Back in the university, the commonly asked question was, “after university, what next?”
It was the prayer of many graduates to be offered places in government or private institutions with the hope of being retained upon completion of their National Service. Hardly did anyone express the desire to start their own business or venture into entrepreneurship. Factually, students’ desire to work in already established institutions outweighed the choice to venture in entrepreneurship.
Well, how can students be blamed for society’s misguided notion; white-collared job is a better proxy for a successful future. Many students have been conscientized into accepting the claim that the best way of securing their future is to find employment in any established entity. This position has done little in solving the unemployment mess the country is saddled with. If we are minded to avert the mess, there is the need for a paradigm shift. Thus entrepreneurship should be considered as the corner stone for reducing graduates unemployment thereby boosting national economic growth and sustainable development.
First of all, entrepreneurship is in itself, a form of human resource development. Entrepreneurs are able to introduce something new and develop ideas not solely for income generation purposes but as a form contribution to solving societal issues. Also, entrepreneurship initially focuses on the micro, small and medium scale enterprises and its encouragement has maximum potential to boost the private sector development of our country.
The distinguishing but striking feature entrepreneurs have is ‘innovativeness’. Innovation is the core principle that determines the success of every business, and that is what the Ghanaian youth hither to lacked. Identifying the ideas in themselves was challenging for even the average youth. Gracefully, the tide has turned. Many young people are coming up with disruptive products. Despite this promising news, there is the need to do more.
In the era of global sustainability, it is important that entrepreneurship takes on a more gender balanced phase.
Our male counterparts are relatively more inclined towards establishing self-owned businesses. Plethora of research exist to indicate that women entrepreneurs stand the chance of boosting the economic prospects of Africa. Interestingly, some economist and educationist hold that, women’s potentials for entrepreneurship are largely under tapped. Although many women faced several challenges including demeaning stereotype and discrimination, some have expressed interest in diverse entrepreneurial ventures and are willing to embrace any given opportunity.
This new phenomenon prompted the Forbes Online Magazine to posit that, “A Golden Age for women’s entrepreneurs has just begun”.
Access to capital represents the most difficult hurdle entrepreneurs (including women) need to cross. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor indicates that denying women access to startup capital (a chance) is a huge economic drain. Therefore to boost entrepreneurship, both government and non-governmental institutions have key roles; financial and technical to play. Society must jettison the colloquial mentality that women can only gain a respected height only through sexual favours. Ladies themselves must recognize that embedded in them is great potential for exploits hence they must harness all their abilities.
The country, Ghana cannot make significant gains if we constantly sideline our ladies in activities that have huge potential of telling a positive narrative of Ghana. As we celebrate the few (including Regina Agyare, Fatahiyatu Halidu) making significant progress, policy makers, private individuals, venture capitalists, mentors, business coaches and all relevant stakeholders must take practical interest in promoting female entrepreneurship. Inclusiveness ensures sustainability hence gender inclusiveness must excite our interest as far as entrepreneurship is concerned.
By Abena Owusuah Gyapong
The writer is the Asia Chapter Head, NERA and can be contacted at email@example.com