“Over the next decade, the World Bank estimates one billion young people will try to enter the job market, but less than half of them will find formal jobs. This will leave most young people, many in minority and marginalized groups, unemployed or experiencing working poverty. This has the potential to negatively impact a generation of young people around the world.” – Mercy Corps
There is no one simple solution. There is not one super-powerful organization that is going to magically make these needed jobs appear. It is going to take an incredible amount of work, and determination, to make even a dent in this gap. People need to get busy now, right now, not next month or next year.
But what if I told you about one powerful tool that exists today? That is easy to implement and targets youth unemployment? And it involves people playing games? Yes, video games. Think I am crazy? Let me explain…
The Status Quo
There are many esports entrepreneurs around the world who are looking for ways to create jobs for themselves. And for others. They want to make a difference, but well, they don’t always know where to start.
So, they use their curiosity to tackle the problem. They:
- Look for examples of successful entrepreneurs online, searching to find a model to follow
- Seek out mentors who can help them achieve their dreams
- Search for organizations, governmental or non-profit, who provide support for launching a business
- Start a team or tournament, creating their own training ground
- Look for formal training programs, in case they might exist, and are accessible.
The Problems with the Status Quo
But… there are some problems with the status quo.
People don’t think of gaming and esports as a real business. They do not make the connection between games and jobs. They think of gaming as a pastime, or worse, a distraction from more serious paths to job creation.
The lack of training resources – formal or informal – can erode our confidence in ourselves as someone capable of being successful.
The information on developing a career in esports typically concentrates on how to become the best player, coach, or shout-caster – not on the skills needed for the entrepreneur wanting to start their own esports business.
But perhaps the biggest obstacle for aspiring entrepreneurs wanting to create an esports business in an emerging market is that the content they find is not geared to being successful in Ghana, or India, or Brazil, but talks about how it is done in Los Angeles, Austin, London, or Berlin. Entrepreneurs in emerging markets do not get to hear from others in their situation, where resources have real-world constraints.
“Basically, they do not get to hear from people who look like them.”
The Big Idea
Just think of the impact if aspiring esports entrepreneurs around the world were given the opportunity to hear stories that are designed to speak directly to them! In their own language of esports in emerging markets.
What if they could hear the stories of how team owners, players, and tournament organizers worldwide – in even the most unlikely places on earth – have demonstrated their talent, ingenuity, and resourcefulness to achieve success. Their stories are numerous and inspiring and need to be shared.
This content would show how to tackle each of the problems a leader will face on their journey to be successful. Challenges such as how to start a team, what it takes to create a tournament that actually generates jobs, the best ways to raise money and attract sponsors, tips on how to organize a real business, and much more.
The focus will not be hearing from someone in the US or Europe who has created a huge esports organization and try to duplicate their success. It will be much more useful than that. The success stories will be from people just like yourselves, others who come from similar communities and know how to face the same challenges you do every day.
Do not lose sight that this is an industry, a community, our community, that is founded on playing games. Every participant is competitive. They know how to play to win. And given access to the right tools they have shown that they can accomplish almost anything.
Always remember that playing games can lead to jobs. And those jobs can change lives!
Over the past year I have talked to many smart people from around the world who want to help themselves and their community by using esports to create jobs. Their resourcefulness has been inspiring.
Their stories need to be shared. So that others in similar situations can be inspired to do the same.
This is the oldest and one of the most effective methods of learning – one on one storytelling.
Now I definitely don’t have all the answers. Or even all the questions. But I do know that if we join forces, team up on a quest, we can figure it out together. Every gamer knows that this is a winning strategy.
We all want to make a difference in our community, to ensure that everyone has a job who needs it, and we know that esports can truly be part of the solution.
But to get there, we just keep looking for a solution that doesn’t exactly fit our situation, and as a result, we don’t get the tools and training needed to create successful, job-creating esports organizations in the world in which we live.
Instead, we can start hearing the stories from others who have made a difference in their world by overcoming their challenges.
We can make the motto come to life: Play Games. Create Jobs. Change Lives.
Photo by Aditya Chinchure on Unsplash