By 2020 over 100 million job seekers will have entered the job market in the Arab World. This, according to some sources, is from an overall population of just 372 million. The strain this population bubble is already placing on the job market and resources is unprecedented in the Region.
How will the impending skyrocketing jobless rate for youth impact the stability and daily life within the region? The recent shortage of youth jobs has already been sited as part of the fire which fuelled the Arab Spring. The sheer numbers of placements needed are no longer manageable by adding more government jobs. The dream of a government job for life has been eroded for most.
That leaves only the creation of new jobs. Investors to build organisations may be part of the solution when areas of the region cool down, but no solution alone is likely to reach the scale of new jobs needed. Entrepreneurship is becoming survival.
With technology, inexpensive communication interconnectivity and access to knowledge, skills and learning, exporting knowledge based solutions has become possible and is happening.
While at the International Startup Festival in Montreal this summer, a Startup CEO of an online marriage counselling site asked me how to hire programmers and coders from Palestine. Why Palestine? The nature of our dialogue didn't allow me to delve deeper, however the interaction brings focus on a small wedge of the pie of possibility.
The ecosystem of entrepreneurship is weak in the region. A majority of business success has historically revolved around trading, and importing.
It's time for local and resident entrepreneurs to focus their energies on developing exportable knowledge based services and homegrown solutions which fit their community's cultures, lifestyles and unique problem sets. Easier said than done with complicated bureaucracy, a distinct lack of mentors and a culture of interfering investors and a business culture which doesn't make an exit part of the plan let alone a strategy.
But think about the realm of the possibilities. We write future history through our actions today. It's time to get to work and be part of the entrepreneurship revolution.