Empowering youth with hands-on business experience

What you need to know:

  • From setting up stalls to interacting with potential customers, the young entrepreneurs gained invaluable insights into the practical aspects of business operations.

The recently concluded Tanzania Children and Youth Business Fair marked a significant milestone in promoting entrepreneurial education among young people.

The fair, organised by Jenga Hub and Kids Finance with Tracy, provided an exceptional platform for 100 children and youth to acquire and enhance their entrepreneurial skills, marking its fourth year. More than 400 children have visited the fair so far, impressed and inspired by their peers' business acumen.

The ten-day event drew participants from various backgrounds, offering them an opportunity to engage in hands-on learning experiences tailored to their respective levels of exposure and expertise in business. Its structure was meticulously designed to cater to participants at different stages of their entrepreneurial journey.

For those attending for the first time, the event served as a beginner’s guide to entrepreneurship, introducing them to fundamental concepts and practices. Participants returning for their second year were placed in the intermediate category, where they built upon their existing knowledge and skills.

Meanwhile, those in their third year of participation were recognised as pros, reflecting their advanced understanding and experience in running small businesses. Each level was carefully curated to ensure participants received appropriate training and support.

Beginners were introduced to the basics of starting a business, including idea generation, planning, and execution. Intermediate participants delved deeper into business operations, marketing strategies, and financial management. The pros, on the other hand, focused on scaling their businesses, exploring innovative growth strategies, and refining their leadership skills.

Whitney Wilbert, a beginner participant, told Smart World, "This is my first time attending the fair, and it has been an eye-opening experience. I have learned how to develop a business idea and take the first steps to make it a reality. I now feel more confident about starting my own small business."

Costantine John, an intermediate participant, reflected on his growth over the years. "Being in my second year, I was able to build on what I learned last year. The workshops on marketing strategies and financial management were particularly helpful. I feel better equipped to handle the challenges of running a business."

Precious Cuthbert, a pro participant, shared her insights on scaling her business. "This has been an incredible journey. As a third-year participant, I focused on expanding my business and exploring new markets. The mentorship and networking opportunities have been invaluable," she noted.

Malisa Echara, a young entrepreneur showcasing her business for the first time, expressed her excitement. "Presenting my business to an audience was a thrilling experience. It helped me understand my customers' needs better and gave me confidence in my product. I'm motivated to continue growing my business." 

Calvin Nginila, another participant, highlighted the importance of financial literacy. "Learning about budgeting and managing finances has been a game-changer for me. I now understand how to save and invest wisely. This knowledge will definitely help me in my personal and business life," he revealed.

One of the fair's highlights was the opportunity for participants to showcase their businesses. This not only allowed them to demonstrate their products and services but also provided the real-world experience of running a business.

From setting up stalls to interacting with potential customers, the young entrepreneurs gained invaluable insights into the practical aspects of business operations.

The showcase also played a crucial role in building the participants' confidence. Presenting their ideas and products to an audience helped them develop essential communication and presentation skills.

This experience is particularly beneficial in preparing them for future endeavours, where confidence and clarity in conveying ideas are paramount.

Ms Tracy Rabi, the founder of Kids Finance with Tracy, underscored the importance of early financial education.

"Financial literacy is not just about managing money; it's about making informed decisions that affect every aspect of life. Teaching children about finances early on empowers them to be proactive and responsible individuals. The fair is an excellent opportunity for them to learn these vital skills in a supportive and engaging environment," she noted.

Beyond business operations, the fair placed significant emphasis on entrepreneurial skills and financial literacy. Participants were taught various skills necessary for successful entrepreneurship, including problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity.

Classroom sessions, interactive sessions by the trainers, invited experts from different entities such as banks, field visits, and practical workshops were conducted to help them understand the importance of these skills in overcoming challenges and seizing opportunities in the business world.

Participants learned about budgeting, saving, investing, and managing finances effectively. These lessons are crucial in equipping young entrepreneurs with the knowledge they need to make informed financial decisions, both in their businesses and personal lives.

By instilling these principles early on, the fair aimed to prepare participants to become responsible and financially savvy managers in the future.

Ms Happiness Chessa, the Curriculum Manager at Jenga Hub, highlighted the critical role of parents in nurturing entrepreneurial skills in their children.

"Parents play a pivotal role in shaping their children's future. Involving them early in entrepreneurial education and financial literacy prepares them to navigate the complexities of the business world with confidence and competence. It's about giving them the tools to create opportunities for themselves and others," she advised.

Another essential aspect of the fair was its focus on preparing participants to be conscientious taxpayers. Understanding tax obligations and the role of taxes in national development is fundamental for any entrepreneur.

The fair provided insights into the tax system, the importance of compliance, and how taxes contribute to societal growth. The event sought to foster a culture of responsibility and integrity among the next generation of business leaders.

Dr Amos Nungu, the Director General of the Commission for Science and Technology, emphasised the long-term benefits of such initiatives.

"The Tanzania Children and Youth Business Fair is a groundbreaking platform that equips our young people with the skills and knowledge necessary for their future success,” he noted.

Dr Nungu said that by fostering entrepreneurial thinking and financial literacy from a young age, we are building a generation of innovative thinkers and responsible citizens who will drive our economy forward.