Youth who are leaving school at the end of the year need to consider the value of not being dependent on an employer for a regular income. The Real State of Entrepreneurship Survey revealed that in 2017 already more than half of the people who run their own businesses in South Africa were youth.
Internationally entrepreneurs are playing a key role in the national economy. School leavers and unemployed adults need to consider formal entrepreneurial training to ensure sustainability and adaption to an everchanging economy. An entrepreneur creates a small business or a firm, which aggregates capital and labour in order to produce goods or services for profit.
With the mentioned survey the motivation to start small businesses were based on the identification of an opportunity (42%); the ambition to be your own boss (22%); the desire to utilise existing skills (14%); the fact that it makes individuals happy (10%); since there was interest in the products/services on offer (8%) and because the person could not find a job (4%). Since 2017 however the situation has changed due to a radical increase in unemployment and a much tougher business climate.
According to Ronnelie Niewenhuis, CEO at Africa Skills Group entrepreneurship is an important driver of economic growth and innovation. Being an entrepreneur as a skilled qualified artisan, shop owner, manufacturer, repairer, installer or services provider is high-risk. It can however offer high rewards as this career choice is generating economic wealth, growth, and innovation.
Being in the skills training field Niewenhuis defines an entrepreneur an individual who creates a new business, bearing most of the risks and enjoying most of the rewards. She says: “Commonly an entrepreneur is viewed as an innovator, a source of new ideas, goods, services, and business or procedures. They undertake the risk of starting new business ventures and often are or become employers.
She notes that entrepreneurs are often thought of as national assets to be cultivated, motivated, and remunerated to the greatest possible extent. If you choose to become an entrepreneur using your skills and initiative, you will be fulfilling a key need and bring good solutions and new ideas to the market.
According to the 2017 findings, the gap between male and female entrepreneurs was closing, with the latter now making up 47% of entrepreneurs. “Successful entrepreneurs change livelihood and the way we work. Their innovations and courage may improve standards of living. In addition to creating wealth, they are job creators who are growing the economy.”
Reports released by Roam Africa last week stipulated that despite a decline in hiring in some industries during Covid-19 a rise in demand for certain skills post-Covid is eminent as companies prepare to address the challenges brought about by the pandemic. School leavers considering entrepreneurial ventures need to note the increase in demand for hard skills such as digital and coding skills, data analytics and literacy as well as for problem-solving skills and soft skills such as adaptability and agility, emotional intelligence and critical thinking.
Business analyst Jared Kruger writes that South Africa is in anticipation of new superheroes “cloaked in ambition, occasionally wear business attire, and are most likely drinking way too much coffee. In short, we need go-getter, tough-and-ready entrepreneurs who are willing to run with their newest business idea. But, the state of entrepreneurship in South Africa is looking grim and, in many ways, we are failing those we need the most.”
Niewenhuis points out that small businesses are critical to the South African economy. “The staggering unemployment rate is crying out now more than ever for entrepreneurs to step up and take a firm stance for their personal, their family‘s and the nation’s interest. Small businesses have been called on by the government for assistance in achieving the National Development Plan (NDP) objective of creating 11 million new jobs by 2030.”
Kruger says entrepreneurship can help combat unemployment and improve the economy, “when equipped with the right skills and business idea, entrepreneurs can:
- Provide opportunities for sustainable job creation
- Make generous contributions to national income
- Help with the promotion of social change
- Assist in driving community development
He mentioned that according to a 2015 Global Enterprise Monitor (GEM) report, “on paper, and by all accounts, it looked like we were thriving. But, when analysing the country’s performance overall, it became evident that South Africa is lacking in the necessary entrepreneurial spirit and skills.”
Niewenhuis emphasises that following access to funding there is a devastating need to fill entrepreneurial skills development gaps. “It is clear that entrepreneurs in our country may have exceptional insights to identify niche markets and opportunities, but a vast number lack the necessary business skills to take them to the next level of sustainable growth.”
At our skills training centres, we designed and implemented entrepreneurship training to address the gap. School leavers and unemployed adults in South Africa need to embrace their potential to contribute towards a bigger and better national economy.
Entrepreneurship training at Africa Skill Group offer a sound portfolio of learning content; connection opportunities with innovative entrepreneurs; experienced business coaches and mentorship.
Niewenhuis concludes by confirming that there is not a seat for everyone at the big corporate table. “The challenge to kick unemployment to the curb for significant economic restructuring and regular household income and job creation lies with small and medium enterprises. Small companies have the power to help combat poverty and entrepreneurship is important for promoting social change to driving innovation.
Entrepreneurial ventures help generate new wealth. Existing businesses may remain confined to existing markets and may hit the glass ceiling in terms of income. New and improved products, services or technology from entrepreneurs enable new markets to be developed and new wealth to be created.