Honing expertise in decolonising entrepreneurship -Newsday Zimbabwe

Charles Dhewa

In response to constant criticism for producing job seekers and not entrepreneurs, many African governments have established centers of innovation and entrepreneurship in universities. Although this is a noble cause, it has given the impression that business is something that can be taught in universities. On the other hand, the high level of business that is happening in the African food market shows that competition has little to do with academic training or a university degree.

In fact, the connection between business and formal education is one of the colonial legacies that African countries must silence as soon as possible. If formal education is the foundation of business, most university graduates should become entrepreneurs. Instead, entrepreneurship appears to be a domain for the uneducated or uneducated.

What is the meaning of wisdom if 70% of the food is handled by the weak?

The fact is that more than 70% of Africa’s food is bought in the African market in most of the food in the territory by small farmers, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and families low income, it shows how agriculture provides business opportunities to the masses regardless. level of formal education. It differs from colonialism in that it gives the right to share the wealth to the educated and to the exclusion of others. all.

While African food markets have shown their importance to many farmers, traders and consumers, policymakers have yet to come together. adequate support in terms of infrastructure and access to adequate funds. These markets operate 24 hours a day throughout the year, supporting millions of Africans as well as commercial and retail food and non-food businesses. That way these markets can develop equally, allowing everyone to participate and reducing barriers to participation.

Crossing barriers

African food markets have become experts in dealing with barriers such as age, gender and access to capital that have been common in Africa for many years. Many young people are excluded by economic structures. Although some women have been promoted by donors and non-governmental organizations, many women will be economic observers if there are no large markets in Africa. In the field of formal work, the term refers to women who reach higher positions on the corporate or national management ladder. such as being a politician, chief executive and other threatening positions. Little has been done to elevate women at the bottom such as those working in large food markets.

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By embracing many minorities including widows and the disabled, African food markets are playing a major role in dispelling the notion of commercialism that has been privileged in trying to create a business class that includes people in boardrooms. If there are too many barriers to entry such as the official economy, and the power of colonial roots, many activities are considered illegal and that is the reason for the many barriers in the participation is widespread, increasing business activity in Africa. When African lawmakers ask themselves why they have so many informal activities, an honest answer can point to the many barriers to entry in the few colonial businesses that exist today.

Emphasis on work experience disqualifies millions of young Africans from formal employment

The key question is how can African countries build their own special cultural economies to overcome barriers to participation? If experience becomes the main requirement for 90% of formal jobs, as is the case in formal businesses, then a whole generation of young people will be disqualified from participating in the formal sector due to lack of experience. This is a major barrier in many African countries. Education has also become another barrier in the African system that remains in the colonial system where educational needs are considered the only hope for someone who is better than other elements such as natural talent, passion, background and many others.

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From a recent survey conducted by eMKambo in major food markets in 10 African countries, less than 10% of respondents have reached secondary education, which varies from one country to another. . Less than 10% of people with no education up to primary level work in the same industries that over 90% have in the secondary level as well as a large percentage who have reached the higher levels. This shows that the level of education is not a barrier to participating in the African food market. On the other hand, the colonial food industry only provided jobs to a select few who would be better educated. It follows that African domestic markets are a typical example of an African ecosystem that is not classified in terms of education. Unlike colonial businesses, these markets recognize the value and contribution of all human beings to economic development.

New business style

In ecosystems that facilitate entry and exit as the main characteristics such as African food markets, family businesses and generational businesses are the main characteristics. This has become one of the main characteristics supporting the African food market. Lessons from many food markets can be a wake-up call for African countries to realize that their economies have taken years to evolve from being workers in Western businesses to being wage workers. .

For many years, no opportunities were given to Africans to start and run their own businesses because of the way the colonial economy was structured. The colonial system emphasized education for technical skills and jobs in large sectors such as mining, manufacturing and agriculture. The participation of workers in economic activity was terminated after dismissal, retirement or death. They used to change from within families. There is no opportunity for the development of an entrepreneurial mindset in Africa in many African economies.

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But the collapse of Western business in countries like Zimbabwe has created an opportunity for Africans to think outside the box. In recent years, many of them have resigned and former employees have begun to translate their professional skills into their own businesses such as food trade, carpentry, mechanical engineering and many others. When they found out that their husbands were unemployed, the women began to think about what they could do to supplement the small income of their husbands so that they could start trading food in the food markets. Due to the lack of formal jobs, the youth begin to help their parents in the family business and eventually develop the desire to be part of the business community or family business. All these processes had their origin in the African territory of the large food market which has become part of the development of businesses and businesses of many African countries.

Through the large food markets of the territory, some family businesses are strengthening relationships with other families and becoming a stable business organization where the roles of entrepreneurs are different and contribute together to the development of the economy. It is the same issue of the business expansion that African governments can use to develop growth strategies for territorial market development, starting from the development of related markets but the situation is different in the food market territory. For example, businesses may outsource operational responsibilities, others may develop and serve overseas markets while still have easy access to local food markets. This is better than the export business that continues to be exposed to many barriers to entry to many farmers, traders and SMEs that manage the economy of African families.

 Charles Dhewa is an information technology specialist and management specialist. He writes here on his own terms

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