In spite of the continent’s slowing economic growth, African entrepreneurs remain largely hopeful. The realities of young African entrepreneurs were revealed in the Anzisha Youth Entrepreneurship Survey 2016, a collaboration between the Anzisha Prize, along with the African Leadership Academy and MasterCard Foundation. The survey posited questions to 101 respondents living and conducting businesses in their respective African country.

 

Questions asked focused on five areas, namely growth, sales and marketing, human resources, funding, and support. 79 percent of the young entrepreneurs who responded to the survey expressed that they are very positive about the future. It is important to note that no one expressed negative feelings. Furthermore, often mentioned issues that may affect businesses, such as corruption, or lack of basic infrastructure, such as electricity, were not mentioned by respondents.

 

 

The survey also shows an extensive use of social media among young African entrepreneurs. While word-of-mouth remains the most popular form of sales and marketing, 57 percent of respondents invest in paid advertisements on social media. This should not suggest that young African entrepreneurs do not face any challenges. Specific challenges highlighted by respondents include lack of funding, high employee costs, and lack of access to skilled talent, among others.

 

In addition to this, the level of support for entrepreneurs in their respective countries was largely rated fair (43 percent), poor (24 percent) or very poor (17 percent). Entrepreneurship is seen as an answer to the grim state of youth unemployment in many African countries. In an affirmation of this, 84 percent of entrepreneurs surveyed employed others. Majority of respondents to the Anzisha survey expressed that they became entrepreneurs because they want to make a difference, then to market on untapped opportunities.  

 

Do young African entrepreneurs have reason to be so optimistic? Share your thoughts in a comment below or on Twitter @rafeeeeta