Nomad Africa Magazine - - Focus Africa | Commonwealth Supports Entrepreneurs - Words: MARTIN CHEMHERE

the event was hosted by Young En­trepreneurs South Africa (YESA), with Nun­no­va­tion Africa Foun­da­tion, Ig­niteSA and InWeGo as part­ners. A ‘net­work of net­works’ model, CAYESA brought to­gether na­tional net­works of young en­trepreneurs and or­gan­i­sa­tions, which are vested in sup­port­ing young en­trepreneurs, to en­gage with gov­ern­ments, the pri­vate sec­tor, the me­dia and other stake­hold­ers to cham­pion the cause of youth en­trepreneur­ship at the lo­cal, na­tional, re­gional and in­ter­na­tional level, and drive trade and good en­trepreneur­ship prac­tice and ed­u­ca­tion within and be­yond the South­ern Africa re­gion.

“It is very ex­cit­ing to see a CAYE al­liance form­ing in the South­ern Africa re­gion, which has so many pas­sion­ate and tal­ented young en­trepreneurs, all hun­gry to grow their busi­nesses and con­trib­ute to their coun­tries’ pros­per­ity. And as well as driv­ing trade within and across bor­ders, the coali­tion will give the young en­trepreneurs a voice with pol­icy mak­ers to en­hance the youth en­trepreneur­ship en­vi­ron­ment, and peer net­works for sup­port and shar­ing of ex­pe­ri­ences and good prac­tice,” says Kather­ine El­lis, Di­rec­tor Youth, Com­mon­wealth Sec­re­tariat.

The rep­re­sen­ta­tives of na­tional youth en­trepreneur­ship bod­ies from Botswana, Le­sotho, Mozam­bique, Malawi, Namibia,

The young busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment in South­ern Africa and the African con­ti­nent looks bright, fol­low­ing the re­cent launch in Jo­han­nes­burg, South Africa, of the Com­mon­wealth Al­liance of Young En­trepreneurs (CAYESA).

South Africa, Swazi­land and Zam­bia have of­fi­cially united un­der one voice in en­hanc­ing youth en­trepreneur­ship ecosys­tems and to fa­cil­i­tate col­lab­o­ra­tion on joint ac­tiv­i­ties that will pro­mote trade within the al­liance.

The gath­er­ing heard that some the ma­jor chal­lenges faced by youth en­trepreneurs in the eight mem­ber coun­tries that were part of the con­fer­ence and the African con­ti­nent in gen­eral in­cluded ac­cess to fi­nance, busi­ness sus­tain­abil­ity, coach­ing and men­tor­ship.

The new al­liance will link and sup­port young African en­trepreneurs as they aim to con­trib­ute at the heart of na­tional de­vel­op­ment. The con­nec­tions will help drive trade and em­ploy­ment, and build re­gional co­he­sion, in di­rect align­ment with Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals 8 (Pro­mote sus­tained, in­clu­sive and sus­tain­able eco­nomic growth, full and pro­duc­tive em­ploy­ment and de­cent work for all) and 16 (Pro­mote peace­ful and in­clu­sive so­ci­eties for sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment).

An ex­ec­u­tive team was elected re­cently, with a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from each coun­try; the team will be led by South African, KaraboSongo, an es­teemed en­trepreneur, who has played a piv­otal role in job cre­ation and ad­vanc­ing eco­nomic growth in the cre­ative in­dus­try.

For young en­trepreneurs, there is im­mense po­ten­tial in hav­ing a plat­form that links young en­trepreneurs within and be­tween each re­gion of the Com­mon­wealth, and also with the rest of the world through links with such groups as the G20 Young En­trepreneurs Al­liance (G20 YEA). One of the top pri­or­i­ties of CAYESA is to tackle the triple chal­lenge of unem­ploy­ment, poverty and inequal­ity through cross-bor­der trade fa­cil­i­ta­tions. Ap­pointed CAYESA ad­vi­sor, Ms In­no­cen­tia Mo­tau, called upon other or­gan­i­sa­tions which sup­port en­trepreneurs “to back the vi­sion of CAYESA in fos­ter­ing eco­nomic re­gional in­te­gra­tion.”

Each of the mem­ber or­gan­i­sa­tion has a men­tor­ship ini­tia­tive in place and there will be a bi-an­nual re­view of its im­pact, gaps and strat­egy im­prove­ment.

Men­tor­ship is as good as the avail­abil­ity of men­tors. It was there­fore en­cour­aged to put more ef­fort into re­cruit­ing good men­tors and ad­vice them to be avail­able to guide and coach young en­trepreneurs on the busi­ness jour­ney.

CAYESA will set up a timetable of the trade mis­sions based on agreed bi­lat­eral and ex­ist­ing be­tween mem­ber coun­tries, they will en­sure that their uni­fied voice is heard at the level of the SADC Com­mu­nity, African Union and SACU (South­ern Africa Cus­toms Union).

Lastly but not least of all, CAYESA will seek to source knowl­edge part­ners, who will en­sure that im­pact is mon­i­tored and mea­sured.

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