Anzisha Youth Entrepreneurship Survey 2016 - findings
The Anzisha Prize, a prestigious award for Africa’s best young entrepreneurs, published the Anzisha Youth Entrepreneurship Survey 2016 this month, which provides a snapshot of exactly what challenges young African entrepreneurs are facing.
The Entrepreneurship Survey is based on an emailed questionnaire answered by young entrepreneurs within the 15 to 25 age group, and located across the African continent. The survey focused on five areas of operating a business, namely growth, sales and marketing, human resources, funding and support.
It is hoped that stakeholders, such as policy makers, support organisations, and entrepreneurs will benefit from these insights. Survey respondents overwhelmingly stated that access to finance is their main barrier to growth, with 48 percent highlighting it as the biggest obstacle to expanding their companies. Only 27 percent of young entrepreneurs received any form of outside investment, with family members (59 percent) and grants (52 percent) being the major sources of funding accessible.
Despite challenges faced, 84 of entrepreneurs reported employing others, underscoring the employment creation potential of youth businesses. However, a large proportion of respondents (41 percent), described the level of support available to enable and scale young entrepreneurs in their countries as “poor” and “very poor”. This suggests that significant work remains to make it easier for young business people to succeed.
Anzisha Prize applications are currently open for young entrepreneurs between the ages of 15 and 22 to compete for a share of $100,000 in prize money and receive access to support and networks to scale their businesses. Applications will close on 15 April 2016. The Anzisha Prize is offered in partnership between The MasterCard Foundation and African Leadership Academy.
“African Leadership Academy is excited to be investing in research such as this,” said Josh Adler, Vice President, Global Programmes at African Leadership Academy. “It is our hope that this and future reports will guide the work of teachers, policy makers and other stakeholders in the youth development sector.”
The youth surveyed overwhelmingly reported pursuing entrepreneurship primarily to make a difference in the world (57 percent of respondents). They largely have a focus on communities and use face-to-face client visits as the primary sales channel (56 percent) and word of mouth as the primary marketing tool (83 percent). In terms of human resources, 84 percent of ventures reported having employees.
Young CEOs reward and incentivise their employees in a variety of ways, with training programmes (51 percent) and bonuses (47 percent) being the most popular. A large percentage also allow their employees to participate in the success of the business through profit sharing (37 percent). Young entrepreneurs are in a position to impact others through employment and skill building. However, they reported that the level of support available for entrepreneurs in their countries is inadequate.
“There is a large deficiency of knowledge and insights on young African entrepreneurs,” said Koffi Assouan, Program Manager at The MasterCard Foundation. “This report provides critical data that can drive programs and strategies to support youth entrepreneurship and spark a much needed conversation among practitioners and stakeholders in this space.”
The full survey report is available for download at http://www.AnzishaPrize.org/resources. Country level insights may be requested from the Anzisha Prize team.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.