Grenada over the past years has been plagued with many problems economic in nature, and there doesn’t seem to be a one size fits all solution to the problems that we are facing as a country. One of the most popular approaches that is taken in Grenada, for dealing with the problems we have been facing, is the “passing the buck” approach. Everyone seems very comfortable with blaming someone else for the problems that we are facing as a country. However, the problem with this approach is that it doesn’t point us in the right direction towards obtaining a suitable solution.
It appears as though, persons prefer to play the proverbial “blame game”, in an effort to stray from the issues at hand. I do not believe it matters who is responsible for the economic problems that we are currently facing. What I do believe though, is that our focus should be on identifying solutions to these growing problems.
One of the major problems Grenada is facing at the moment is that of youth unemployment. On a yearly basis, hundreds of young people graduate from the T.A. Marryshow Community College in search of jobs, while there are those graduating from universities and other secondary and tertiary learning institutions. The private and public sectors cannot provide the much needed jobs for these young people, and so the unemployment rate is increasing significantly.
One of the approaches taken in Grenada, to help deal with the issue of Youth Unemployment is that of the Imani Programme, where young people are placed in institutions to receive the job training which can prove to be valuable working experience for jobs later in life. However, I believe that there is an even better solution that would require a change of mindset, and also a change of curriculum in our schools in Grenada and beyond.
Entrepreneurship, I believe, is one of the greatest avenues for helping to alleviate youth unemployment. Entrepreneurship is a great avenue for employment generation, and wealth creation. A culture of entrepreneurship needs to be developed in Grenada, and it needs to start in our school system. One of the things I have always heard parents and teachers say to children is, “Go to school, get good grades so that you can get a good job.” And from a very young age, we are cultured to go to school, complete our education and go in search of a job in the end. We have what Robert Kiyosaki calls, “the employee mindset”.
We need to present entrepreneurship as an option to our young people, especially at the secondary school level. Students need to know that they do not need to leave school and go look for jobs, but that they can leave school and create jobs, thereby creating employment not only for themselves, but also for others.
Entrepreneurship is the key driver of our economy and I firmly believe that fostering an entrepreneurial culture can maximize individual and collective economic and social successes, locally, regionally and internationally. Once entrepreneurship is encouraged, young people are empowered to create their own opportunities, and that is one of the most important ways by which we can deal with youth unemployment.
We need to help our young people become less dependent on government, and other institutions to provide for them, and start encouraging them to provide for themselves. It is ever so easy nowadays to become an entrepreneur. One of the first things that needs to be done is to have a business idea, and business ideas can come from different places. It can be a skill that you have that you can turn into a business, or maybe something you see not being done properly, and you think you can do a better job at it.
Once you have your business idea, you need to identify your target customers, who will be the ones paying for your product or service. How do you present the idea to others? Is it via drawing or working protocols? The ability to sell it to people is critical. You need to also identify a team of people who share your vision, and your desire to make your business happen. You will also need to know what resources are needed, identify the purchasing cycle for the product or service, create a sales forecast and assess whether it is reasonable. It is also very important to consider whether you have the necessary skills to take this business forward. These are just some of the basic pointers that persons can use to start developing a business.
Grenada and other countries like it, can move forward towards a culture of entrepreneurship, if it is properly introduced. This culture also needs to be supported by government and other institutions, by them providing technical support, access to funding, and other support to young people. This is one of the ways that Grenada can progress as a country, and help reduce the rate of youth unemployment which is growing daily.
Originally published on huffingtonpost.com