Cultivate youth entrepreneurship

I agree that Singapore's youth may not be prepared to take on the world ("Are S'pore youth prepared to take on the world?" by Mr Eric Chua Swee Leong; Monday).

We need to cultivate youth entrepreneurship.

Let us create more opportunities for young people, such as by removing barriers faced by young entrepreneurs.

For instance, we can give them access to capital and instil business and management skills, with mentor support.

The Government has already provided a range of funding mechanisms and financial support, but we must also equip our young with the skills and networks needed to take charge of their own lives.

This means helping them to develop a basic set of knowledge, skills and attitudes to lead themselves and to build critical lifelong skills such as interpersonal communication, teamwork and independence.

Schools can let youngsters learn by giving them leadership roles in projects.

Platforms can be created wherein the young can determine what issues to focus on, come up with solutions and then drive every aspect of implementation to address a range of community needs.

Schools can also set aside time for youngsters to discuss and reflect on their experiences and what they have learnt.

The goal is to motivate these youngsters to prepare and commit, and, thus, become a catalyst for change in their community.

There is no one-size-fits-all policy. Addressing the issues surrounding our education, employment and engagement of young people will require rethinking the status quo and investing in solutions to increase the frequency of youth success.

This requires collective action on the part of all stakeholders across the public, social and private sectors.

Francis Cheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 06, 2016, with the headline 'Cultivate youth entrepreneurship'. Print Edition | Subscribe