Empower tomorrow’s entrepreneurs

Nonto Masuku

There is a lot of talk these days about empowering youth and helping them to be entrepreneurs and business leaders.

Several organisations are making this endeavour part of their corporate social responsibility programmes and a way of contributing and giving back to communities.

This is a great initiative and I am sure the country would reap the benefits of this initiative in the not too distant future.

That said, having the technical skills alone is not enough to make one successful as a professional or business person.

A successful entrepreneur or businessperson needs to have both technical and soft skills.

Soft skills are personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.

They refer to a cluster of personal qualities, habits, attitudes and social graces that make someone comfortable to work with or for.

While technical skills may get your foot in the door, soft skills or people skills are what open most of the doors to come.

Ones work ethic, attitude, communication skills, emotional intelligence and a whole host of other personal attributes are the soft skills that are crucial for career success.

With these soft skills you can excel as a leader. Problem solving, delegating, motivating, and team building are all much easier if you have good soft skills.

Knowing how to get along with people and displaying a positive attitude are crucial for success.

Professionalism is another trait of soft skills. Many of our youth lack this very important trait. This characteristic is hard to define, but it is very apparent when someone is lacking it.

It is probably the one trait that every employer desires, regardless of what you do or where you work. It is a trait that every businessperson needs to have too.

Professionalism encompasses many things including showing up on time, being polite, being generally pleasant and helpful, dressing appropriately, and taking responsibility for your own actions.

The importance of these soft skills is often undervalued and there is far less training provided for them in comparison to hard skills.

For some reason, organisations seem to expect people to know how to behave on the job.

They tend to assume that everyone knows and understands the importance of being on time, taking initiative, being friendly and producing high quality work.

From my experience, however, it is evident that there is need for training in this area. I advise our youth to get up and trained, not just on the technical side of things, but in the area of soft skills too. Doing so will definitely place one ahead of the pack.