International Youth Foundation (IYF) and Google.org have joined hands to provide young individuals in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria with digital and entrepreneurial skills to enable them secure alternative sources of livelihood.
IYF South Africa with the support and funding of Google.org is currently deploying various programs for young people in the three African countries, which has had an impact in providing them access to digital and entrepreneurial skills. Through its high impact training, IYF South Africa is making a substantial contribution to enabling young people with key skills to develop their entrepreneurial skills through continuous investment made by organizations in IT across all sectors.
Since its inception 30 years ago, IYF has been able to reach 7.7 million young people while working with more than 600 local partners in over 100 countries.
Participating youth are taught business, technical, and life skills as part of the Skills for Success (S4S) program. This will result in an increased demand for highly skilled youth in the IT sector as well as the move towards development of curricula that reflects constant innovation and change that is occurring in the IT field, as a result young people will need IT skills to be successful in a variety of careers.
The IYF is cultivating future industry leaders in Africa as graduates from this program emerge with improved skills, which increase their employability. In addition, Skills for Success is positively changing lives and communities through its placement partners, who provide work opportunities for newly qualified youth.
Speaking on the program, IYF SA’s Country Director, Anusha Naicker, asserts, “The entrepreneurial component of the program provides guidance and business acumen that are essential for business success. As a result, there is growing confidence among young African entrepreneurs that they can start a business that solves many of the challenges facing their communities.”
Entrepreneurship is marked by job creation rather than job seeking and is one of the most sought-after career paths for young people. The entrepreneurial career path creates meaningful and rewarding opportunities for youth and is therefore a great way for the young generation to explore their areas of interest. Entrepreneurship offers innovative solutions for economic growth and can be a powerful tool to help fight youth unemployment, particularly in developing countries.
“This program taught me the basics of UX design, the design thinking process, how to build prototypes for testing with users, conduct UX research, and design responsive websites. With this knowledge, my design skills keep improving daily, and I can see myself making a living doing what I love,” says Diane Shamaki, a learner from Nigeria (Paradigm Initiative).
Sub-Sahara Africa has the youngest population in the world, in the next 30 years, 60% of Africans will be under the age of 25. Having a young population brings many opportunities for economic growth and innovation, if these opportunities can be recognised and utilised. Youth demonstrate the necessary qualities and mindset to succeed as entrepreneurs, their intuitive ability to navigate technology makes entrepreneurship an ideal career option, given the impact technology will have on entrepreneurial growth.
To succeed as entrepreneurs, they often need to complete training to develop competencies and skills. Skills development programs that offer skills training and could be applied after completion of the program are highly attractive to youth. These programs are one of the avenues used by youth to rise above poverty, inequality and barriers to opportunity, transforming and upskilling Africa.
Given that unemployment is on the rise in Sub Saharan Africa, young people are becoming more robust in seeking alternative opportunities to secure livelihood.
Many learners have pursued entrepreneurial career paths after completing the program, with at least 40% finding employment in all three countries. It takes perseverance, networking skills, and passion to succeed as a young African entrepreneur. Undoubtedly, entrepreneurship is a powerful tool for empowering young people by celebrating their creativity and technological aptitude.
Entrepreneurship among youth is praised not only for its ability to create jobs and empower young people but also for its ability to integrate young people into society, especially those with fewer opportunities. In addition to providing young people with the necessary skills and experiences to thrive economically, youth entrepreneurship also contributes to their countries’ prosperity.
A powerful tool for addressing the rising youth unemployment rate is using micro, small, and medium-sized businesses, which make up 95% of all firms and create 80% of all jobs in Africa. The micro, small, and medium enterprise sectors include a significant portion of young entrepreneurs. The World Bank claims that young people frequently work in sectors that are expanding quickly and are more likely to hire their peers. When youth-led businesses have the right knowledge, skills, mentorship, funding, and supportive policies, they can grow economies and create jobs.
IYF is honoured to contribute to fostering the conditions necessary for young people to engage in entrepreneurship and raise living standards in their communities and families.