Recent Statistics South Africa research indicates that the country’s total unemployment rate currently stands at 26,7%1, which is significantly higher than what is targeted for the 2030 National Development Plan (NDP). The NDP suggests that around 11 million more jobs need to be created within the next 12 years in order to reach the targeted unemployment rate of 6%2.
David Morobe, Regional General Manager at Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), says that one of the key initiatives to achieve the exponential employment growth required to reach the NDP’s 2030 goal, is to enable South Africa’s unemployed to create their own opportunities through entrepreneurship. “Make no mistake, this is a mammoth task, and the question of how to accomplish this within the limited time frame remains.”
He adds, “Considering the fact that the youth population accounts for 63,5% of the total number of unemployed people, they should be the primary focus for initiatives and programmes to foster entrepreneurial skills1.”
Morobe explains that the set of skills and attitudes required to succeed as an entrepreneur are exceedingly complex, and that the youth segment simply cannot be expected to ‘find their own way’.
“What is needed is a whole-society approach, involving not only entrepreneurs and the unemployed youth, but every parent, teacher, civil servant and politician. Every family and each community has to strive to become a ‘hothouse’ in which the youth can start and grow businesses.”
He states that education and training are at the heart of this. “Basic vocational skills such as welding, plumbing, driving, carpentry, electronics, programming, tiling, panel beating, cooking, designing, farming, painting and sewing are incredibly valuable foundations for developing entrepreneurial skills. Entrepreneurs cannot build successful businesses if they do not understand their sectors from the ground up.”
Next on the list of priorities, according to Morobe, is the teaching of general business knowledge such as a management, planning and accounting.
He adds that young South Africans also need to be equipped with entrepreneurial values such resilience, self-reliance and recovery from failure, in order to cement the culture of entrepreneurship. “The teaching of entrepreneurship cannot be limited to a single course. Rather, it is a long-term atmosphere and frame of reference that needs to be created at every opportunity and at every stage.”
In addition to this, Morobe says that established entrepreneurs also have an important part to play as role models and as mentors, and that their businesses can benefit from contributing to enterprise development programmes. “The burden of supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs becomes lighter if captains of industry join forces to start industry-wide enterprise development initiatives.”
Morobe adds that access to finance remains an important catalyst for the growth of businesses. “Angel investors, crowd funding opportunities, corporate enterprise development funds, government programmes and formal finance institutions are all vital.”
There is no doubt that South Africa has a difficult path ahead if we are to stand any chance of meeting the 2030 employment goal, he notes. “I however believe that it is still attainable if we all work together and invest not only our money, but also our energy and time into creating a new generation of builders, movers and shakers,” Morobe concludes.
About Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS):
Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS) is a specialist risk finance company for formal small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa, and selected African countries. The company actively supports entrepreneurial growth by providing financing, specialist sectoral knowledge and added-value services for viable small and medium businesses. Visit www.businesspartners.co.za for more information.