On the other hand, we can do something for those school and university leavers who have great ideas, who want to develop them into successful businesses, but need the support and training to make it happen. There is a crying need for entrepreneurship training in South Africa; it needs to be developed, funded and put into action.
But entrepreneurship training also has to make a difference. It’s not just another certificate that allows an employer to take a gamble on and train up a graduate. The skills imparted have to be real, practical and relevant. They have to make it possible for the entrepreneur to go out into the world alone and make a success of her businesses. No one else is going to train an entrepreneur on the job.
Entrepreneurship training has to offer practical material, and the material has to be relevant to the entrepreneur’s specific business. That’s because an entrepreneur who sells toothpaste off a tractor in a rural setting has completely different business needs to a young software developer who’s had a great idea for a game-changing app.
The course material shouldn’t be heavily academic or theoretical. These entrepreneurs need information and knowledge that they can take away and apply right away because it makes sense to them and their business. They need to be trained by people who’ve been there, who understand the challenges and the doubts and the pitfalls and who can give them the skills that they need to overcome these on their own.
Most importantly, entrepreneurship training can’t conclude with the handing over of a certificate and a pat on the back. There needs to be ongoing mentorship, further learning opportunities and continuous support offered.
Through a combination of all these factors, we can create successful entrepreneurs with their destinies in their own hands. And then they, in turn, can show others the way.