There are approximately 200 million Africans between the ages of 15-24, which makes Africa the youngest population in the world. However, one of the main issues that stunt the opportunity for growth is the lack of job opportunities and an increasing unemployment rate. According to Ghana’s Labour Force Survey Report, in 2017, more than 1.2 million people, 15 years and older, are estimated to be unemployed. This will represent a total unemployment rate of 11.9%. The most recent World Bank Report on jobs in Ghana has disclosed that approximately 48% of the youth between 15 – 24 years do not have jobs. Ghana employment statistics also records that 10.5% of these unemployed persons pursue entrepreneurship when they can’t find jobs. However, it is estimated that over 75% of startups fail within 3 years.
In a recent report published by Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A), of all the reasons that might cause an African startup to fail, respondents selected bad execution as the leading cause. With such issues, organizations like Stars From All Nations (SFAN) are vital to helping young Africans achieve success, as the organization’s purpose is to support students’ transition from education to employment.
On July 26, SFAN launched the inaugural Student Entrepreneurship Week, a two-day program themed “Unleashing Opportunities.” The event was powerfully packed with panel discussions, investment pitch competitions and mentorship led by thought leaders and industry experts. The program was held at the British Council Accra. Sponsored by Kwese TV and Kempinski Hotel, over 400 guests convened at the alternative education forum, bringing together some of the brightest trainers and entrepreneurs from Ghana, Nigeria, Silicon Valley, and the U.K.
There were interactive discussions on topics such as The Future of Work, which unpacked virtual work, the impact of technology on employment and tips on how to prepare for the workforce; and Business Development, this brought together leaders from different industries to discuss topics like design thinking, corporate innovation and team design. Some other topic discussions included technology, fundraising, education & skills and achieving scale to name a few. Leaders such as Yofi Grant (GIPC), Afua Osei of She Leads Africa, Gina Kloes and Felix Lin – both Tony Robbins’ trainer and entrepreneurship coach, gave insightful presentations on topics from their respective fields.
Student Entrepreneur Week GH also launched its Young Money Business Pitch Competition, which was made possible through strategic partnership between SFAN, 3rdfloor Digital, Echo VC Partners, Workshed Africa, Venture Capital for Africa and MEST Africa. The pitch competition’s purpose is to give student entrepreneurs with technology-based businesses or business ideas access to startup funding, business development, and marketing support.
The three winners — Uni-Connect (1st position), AppGharage (2nd position), and HealthOnline (3rd position) —received 6 months of business development & market opportunity support valued at over $3k (inclusive of a complimentary c-suite website and one year hosting for the winner), an opportunity to join MEST Africa training program in 2019 and access to SFAN’s network of investors.
SFAN conducts multiple events each year that focus on mentorship, knowledge sharing and capacity building for young Africans eager for success.
By Lakeisha Ford