With unemployment rates as as high as 40% and above in some Arab countries, many people are looking for new ways to make a living, especially young people. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Middle East and North Africa have the highest youth unemployment rate in the world, at 28.2% and 30.5% respectively. When you consider the aforementioned numbers, it’s no wonder why an increasing number of young Arabs are seeking to found startups and generate profits on their own terms. That being so, that’s not the only reason that some young people are taking the startup path.
In 2014, Deloitte published a survey that found that millennials, individuals born between 1977 and 1997, feel that the success of a business shouldn’t only be determined by profits. They felt that businesses should also “focus on improving society.” The survey also indicated that 50% of the respondents wanted to work for a business with ethical practices. Considering that millennials will form 75% of the global workforce by 2025, it’s about time that we capitalize on their passion for “doing well, by doing good,” so we can drive innovative problem-solving, create more employment opportunities and affect positive change in the MENA region and the world.
Well…. if you feel that that’s easier said than done, then I would completely agree with you. Entrepreneurship is not easy and it shouldn’t be a decision that is taken lightly. Everyone wants to be like Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, but here’s the thing. That is not the typical entrepreneurial experience. With a little bit of luck and A LOT OF strategizing, your startup might not completely drain your savings. With a lot of luck, you could become the next Snapchat, Instagram or Airbnb. It ultimately all depends on your idea and the market, but don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to discourage you from choosing the startup path, I’m just trying to make sure you understand that it is stressful, messy and unpredictable. But it can also be exciting and extremely rewarding if you do it “right.”
“How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top.”
Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia
I put right in quotation marks, because I don’t think that there is just one way to be an entrepreneur, but there are a lot of wrong reasons to enter the game. If you’re ready to take responsibility for your life and make a change, whether it be starting your own business or just a career change, then I’m here to help you out. Now that I’ve given you the pep talk, it’s time for you to get your pep walk on by working on the Soukie Speaks: Getting Your Entrepreneurial Dream on Track form. A form that I created specifically for young people who don’t know if they’re ready for the startup path or if it’s the right path for them at all. As you work through this exercise, you should be able to identify your strengths, weaknesses and most importantly your OPPORTUNITIES for growth! Send the voice in your head packing for a couple of hours and focus on what YOU want to get out of your life by downloading the form [available in PDF or Doc formatbelow] and reflect deeply on your answers. Happy dream hunting!
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