can forge alliances with industry titans and competitors in relevant industries, or they can exist on their own terms as long as they attain significance. Partnerships provide entrepreneurs with access to additional information, expertise, and resources that enable them to create better goods and reach a larger audience. Business survival involves planning and strategy in addition to the deployment of necessary cash to improve function and results. Youth-led SMEs, which are primarily motivated by the desire to end unemployment via personal efforts, cannot be left to chance and anticipation based on the injection of a fixed quantity of capital. To do this, practical efforts must be taken. Africa is expected to require 140 million employment opportunities by 2023, and it is no secret that these small and medium-sized businesses are the continent’s largest employer of labor. Along with the assistance provided by SMEs to remain afloat, African governments are urged to provide access to the aforementioned methods and other necessary products that can aid in the growth and development of enterprises in general.

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