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Entrepreneurship among Rural Youth

Robert

The nature of rural communities is such that the vast majority of the economic activities sustaining them are concentrated solely within their limits. Rural economies depend on small locally owned businesses and with the decline in the availability of many traditional employment opportunities this is becoming ever more critical. However in many ways, people idealize the prospect of living in areas that allow them to remain in a state of connection with their surroundings. Thus people in villages are experiencing grinding poverty, under employment, widespread illiteracy, use of primitive technology, low rates of saving and investments, gross inter-regional and intra-regional inequalities of incomes and wealth and mounting inflation pressure still continue.

Rural poverty has some universal characteristics, but the problems youth face require locally grounded solutions. Various age and social groups have been hit in varying scales and degrees by the economic crisis, the unemployed youths are the most affected. Rural youth face considerable challenges in accessing productive and decent employment opportunities. The rural youth are often portrayed by low productivity, informality and high levels of unemployment. Many young workers are paid less than the minimum wage and work long hours without access to social protection or adequate representation. Youth unemployment can be seen as a form of deprivation robbing youth of the benefits of work and represents a dark era in their personal and social development.  Consequently, many young people have sought opportunities elsewhere. The pressure from the loss of local talent and drain on resources can make the future of many rural communities uncertain.

Most disadvantaged youth live in rural communities whose weak economies offer them few possibilities to obtain decent employment and their numbers are growing. Meaningful employment for young people is essential to achieve sustainable economic development; however they often lack relevant market skills and are not provided real opportunities. They perceive lack of capital, lack of skill, lack of support, lack of market opportunities and risk as the main obstacles to entrepreneurial intention. Young people are more vulnerable to external changes such as changes in climate, economic crisis, or political and social changes and may have different needs and aspirations, depending on their local environment. Adaptability and adjustability can be the lifeline of a programme, as situations arise and evolve. The problem of youth unemployment and under-employment poses complex political, socio-economic and moral policy issues. The need to create viable economic opportunities to engage rural youth is vital.

The current youth prominence offers an exceptional opportunity for practitioners and governments to harness the energy, motivation, and innovation of these young people to bolster economic development and social change, while addressing pressing food security needs. For rural youth in particular, new business creation can present an important and viable opportunity to earn a decent living. Thus promoting self employment as a realistic career path is one way in which this issue can be addressed, supporting young people to consider if self employment may be a viable option for them. In this context entrepreneurship can be a powerful tool to help fight youth unemployment. Entrepreneurship provides opportunities for skill diversification among the rural population as well as attracting new residents, thereby providing stimulus for the growth of the rural economy. Youth entrepreneurship can reduce crime, poverty, drug addiction, and income inequality. This indirectly will encourage an environment for society’s economic growth and development.

Youth entrepreneurship offers innovative solutions for economic growth among young people. Entrepreneurship including youth entrepreneurship improves the general standard of society as a whole, which leads to political stability and national security. Entrepreneurship is increasingly recognized as a fundamental component of economic growth, employment generation, and innovation. It helps strengthen social networks, giving a sense of belonging and opportunity to add value to the local community and economy. Entrepreneurship through the creation of a new business can be considered as an alternative vocational choice that has the potential to exploit the human capital of young individuals.

 Many young people turn to entrepreneurship because of lacking job opportunities. But they might not always be in entrepreneurial roles. Consequently reduction of poverty and removal of unemployment cannot be achieved without social transformation which Involves educational development, growth in creating awareness and change in outlook, motivation and attitudes. Providing education and training is not sufficient to reach meaningful employment. Many trained young people don’t have relevant skills or are perceived as lacking in motivation, and don’t get worthwhile opportunities. Hence the unique needs of rural youth can be addressed through a holistic approach that places high-quality small business and life skills training alongside relevant technical training like agronomy, animal husbandry, handicraft production, dairy science, horticulture. Life skills development plays a particularly important role to help youth work on competencies such as self-confidence, creative thinking, risk taking, and decision making, along with skills, such as project and money management that let them re-think entrepreneurship and agriculture as viable, personally-meaningful, income-generating options. However most youth programmes focus on entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurship ecosystem, but don’t take into account the role of the family and community.  Finding ways to engage and gain support from families and communities is vital. Development programmes that feature skills training that can be used beyond the end of the project are more attractive to youth, families and communities. Successful youth entrepreneurship is possible if the youths possess the characteristics of entrepreneurs. These characteristics include a desire to start own enterprise, readiness to undertake any venture and activity of which the outcome and result is shrouded in a state of uncertainty, vision, single-mindedness, perseverance, high need for achievement, initiative and responsibility. Doing so also has the potential to broaden the industrial base of rural areas, taking advantage of the opportunities presented by developing business ideas in new or emerging sectors and markets.

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