Encouraging youths, women entrepreneurs amid COVID-19 pandemic

According to the African Union (AU) report, youth unemployment is one of the major challenges faced by the African Union Member States. The problem is exacerbated by limited alternate opportunities to earn decent livelihoods. Since the youth form the backbone of the African population which is over 60 percent, the continent’s sustainable development hinges on harnessing the demographic dividend that entails going beyond the limited formal employment opportunities for youth and creating and availing opportunities to make a decent living and contribute the realization of Agenda 2063.

Acknowledging the importance of investing in and creating space and opportunities for young people to let them realize their full potential, the African Union has pioneered several initiatives geared towards youth empowerment.

Youth entrepreneurship is projected to be increasingly relevant in the current contexts of rising unemployment and underemployment, as well as insecure, low-paying, hazardous employment that do not result in liveable wages. However, the outbreak of COVID-19 has shown that pandemics and disasters have the potential to subject young entrepreneurs or businesses to a great deal of uncertainty and exposure to high risk of unproductivity.

Several interventions are proposed by the AU and its Member States to promote youth entrepreneurship and consequently create more jobs and enhance livelihoods on the continent. These interventions should include ways to cushion youth entrepreneurship against economic shockwaves that may be caused by unexpected phenomenon such as pandemics and disasters.

Different researches have also shown the importance of promoting youths and women entrepreneurship to realize the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Moreover, financial freedom is gained when you are ready to work for yourself rather than working for others. It is impossible to say that you are in the stage of freedom and self-actualization being serving others. Look brilliant minds are working for themselves even creating extra jobs in their surroundings. They are employing a large amount of labour force and changing others’ life apart from changing their life.

Currently, this age of technology is enabling the youth access various information easily at a time to promote their entrepreneurship skills. The new generation fully and partially entertains the diversified gifts of globalization opportunities beyond entertaining fresh information by the help of new technologies.

Recently, Biruhminds Social and Business Consult has organized a new combined consultation platform known as “Liyu Milketa” forum aimed at creating conducive environment to entrepreneurship and job creation opportunities in Ethiopia. The company conducted various researches with the target of encouraging job opportunities creation and entrepreneurship. The availability of wide job opportunities will help to betterment and brighten the future of the youths and women groups.

The “Liyu Milketa” platform aimed at improving the ecosystem of entrepreneurship through policy advocacy, addressing institutional challenges and facilitating partnership between key stakeholders both to enhance access to finance and facilitate high quality Business Development Services (BDS) for start-ups, investors and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Ethiopia.

The upcoming Liyu Milketa forum will bring together scholars and experts of the sector from the different corner of the country to discuss on critical matters related to job creation and entrepreneurship. It also sought to ease the job creation and entrepreneurship sector challenges by deliberating on important issues and wide opportunities available in the country.

Briefing the media in connection with the event, Biruhminds Social and Business Consult Senior Program Coordinator Lemmawork Lapiso said that the company will hold consultations with policy makers from key government institutions, private stakeholders, civil societies, bilateral and multilateral organization, regional states, research and academic institutions, youths and women, among others on how to promote entrepreneurship in the country.

An integrated Public Private Partnership (PPP) is fundamental to stimulate entrepreneurship and enable the growing number of youths join new jobs, he said.

As to him, the company will held various policy advocacy consultations with pertinent stakeholders. Currently, the youth groups are facing different challenges regarding finding jobs, starting new businesses, and expanding businesses. Low funding availability is the major hindrances towards creating job opportunities and starting entrepreneurship.

Moreover, the growing numbers of Industrial Parks (IPs), government’s commitment to ease of doing business, availabilities of latest technologies are the major opportunities to facilitate job creation and entrepreneurship in the country, he noted.

According to the Ministry of Labor and Skills, due attention has been given to youth and women entrepreneurs to realize their business ideas. The government provides various incentives including financial funds, working land as well as business advice.

More importantly, the use of digital technologies has given priority to interact, share, and develop ideas of the entrepreneurs throughout the country. The Ministry is doing its level best with regard to recovering the enterprises and entrepreneurs that have been affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Accordingly, ICT, agriculture, manufacturing, mining, and tourism, among others are the major sectors prioritized by the Ethiopian government to create numerous job opportunities to the youths and women.



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