As far as I can remember Jamaicans have had to deal with austerity measures. A significant number of Jamaicans can recall the Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAP’s) of the 1970’s, resulting from the complex and painful relationship with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which continues even to today.
There is a co-relation between poverty and a culture of
entrepreneurship. This association between poverty and entrepreneurship has
genesis in Jamaica’s folk culture. Cultural icon and scholar, Lousie Bennett
Coverley urges us to “tun our hands and make fashion”, however, many of us due to pride refuse from lifting a finger to help ourselves. A recent study done on
the role poverty plays on entrepreneurial activity by Laura Doering, assistant professor at
University of Toronto’s, Rotman School of Management revealed that
entrepreneurs are both catalyzed and limited by conditions of poverty. In the
same research Jamaica was placed seventh among the countries with the most
entrepreneurs. The list was headed by Uganda, Thailand and Brazil and was
rounded off by Cameroon, Vietnam, Angola, Botswana and Chile. The study looked
at the percentage of the population who owned or co-owned a business. This
findings support local research which indicates that there is a rise in young
Chief Executive Officers. According to a recent newspaper report, the lack of
opportunities, a high unemployment rate, the unbridled willingness to take
risks and a strong enthusiasm to be successful are fuelling an increasing
number of young Jamaicans to go into their own business.
In tough economic times the creativity and innovation of a
nation, especially the youth population usually is spurred into action
resulting in job creation and wealth building.
The time has come for the Ministry of Education, Youth and
Information to formally introduce a Youth Entrepreneurship course in the
national curriculum. The society urgently requires a paradigm shift in
education in which graduates are empowered to create their own jobs instead of
waiting to be called for employment. The economy has been stagnating over the
years and as a result not enough jobs are created to meet the needs of the
thousands of students who graduate yearly from secondary and tertiary
institutions. It bear thought that with Jamaica’s high crime rate the
government needs to explore more possibilities associated with youth
entrepreneurship to reduce our crime rate. At present the country has too many
unattached and at -risk youths, especially young men. The education system must
move with the times and become more proactive in order to meet the needs of our
Our students must be equipped with the knowledge, for
example, to conduct a feasibility study in order to determine which areas of
business are in demand.
With globalization, the entrepreneur no longer has to confine
his/her business plans locally. This has led to new possibilities especially
for the tech savvy youth. The growth of social media has assisted tremendously
in fostering business relationship and provides a great marketing tool for
goods and services.
According to the newspaper report small and medium-size
business (SME’s) are seeing a paradigm shift as young adults are turned off by
the nine to five workforce. We need to provide more funding for those risk
takers who are willing to create their own jobs by ensuring attractive interest
rates are available. We also need to ensure that training especially in
packaging and design are available to our local entrepreneurs.
In the words of Richard Branson, “for a successful entrepreneur it can mean extreme wealth. But
with extreme wealth comes extreme responsibility. And the responsibility for me
is to invest in creating new businesses, create jobs, employ people, and to put
money aside to tackle issues where we can make a difference”. As a society we need
to move towards a culture of entrepreneurship as this is only way Jamaica will
overcome the challenges of crime and high unemployment we face as a nation.
#employment #globalization #Jamaica #youth #entrepreneurship #empowerment #crime #socialmedia