YOUTH INITIATIVE: Rapelang Rabana, WEF Young Global Leader.
For youth entrepreneurship to prosper in South Africa, the youth will need to realise the value of knowing who they are and the contribution they add to Africa, those were the words of the World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, Rapelang Rabana.

Rabana, who is an “Entrepreneur for the World”, and a thought leader featured on Forbes Africa’s cover page, made a youth initiative speech last week, with politician and former activist against apartheid, Mamphela Ramphele, at the Protea Hotel, Techno Park, Stellenbosch.

She said: “The annual conference exposed the students to a broader perspective of the world and what happens around them, it was impressive as they asked very competitive questions, they have done their homework. We need more young people who trust their prospective of the world and the solution that they have will be viable for Africa.

“If you look at entrepreneurship that way and have the belief that entrepreneurship will work, it is a great way to challenge yourself and the interest you have in creating a solution.”

“South Africa is ranked 46th among 80 countries with entrepreneurship according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM). We are ranked quite low compared to the maturity of an economy and compared to our peers in Africa, and the rest of the world.

“Impact is best achieved through businesses, especially social. If a business can solve the challenge of how we upskill and learn better, that is social impact in itself.

“It is highly beneficial to have that world perspective, to meet other young global leaders who are innovative in their respective fields, and get to see where the world leaders are thinking and where the most advanced thoughts are on topics.”

Rabana's Rekindle Learning company has been working with universities to simplify the education sector through technology, with a focus on young leaders and burgeoning social entrepreneurship.

On the question of using education, technology and disrupting the global market, she said, “I used my education opportunities to get as much experience and exposure as possible, that is how you need to look at schooling environments.

“I worked hard at academics but I looked at all the extramural activities, I stimulated my mind. Through more experiences, you learn about yourself , so building greater self awareness.

“Staying in your corner and reading a book is not enough for the world you are going to, you need to use every opportunity for more exposure, stimulus and more opportunity ”

“Support from family and friends is important in building the confidence of our young leaders. Many children don’t have parents who see beyond that, but we are getting there.

“You have got to build expertise in your field, you have got to be world-class in your knowledge, do the hard work, deliver it, manifest in it. If you don’t have the money or funding, build expertise, it is not enough to be okay but to be world-class in what you do.

“Have an understanding, find smarter ways and care about what you do in order to dominate in your field,” she concluded.