As young girls, we may have thought that that success in the real world means success at a corporate job. Working towards this goal, you start first by making sure you do well in school, entering into a good university, passing at university and ultimately finding a prestigious job in the corporate world. It really is tempting to believe that success in the corporate world is the only success that matters. But when you get get exposed to different kinds of people and career paths, you realise it’s not.
Especially when you encounter entrepreneurship, where one can control their own destiny. Then you realise that corporate is not the be all and end all, and there’s far more available to you than climbing the corporate ladder. In my own life, I’ve come to see that there’s a huge misconception about entrepreneurship among women and I’d like to debunk some myths.
It’s not as daunting as you think
To some women, just the thought of struggling or having to put their lives into something that isn’t guaranteed to last, can be daunting.
There is more focus on the negative rather than the possibilities of making entrepreneurship work for you. It’s true that we all fear of the unknown. When you add unforeseen risk to that, staying in your comfort zone seems easier. But staying in comfort zones implies that you’re scared of what starting your own business might bring.
Yet there’s always hope.
I’ve learn a few things in the past two years. It comes from being exposed to what entrepreneurship is and meeting various people that have found their passion here. Most important to me is, the advantages of being familiar with entrepreneurship from an early age.
Girls graduating high school need to know that entrepreneurship is an option when it comes to career paths. Once girls understand what it is, and what they can contribute to this exciting career path, self-doubt will vanish. Here’s how it works.
No, I’m not saying young girls need to start hustling from high school. I mean that the knowledge needs to be instilled from there. This way when girls head to university, they know have an option to study entrepreneurship further.
During school career fairs, the concept of what entrepreneurship is and what it offers should be shared. The onus is also on the high schools to make entrepreneurship knowledge more reachable to students.
University and onwards
Though Africa has many good universities, we have limited options for entrepreneurship as a degree. I didn’t even know that you could study entrepreneurship formally. I recently found this out when my colleague told me about her daughter studying entrepreneurship in one of the universities in SA. I can’t lie, I was shocked. Most universities don’t offer a degree that isn’t related to a corporate field.
Still, it makes sense when you consider that pursuing entrepreneurship doesn’t necessarily mean you are saying goodbye to the corporate world. There are many #MotherlandMoguls who are successfully climbing the corporate ladder, while running their own businesses. In my opinion, if you have the opportunity of doing both, then you should take it. Juggling the work load might be too much, but at the end of the day the results will be fruitful and worth it.
Find a community
This is not as easy as you may think. It may be hard finding a community of like minds at first but more women are creating organisations that allow women to come together. With these groups, you can freely share interests, passions and ideas. I think such communities should become available for young women from high school onwards. (Imagine entrepreneurship clubs in high school).
This helps so young women won’t feel isolated in choosing this path. I’d like to see more communities for young women become a safe haven. This will help us relate to one another and create a trusted and supportive community.