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YOUTH TAKING UP SPACE IN BUSINESS

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We have officially walked into a new year, and of course with a lot of anticipation on the future, therefore, I find it imperative that we seek to establish means for young people to be integrated towards poverty eradication.

It is no secret that Eswatini is a developing country and poverty continues to increase. When going through social media, one of the beautiful things that have come out is the active participation of young people in helping the needy. This is a beautiful plant that has sprouted within our society; by bringing forth an engaged youth who want to actively be a part of the solution.

While looking for someone to put together a piece for furniture for me, I decided to peruse through the ‘Eswatini marketplace’ page – my go to for any service I am not sure where to locate within the country – in search for someone or company working on fittings and furniture. To my spontaneity I was taken by every small and business there. I took my time to look at each page as I scrolled through, liking and following proudly; because how can it not be great that emaSwati are creating magic?

A majority of the ads were from businesses owned by young people; some even juggling school and business at a go. It was like looking into a mirror of Eswatini, a country filled with dreams and individuals who have become familiar with themselves and their goals. It was impressive to see how neat and clean each page was, detailed and displaying management and ethical skill-sets.

Standing

This highlighted the remarkable standing of our youth as a country and the ability they possess to contribute towards economic and skills development. Therefore, government has a duty to meet the youth halfway by creating platforms and opportunities for their businesses. The identified problem is that there is a huge gap in the system, which initiatives such as JA (Junior Achievement) have tried to fill, however, more needs to be done. Firstly, by understanding the concept of evolution and the pivotal role that young people play as times change; that the growth itself of society can no longer be understood through the same lenses but one must be able to accept and put on millennial specs.

For security purposes, it is understandable why funding is made easier for the working class and the better off financially, however, this is also a barrier for young people. It is imperative to note that the standards for capital support in institutions – even government institutions – are education based, which is a fundamental flaw for growth itself. This is to say that if the purpose of these funding opportunities and start-up capital opportunities is to create employment, then should they not be structured in such a way that they are as accessible to the uneducated and poor as they are to the better off?

While we can certainly argue on the basis of security for the institution, this is merely a symptom of poor thinking and lack of innovation within institutions, because such implementations can be afforded in a manner that protects and ensures success and profitability through funding business ideas from uneducated minorities and young scholars. This continues to drive the philosophy that intelligence can only be achieved through education and that education guarantees intelligence, which are both incorrect.

The youth has proven this to be true, that success cannot be weighed through education or employment, and that the reason one seeks for capital funding is because they do not have a job or do not have a job that affords them the necessary capital and so why are the requirements catered to act as a reserve for the well off and not as opportunities for those who actually need them.

Young people are in need of institutions that provide information. It should not be an issue of education and assets as perquisites, but of information and grooming. If institutions can be innovative enough to help young people with the information and growth to progress, that means providing training for young people who have skills based businesses such as how to write a business plan and guidance from government paid mentors, to help with the step by step basics on how young people can develop their brands, how to market their businesses and most of all, among other things, how to get funding for their businesses to grow and create more employment opportunities. Such innovative ideas and platforms will enable young people to better partake in the economic development of the country and be financial contributors within their families.

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