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#YES you can: Young Entrepreneurship Summit inspires students to be job creators

The Centre for Psychological Services and Career Development (PsyCaD) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) hosted the Young Entrepreneurs Summit (YES) featuring keynote speaker Ms Rapelang Rabana on Tuesday 14 September, 2021.

The summit, a kick-start to the entrepreneurship journey, featured a variety of speakers including Roche Mamabolo, Leon Lategan, Sihle Mofokeng, Patrick Sibeko and Diketso Setho.

Ms Juliet Solomons, Coordinator for Employer Relations at PsyCaD, opened the discussion saying that entrepreneurship was something any student could benefit from.

“The #YES Programme is for students to consider entrepreneurship as a choice going forward. The norm is to come to university, get a qualification and go on to work for someone else. I think that has changed. You don’t need to only work for someone, you need to change your awareness and thinking and really consider creating employment,” she said.

The Young Entrepreneurs Summit aka #YES you can is an informative session providing young aspiring entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn about available programmes that are there to assist them in succeeding in their entrepreneurial journey. The session also provided real life stories from successful entrepreneurs who were able to share their advice, and motivation.

Ms Rabana, Founder of Rekindle Learning and FFWD Innovation, said entrepreneurship was a life journey and activity, “where you bring your whole self to the party”, and not an academic one.

She encouraged aspiring entrepreneurs to consider not taking on too many responsibilities when they were looking to invest in their own journeys. She added that while ideas were important, it was necessary to focus on the bigger picture of using your skills to your benefit.

“A key skill to have as an entrepreneur is the direction you want to go, the ability to validate yourself and push yourself towards your own vision. You need to have a depth for candid conversation and brutal honesty with yourself. Never lie to yourself.”

Mr Lategan, CEO of the School of Entrepreneurship, added that entrepreneurs needed assistance and to learn the art and science of creating, building and scaling a business so they could take charge of their financial future.

Mr Mofokeng, Fellowship Recruitment and Selection Officer: Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, reiterated Mr Lategan’s view adding that entrepreneurship was something that could be taught.

“We all should be entrepreneurial because we need to be thinking differently. Parents should stop asking their children what they want to be when they grow up but rather ask them what problems they want to solve and what they need to learn today to solve those problems at a later stage. Entrepreneurship is an opportunity discovery process.”

Tshimong Talks, a talk series hosted by Tshimong in collaboration with UJ Libraries also hosted a webinar on entrepreneurship on Monday 13 September.

Social entrepreneur and youth specialist Nolo Mokoena was in conversation with Tshimong co-founder Thami Pooe to discuss the topic: “Change the world, become an entrepreneur”.

Mokoena said it was important for people to understand their natural skills and competencies and use that to equip them to function in society.

“The key question to ask if you want to be an entrepreneur and to create something that adds value is to ask yourself – What am I passionate about? What am I good at? Between the two you use what skills you require – if that’s a degree, you go get it.”

He touched on entrepreneurship being a lonely road, false ideas of success, tapping into unusual markets and businesses to create jobs and failure being inevitable.

“As an entrepreneur it is not about what you do but who you become,” he added.

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