Recently I have returned from a conference called One Young World and in the past years as I have been engaged with dynamic young people from various backgrounds, it is more evident that we don’t want to be spectators in the creation of the world that we will inherit. Lately we have seen young people participating in the main stream of politics, economics and social activities; mobilizing to challenge politicians in countries like Egypt; innovating powerful technological products and services that affected the business community like Apple.
There is a fact I like to mention which states, “Young people make up about 43 percent of the world’s population, but they are 100 percent of the future”. As much as that is true, we have to realize that in order for nations to triumph and have a brighter future, there has to be potent structures in youth advancement to ensure the continuous success of the globe. The unemployment rate is higher than ever before, and the major part of it is made up by the youth. It has been discovered that to combat concerns of unemployment and poverty there has to be an increased participation of the youth in the establishment of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), even bigger corporations, and a greater focus on education.
Today there are many organizations and companies set to fulfill this purpose, but still the participation of the youth in entrepreneurship is less than 45 percent globally; this small percentage is due to factors such as lack of start-up capital and necessary skills and a hampering bureaucracy among many others. Furthermore, out of 28 start-ups, only one survives in the first three years; the paramount challenge is sustainability, as corporate companies globally took note that companies fight for survival above anything else (higher than shareholder’s value) because they do not exist above 33 years on average (others passed that mark, but did not survive till this day like Lehman Brothers). Entrepreneurship is mostly expounded about than acted upon. “The challenges facing business and government are not lack of ideas or policies but implementation,” Marko Saravanja observed, “life happens at the level of action and not words and thoughts.”
Educationally, there are improvements which are still unsatisfactory, but I choose not to further accentuate the negativities. We have noticed the great role the youth have played in the 20th century in politics particularly in my country, South Africa, in 1976 during the apartheid era and during the 21st century in economics. Youth have reinvented the business arena through Internet and social media with the likes of Facebook, Google and Twitter and their influence to the marketing strategies of companies like MTN’s marketing campaign of, Ayoba, Telkom’s 8ta and many other corporations that have profoundly seen the essence of the youth market in driving their profit margins.
The youth of today are not spectators, but are involved in shaping the outcomes of their future. Young people have enormous amount of energy which need to be channelled into the right direction to get the uttermost results with the guidance of the elders who have wealth of wisdom in many facets of life. This is the drive behind Generation Ultimate, the organisation I recently founded to address the development of youth empowerment in entrepreneurship, leadership and education. It’s an organisation managed by the youth for the youth, as we understand what the youth are facing in the current dispensation.
We have come to terms with the fact that if we want to make a meaningful impact, we have to contemplate immensely and strive for the impossible in order to attain the best possible. We look at youth development from a distinguished angle; we will be covering a broad spectrum of youth advancement. Interdependency is the way to go, because we can accomplish more in joint effort than we ever can in solo fight.
The time when we stood on the side line waiting for things to happen is over, let’s stand up and make it happen, cause successful change goes beyond ourselves. “The time is always right, Martin Luther King articulated, “to do what is right”