A recent survey reveals that many African business students prefer to be entrepreneurs and self-employed.
The Association of Business Executives’ Entrepreneurship in Africa report found 72% of its more than 13000 students across Africa would choose to be their own boss, compared with 28% who would like to be employed. And 93% would like to “be the boss of other people”.
Jonathan Swindell, head of business development and publishing at Association of Business Executives, said the students also recognised the continent’s role on the international business stage, with the largest number having their eyes firmly set on trade with the European Union.
“The results clearly show the level of entrepreneurial enthusiasm across Africa, buoyed by the students’ confidence in the continent’s recent economic success,” Swindell said.
“More than half the entrepreneurs polled believe that Africa’s current boom will last at least another 10 years.”
But there were barriers to taking advantage of booming business: 37% of respondents said getting finance and business banking services was the biggest hurdle, followed by a lack of skills (22%) and a non-entrepreneurial culture (16%).
Corruption, crime, education and the health system have been identified as the biggest challenges facing small businesses, which has seen the country left behind in terms of entrepreneurial activity.
“These four challenges, unless resolved, will continue to debilitate this country’s capacity to develop and support small business owners, and may in fact negate some of the positive initiatives which are taking place, rendering them a complete waste of time and money,” reads the report.
“Stimulating entrepreneurship, and then supporting it appropriately, will need considerable reforms, starting at the uppermost echelons of government.”
Swindell acknowledged that much still needed to be done to support entrepreneurs. “Africa boasts six of the world’s fastest-growing economies, but as many of the entrepreneurs questioned believe, greater emphasis must be placed on entrepreneurship education.”