Unemployment is a major challenge that affects the youth in Kenya. Approximately 800,000 young Kenyans enter the labour market every year and youth unemployment is estimated to be as high as 40%.This challenge can only be addressed if more of the young Kenyans can engage in entrepreneurship such that they create rather than search for jobs. Entrepreneurs identify an innovation to seize an opportunity, mobilize resources, and take risks to open markets for new products and processes.
Kenyans especially the young people are gifted and talented with many brilliant ideas which they can pursue to create wealth and reduce unemployment. However the greatest challenge is the lack of initiative to seize the entrepreneurial opportunities.
To perceive and exploit available opportunities requires an entrepreneurial mindset. A mindset is the way your believe systems and experience lets you look at things. Building a business takes real work and effort, but it is best done with an attitude that embraces the initiative and risk involved in becoming your own boss. Stanford Professor, Carol S. Dweck, presented her research showing that hard work and mindset impact success more than natural talent, Dweck also argued that people have the ability to choose which mindset they wish to operate from.
An entrepreneurial mindset therefore enables you to spot opportunities where others can’t, to marshal capital and human resources needed to pursue this opportunity with energy and to persistently pursue this opportunity despite the challenges, the entrepreneurial motivation being value addition to your stakeholders profits notwithstanding.
Building an entrepreneurial mindset
The most successful entrepreneurs spend time nurturing the mindset that ensures they are best positioned for success. This can be achieved by considering the following:
Positive attitude is key, without it, you will lose the path to the entrepreneurial excellence. It’s within this belief that you’ll find the power to create the resilience and fortitude needed when starting and managing the business through the startup and survival stages.
Building a good company of friends enables you to think positively.
It also helps you to build the right networks. Whom you surround yourself with is among the most important choices you’ll make as you join the entrepreneurship wagon .Be keen to work closely with business mentors who play a great role in shaping your entrepreneurial mindset.
Set challenging but achievable goals; be clear about when you will start the business. Note that the direction the business will take in future must be inspired by your ambitions.
Do not be afraid to fail
It is important noting that entrepreneurs are not afraid to fail. They see failure as learning opportunity. Think about it if Thomas Edison was discouraged by failure probably today we would be still be using candles other than the light bulbs .He was quoted as saying he did not fail but found 10,000 ways that did not work.
See opportunities from problems
Learn to see opportunities from problems. Twenty year old university student, June Syowia, is leading in transforming the society by turning problems into opportunities. She is the youngest amongst the Business Daily Top 40 under 40 Women in Kenya. As a Dandora native, an estate that has for a long time been christened the dumpsite in the Kenyan capital, she has mobilized the locals to change this image by being the project coordinator at the Mustard Seed Organization. The initiative cleans up the estate and now has over 500 young people employed by it. She also owns blue-collar recruitment company, Syowaks Company, which basically provides labour to real estate and construction companies for jobs such as electrical wiring, masonry, carpentry and casual labourers.
Entrepreneurial mindset shapes your risk taking propensity. There are no guarantees on any path to success in life or business. However you cannot succeed unless you take the risk. 25 year old Kevin Macharia Kuria defied the odds by taking the risk and starting a business at a very young age. When one of his relatives was carjacked in 2011, Mr. Macharia founded Sunrise Tracking, a company that offers innovative security solutions for vehicles and buildings.
Although Mr. Macharia started his company with only ksh 30,000, Sunrise Tracking has grown rapidly to enable the more than one hundred customers and companies that contract with them to disable their stolen vehicle with a text message and track their vehicle through an automated fleet management system. In 2014, Sunrise Tracking was recognized as African Startup of the Year by CNN among many other awards.Mr. Macharia recognizes that formal education isn’t always enough. A university degree does not guarantee employment. He encourages other university graduates to engage in entrepreneurship to generate their own employment, employ others, and follow their dreams.
It is therefore worth noting that you can be a successful entrepreneur, all you need to do is perceive the world as a series of opportunities while you select and pursue the one most suitable business for you .Entrepreneurial mindset enables you to seek not the right time for a defined business, but look for the right business for the time.
The writer is a lecturer at the Faculty of Business, Computer Science & Communication