Starting a business is an exciting endeavour, particularly for the youth. With boundless energy, creativity, adaptability, and a strong desire to effect change, young entrepreneurs have the capacity to influence the future of global economies.

Considering South Africa’s current unemployment rate of 32%, there is a pressing need for young people to explore entrepreneurship as a means of creating opportunities for themselves.

Recognised as one of Africa’s talented and accomplished business leaders, Mikaeel Moti, the 25-year-old executive director of the Moti Group, offers someinsights and tips crafted specifically for young entrepreneurs. His advice is designed to provide them with the necessary knowledge and tools to effectively navigate challenges, capitalise on opportunities, and establish a strong foundation for their entrepreneurial ventures.

  • Prove Your Worth: Take steps to demonstrate your credibility and preparedness. Conduct thorough market research, develop financial management skills, and learn about operational logistics to instil confidence in potential investors. For example, if you’re starting a tech company, conduct market research to identify gaps in existing solutions. Develop a prototype or MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to showcase your idea’s potential to investors. Even if it’s not your forte, learn financial management by taking online courses or attending practical workshops, and create a comprehensive business plan outlining your strategies for growth and sustainability.
  • Embrace Competition Creatively: Don’t be discouraged by established or older players in your industry. Instead, focus on differentiation through innovation, persistence, and a unique value proposition. In the highly competitive technology sector, simply replicating existing solutions is unlikely to yield success. Let’s say you’re entering the food delivery industry dominated by big players. Instead of replicating their models, focus on differentiation through unique offerings such as locally sourced organic ingredients, specialised diets like vegan or gluten-free, or a personalised customer experience through customisable meal options or quick delivery times. Spot the pain points, find a unique solution and use it to your business advantage.
  • Accept Setbacks as Stepping Stones to Success: Recognise that failure is a natural part of the entrepreneurial process. Instead of letting fear paralyse you, view setbacks as opportunities for growth and learning. To truly embrace the entrepreneurial journey, you must overcome the fear of failure and view setbacks as opportunities for growth. Imagine the young Louis Vuitton facing manufacturing challenges in its early years, hindering his ability to produce the iconic trunks. However, rather than surrendering, the brand used these setbacks to refine its manufacturing processes, eventually establishing itself as a symbol of luxury, quality, and sustainability. Today, Bernard Arnault, the Chairman and CEO of LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy), has surpassed Elon Musk as the world’s wealthiest individual with a net worth of $207.8 billion, as reported by Forbes.
  • Tap into Support Ecosystems: Take advantage of government initiatives, private sector programs, and entrepreneurial networks to access mentorship, funding, and other resources. The journey of entrepreneurship can be daunting, but with the right support systems in place, young entrepreneurs can thrive. Explore government grants or loans for young entrepreneurs, join startup incubators or accelerators offering mentorship and networking opportunities, and become active in entrepreneurial communities both online and offline to connect with like-minded individuals and potential collaborators.
  • Innovate and Disrupt: Use your fresh perspective to challenge the status quo and introduce disruptive innovations that create new markets and drive economic growth. Innovation lies at the heart of entrepreneurship, driving progress, growth, and societal change. Consider the example of Uber founders, Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick, who were both in their early 30s when they started the company in 2009. As young entrepreneurs they noticed inefficiencies in traditional taxi services and founded the ride-sharing app. By leveraging technology and optimising routes, they disrupted the transportation industry, offering a convenient and cost-effective alternative to traditional taxis while creating income opportunities for drivers.

“It is important to acknowledge that your entrepreneurial journey will be full of challenges. However, the current landscape in South Africa presents abundant opportunities for those willing to capitalise on them now. The environment is ripe with potential for growth and meaningful impact. By embracing these tips and leveraging on youthful enthusiasm and resilience, young entrepreneurs can overcome obstacles, innovate in their industries, and actively contribute to economic prosperity,” concludes Mikaeel Moti.