Building Bridges to Success Through Entrepreneurship Seminar

Swaziland is currently facing a high unemployment rate. Up to 40% of youth aged 15-39 are unemployed and in some age brackets the statistics are above 53%. The rate at which industry absorbs qualified young people is very low in proportion to the numbers produced by tertiary institutions annually. Young graduates with qualifications ranging from diplomas, bachelors, honors degrees and above find getting employed difficult because the job market has no room for them in the current economy. Tertiary institutions are producing 80% more qualified professionals than the economy can absorb annually.

A challenge young people face while seeking employment is that of job experience as majority of the jobs available require years of experience. Having recently completed their degree, these young candidates do not have the experience demanded by industry thus cannot take up the jobs on offer. Structured mentorship/apprenticeship programmes for youth to gain experience they are lacking and this further disadvantages job seeking youth

Those who wish to start businesses come across the challenge of funding Often youth do not know how to navigate the different avenues in order to get financing for the businesses they wish to start. Even if they may know the different institutions that they can try get funding from, their lack of assets for-surety/security becomes a bottleneck.

Another issue that is faced by those who want to start their own business is the issue of how to find the markets for the products and services that they look to venture into. Despite good products and services, not having great understanding of the market they are going into can mean they are producing for a saturated market.

Only 27% of adolescents who should be in school actually attend school in Swaziland. This creates a class of ‘unemployable’ youth who end up employed as manual laboureres or cheap/dispensable/temporary/seasonal labour. Too often, the wages they earn cannot met the needs they have and this phenomenon lends itself to criminal propensity. The problem, therefore, is with both those who do go to school and can’t get a job and those who can’t go to school and end up unemployed.

The aim of this empowerment session is to bring together people from the financial sector, the economic sector and different employment sectors together with the youth who wish to enter these different business sectors so that the questions that those who are seeking employment may be answered. The interaction between public and private sector players in the entrepreneurial field and funding institutions that promote and finance entrepreneurial activity will have a positive spin off especially in favour of the young unemployed people. Young people can learn what employers are seeking in potential employees, how to position themselves strategically for interviews, how to structure funding proposals for favourable review and consideration.

Institutions dealing with funding can help the organizers of the summit understand the gaps and suggest practical ways that can be filled by the church. This will inform the follow up actions the Let’s Go to Glory (LGTG) Worship Centre team will do in subsequent sessions. A first hand understanding of the challenges from the perspective of funders will be a shaping instrument for the continuation and growth of the programme.

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