Why it’s a great time to be a millennial woman entrepreneur in Africa

The Edit | by Melanie Hawken | 2 May 2015

After years of global economic pressure and lots of business uncertainty in the marketplace, there are signs of a new wave of optimism amongst entrepreneurs, and interestingly, this charge is being led by millennials who want to do things differently. It would appear that more and more young people are seeing entrepreneurship as a first choice career, not simply something to fall back on if that big corporate job doesn’t materialise. For this increasingly influential group of global citizens, it would appear that being your own boss is definitely high on the lifestyle and career wish-list.

This trend is being backed up by the latest findings published by Babson College’s Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, the annual must-read guide to entrepreneurship activity and trending in countries around the world. If one looks at the statistics of millennials in the US marketplace starting up new businesses, for example, the report suggests that the number of these new start-ups has risen by 3% in the last year, and climbing. The reason for this rise? It would appear that millennials not only want to have control over their own destinies and not be at the mercy of big, anonymous corporate decision-making, but they also want to find meaning in what they are doing, creating things that have integrity and which can make a difference to society as a whole. These are entrepreneurs with a conscience. They are also innovators, and want to create products and new ways of doing things that are breaking the mould, often choosing collaboration over independent brand-building.

Millennials want to find meaning in what they are doing, creating things that have integrity and which can make a difference to society as a whole.

Interestingly, the breaking down of barriers to entry for new entrepreneurs coming into the global marketplace is being enabled by the power of technology. Today, so many more people have a mobile phone or smartphone, an iPad, a laptop, and connectivity that allows them to startup a new business and run it more effectively without massive overheads. It has never been cheaper or easier to be a millennial startup, and the traditional business notions of needing large offices or factories and large workforces to be considered viable entities, has long gone. The rising trend of the coffee-shop entrepreneur has been largely led by the millennial entrepreneur, who prefers the relaxed and informal collaborative environment of the character-filled, urban or community coffee shop to a formal office environment in an anonymous building.

It has never been cheaper or easier to be a millennial startup, and the traditional business notions of needing large offices or factories and large workforces to be considered viable entities, has long gone.

Optimism amongst global entrepreneurs is on the rise, and this can also be seen here in Africa where, just like their global counterparts, millennials are leading this new wave of optimism for entrepreneurship and self-fulfilment by being one’s own boss. Young women entrepreneurs across all fields of business, industry and creativity on the African continent are making conscious decisions to take their destinies into their own hands. They are becoming the creators of new technology and business solutions that can make a positive contribution to the future development of the African continent. They are creating a beautiful and unique new aesthetic for Africa, through their innovative and mould-breaking approaches to fashion, design, architecture, product creation, and brand building. They are finding sustainable solutions to major environmental challenges on the continent through a new brand of eco-preneurship, many of them showing the rest of the world how to make a difference. And, they are building powerful new businesses and brands to be reckoned with on the global stage.

There has never been a better time for Africa’s millennial women entrepreneurs to shine and for their efforts to be recognised and supported by the rest of the world. It will be interesting to watch their progress over the coming years and to look at the impact they make to realising Africa’s socio-economic ambitions.


Originally published at www.lionessesofafrica.com on May 2, 2015.

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