Demographic Determinants of Youth Entrepreneurial Success

Demographic Determinants of Youth Entrepreneurial Success

DOI: 10.4018/IJSECSR.2020070101
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Youth entrepreneurship has become an interesting phenomenon that has attracted much attention from academics, practitioners, and policymakers across the globe during recent years. The main objective of the paper is to analyze the demographic determinants of youth entrepreneurial success. Employing explanatory research design with a sample of 100 youth entrepreneurs in Gweru who completed the questionnaires, the hypotheses are analyzed using Pearson's correlation and regression analysis in an effort to empirically determine the influence of demographic factors on youth entrepreneurial success. The results show a strong and significant association between entrepreneurial experience and youth entrepreneurial success, a weak positive and significant association between educational qualification and youth entrepreneurial success, a weak negative association between age and youth entrepreneurial success, and a weak negative and significant relationship between gender and youth entrepreneurial success. These outcomes have significant implications for theory, practice, and future research.
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In recent years, fostering entrepreneurship especially among the youths has been widely accepted as the engine for sustainable economic growth worldwide. Notably, youth entrepreneurship is a topical issue within the field of entrepreneurship in the face of the high unemployment levels of youths around the world (Dlamini & Bimha, 2017; Sambo, 2016; Potabatti & Boob, 2015; Baporikar, 2014). Accordingly, youth entrepreneurship has drawn much attention from academicians, practitioners, and policymakers during the past few years. Nonetheless, the nexus between demographic factors and entrepreneurial success is very controversial (Genty, 2015). In fact, there is a notable literature gap when it comes to nexus between demographic factors and youth entrepreneurial success. With this apparent observation in mind, Genty (2015) underscored that not much is known about the influence of demographic factors on entrepreneurial success in the context of developing countries. Accordingly, it appears to be justifiable to conduct more studies in the context of developing countries like Zimbabwe in an attempt to broaden our understanding of the influence of demographic factors on youth entrepreneurial success.

At the global level, the youth labor force plummeted by 34.9 million even though the youth population has increased by 139 million individuals as from 1997 to 2017 (International Labour Organisation, 2017). In this regard, it is salient to observe that there has been a considerable increase in young and economically active people who find themselves being unemployed worldwide. In particular, the high youth unemployment rate in sub-Saharan Africa is a big challenge (International Labour Organisation, 2017). While many African countries have recently experienced strong economic growth, youth unemployment is still a major socio-economic and political challenge in Africa (Baah-Boateng, 2016). Undoubtedly, the chance of young people finding themselves in employment remains very slim in sub-Saharan Africa, and Zimbabwean youths are no exception.

In the Zimbabwean context, many young people are finding themselves in the unemployment situation provided that a plethora of challenges are bedeviling the economy of Zimbabwe. According to Zimbabwe National Budget Statement (2019), the formal school system in Zimbabwe is churning out +/-300 000 school leavers annually of which 10% of that number can only be absorbed in the formal economy. Moreover, the higher education sector of Zimbabwe is churning out thousands of graduates annually and most of the graduates are failing to secure employment in the formal sector of Zimbabwe. Worryingly, the National Association of Youth Organisations (NAYO) revealed that 90% of the youths in Zimbabwe are unemployed which is a clear indicator of youth disempowerment and disengagement in the national processes (Langa, 2016). Given the high youth unemployment rate, it is worth mentioning that youths have found a plethora of innovative ways to exploit their core competencies and capabilities in the informal sector in a manner that stimulates employment creation (Fox, Senbet, & Simbanegavi, 2016). Consequently, it appears to be a more prudent approach for the government to implement various interventions targeted to unlock the entrepreneurial value of the youth. This can also allow Zimbabwe to effectively attain its Vision 2030.

Of late, the Zimbabwean government has realized that youth entrepreneurship is of great importance when it comes to sustainable socio-economic development in the face of a high youth unemployment rate. In response to the high youth unemployment rate in Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development proposed to disburse US$2.2 million to the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation for support of youth entrepreneurship (Zimbabwe National Budget Statement, 2019). Moreover, with respect to the promotion of youth entrepreneurship, EmpowerBank as a state-owned micro bank in Zimbabwe was launched in July 2018 with a prime focus on youth through financial inclusion (Zimbabwe Monetary Policy Statement, 2019).

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