Chuka Umunna: ‘We need to build tomorrow’s entrepreneurs today’

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The African and Caribbean Business Experience was held at the Grosvenor House hotel. Hosted by Henry Bonsu, it was filled to the brim with various businesses and companies who had come to promote what they believe Africa has to offer. Also present were plenty of affluent African and Caribbean speakers from Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Ummuna to Nigeria based Courteville Business Solutions Chairman Adebola Akindele.

The primary aim of this event was to demonstrate how Africa is growing as a continent and its change from a third world into a developing one. Despite what we are still shown in the West, Africa has and is still making improvements and gone are the days of ‘Live Aid’ concerts and charity singles. Africa is learning to use her own resources to build herself up.

One example of this rapid growth was shared with us by the Shadow Business Secretary;

IMF released projected growth forecasts for juniper growth in 2012, the results for the western world and Africa are as follows:  UK – 0.2% from 0.8%, Europe – contract by 0.3%, US – 2%, Nigeria – 7.1%, Angola – 8.8%, Ethiopia – 5.5%, and Mozambique – 6.7%.

The difference is certainly clear and this is only one of many examples that show how Africa is not only learning to stand on its own, but even bypassing the leaders of this world.

This event also highlighted our young diaspora over here in the UK and how much help they need, it is already difficult for them to achieve the kind of success they want, even for those that are university graduates the employment they desire is still very scarce. We need to be more vigorous in pushing them even if it means starting from primary school level. They need to understand the importance of starting their own business, and that age should never be a factor.

Chuka Ummuna said

‘We need to build tomorrows entrepreneurs today’.

During the Q&A section, a topic that was highlighted by many was going back to Africa and building a career or a business, or lack thereof. A large number of the diasporas and their children do not want to go back mainly due to the fear of failing, as well as the fear of the unknown.  Taking simple but vital steps like doing solid research and speaking to professionals who are also natives will give you a good start, speaking to a relative will not do. One will have to investigate thoroughly, and of course not coming in with a superiority complex will help too.

Over all this event will have been an eye opener for those that didn’t know much about Africa and its business exploits, there were a few companies from Africa there promoting and networking with everyone around and showcasing what Africa has to offer when it comes to careers and business building and in particular trading and exporting.