A New Entrepreneurial Mindset Learning Program for Eswatini

In April 2023, WITAD will facilitate the first Entrepreneurial Mindset Learning Program in Eswatini. The youth and women need to prepare for their careers (employment or business) by learning to manage themselves in a way that creates value for others and makes them globally competitive. WITAD is bringing an Entrepreneurial Mindset Learning Program to help prepare the youth and women on the inside before they take new action in their organisation or small business venture. According to Mrs Sebenzile Dlamini, the Founder and Executive Director of WITAD, this program will facilitate the development of good mental habits, attitudes, and values that enable the youth and women to unleash their innovative and entrepreneurial potential with a high level of accountability to self and others. It is an experiential problem-based learning system, designed to expose participants to the fundamental aspects of an entrepreneurial mindset and the mental habits of highly effective people. By empowering these two categories of the population (more than 50% of the population) with an entrepreneurial mindset, Eswatini can increase per capita income and reduce income inequality.

 

The Problem

The youth and women are disproportionately affected by the lack of economic empowerment laws, competitive education curriculum, weak or no business infrastructure in rural areas (about 70% of land), over-regulated markets (monopoly creation), and lack of suitable financial tools for innovation and idea manifestation (early-stage business). These challenges cause the low success rate of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), high proportion of informal businesses, high youth unemployment rate, declining competitiveness of local graduates in the regional and global labour market, inequality and poverty. Considering the empowerment provisions of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland and National Development Strategy, these ingredients should have been stated in laws, national and sectoral policies and implemented by various institutions in this 21st century.

Several Government Ministries, state-owned enterprises, private companies, and not-for-profit organisations have been implementing a mix of economic empowerment programs for the youth. These have been primarily through the provision of small business development services including extension services for the smallholder farmers. However, to date there remains a low social impact, an even lower return on invested capital (ROIC), and an unsatisfactory utilisation rate of the services and infrastructure targeting small businesses in Eswatini.

Besides the structural issues mentioned above, one of the limitations of the current empowerment approaches in Eswatini is that they emphasize the acquisition of business management skills (e.g. marketing, record keeping, or writing a business plan) as a means to achieve economic productivity of the unemployed youth and women. The belief is that those with an idea or need for starting a business possess sufficient ground for succeeding at it, after learning a few business subjects. However, this is not true as observed by Stephen Covey author of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, who said “no matter how competent a person is, they will not have sustained and lasting success unless they can effectively lead themselves, influence, engage and collaborate with others and continuously improve and renew their capabilities. These elements are at the heart of personal and organization effectiveness”.

Uniqueness of the Entrepreneurial Mindset Learning Program

This is a comprehensive and transformative program to better prepare upcoming entrepreneurs and young professionals for success. It will be delivered over a 6-weeks’ period, hybrid style i.e. 4 online sessions and 2 in-person sessions, and culminate into Certification in Entrepreneurial Mindset. WITAD will combine self-discovery and self-leadership processes and tools with the eight fundamental concepts of the Ice-House Entrepreneurship Program which are Power of Choice, Recognising Opportunity, Ideas into Action, Pursuit of Knowledge, Creating Wealth, Building Your Brand, Creating Community, and Power of Persistence. The program will help the youth and women who have limited resources to learn how to identify, evaluate and transform new ideas into successful endeavours. In doing so, WITAD will give participants access to an international culture of entrepreneurship and accountability.

WITAD has partnered with the US based social enterprise known as Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative (ELI) and the US based Petritz Foundation to make the program accessible to Emaswati. The Ice-House Entrepreneurship Program has been recognized by the Kauffman Foundation as “redefining entrepreneurship education in classrooms and communities around the world.” It has been featured at the United Nations General Assembly, the Papal Council for Peace and Justice at the Vatican, and the European Commission in Brussels and it is currently being delivered in 30 countries worldwide.

Upon completing the program, participants will be eligible to access WITAD’s small business development services which are delivered online and in-person to strengthen business skills and facilitate access to finance, networks, and markets. To learn more about this program and register contact us via info@witad.org.sz

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