COVID-19: 90% of young entrepreneurs report a negative impact on their business

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Young entrepreneurs are among the hardest hit during the COVID-19 crisis. An international Survey from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ) states that nearly 90% of young entrepreneurs report a negative impact on their business, including reduced customer demand, supply chain disruptions, and distribution disruptions.
Despite this, many young entrepreneurs are still creating opportunities and jobs for their communities. 21-year-old Egyptian Alaa Moatamed, last year’s Anzisha Prize winner and the co-founder of Presto – an automated, delivery system that connects vendors with customers and suppliers, was able to increase the business revenue by providing delivery services to smaller businesses to cope with demand during the outbreak of COVID-19.
She currently employs 11 under-25 employees and plans on increasing that number.



While some entrepreneurs were forced to change their business models, the pandemic highlighted the need for some services to be increased. 22-year-old Madagascan Matina Razafimahefa, who received US$15 000 as the 2020 first runner up, is the founder of Sayna – an Edtech venture school in Madagascar.
The business sources, trains, and produces highly equipped young Africans in industry-specific digital skills. Despite some loss in revenue due to COVID-19, the business was able to pivot to online learning platforms, which supported their growth. To date, Sayna has trained and placed over 2000 people in jobs across multiple African countries.

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“To drive economic recovery on the continent, we have to tap into every available resource. That includes young entrepreneurs, including young women entrepreneurs. Doing so takes intentionality. The Anzisha Prizes’ commitment to identifying and supporting very young entrepreneurs has only become more important in the wake of the pandemic. And the creativity, agility, and resourcefulness of young people has only become more valuable,” says Daniel Hailu, Regional Head, Eastern and Southern Africa, Mastercard Foundation.



During the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, women-led businesses on the continent are more susceptible to closure than those led by men. To boost support of female entrepreneurs, the program is encouraging young women to apply to access various offerings of the fellowship and become role models for other young women who want to pursue entrepreneurship.



As the future of work is altered by a global pandemic, job creation by young entrepreneurs remains an important solution for youth unemployment. Supporting and investing in young entrepreneurs is smart business for an economically strong future.

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