By Lesiba Lekgetho
Many young people in Soweto are starting their own businesses.
Stats SA recently announced that the unemployment rate of 27,1% had risen to a 13 year high of 27.1%.
Protea South entrepreneur Kaizer Mokoena, 29, says youths must make means to live their lives rather than wait to be hired, while they can be their own bosses. “We started our sound hiring business when we were aged 18 and now it has grown. We are now also hiring stretch tents, tables, chairs, jumping castles and many more for funerals, weddings and birthday parties.
“Young people in our country must not wait for God to provide, but they must make means of starting their own companies so that the government can meet them halfway,” he said.
Stanlib’s Chief Economist Kevin Lings said the chronically high unemployment rate can only be eased by nurturing skills through an effective education system.
“We have to do a skills audit in the country and nurture skills according to our needs. The CEO initiatives would help; but there must be broader intervention,” says Lings.
Lings adds that recent efforts by the government and business to create internship programmes and entrepreneurial funds may help, but everyone must do their part.
“They have to cut costs because they facing pressure from the ratings agencies to get their fiscal challenges in order,” says Lings.
Another self-employed youth Dimakatso Lebelo from Phiri said she is happy to be self-employed because she does not have to wake up in the morning and call someone a boss.
“I urge young people to start their own businesses because there are many ways of making money in a good way,” she said.
Lebelo said she is running a catering company and has created 15 jobs for young people in her area, and she sees her business growing year by year.
Brand South Africa CEO Miller Matola believes entrepreneurship presents the best solution to solving youth unemployment in South Africa. Amy Rosen, a contributor to Forbes.com, agrees with this, saying that youth entrepreneurship could be the long-term solution to youth unemployment globally as well.
The idea of youth entrepreneurship as a way to restrain swelling unemployment is not an old one, but perhaps it is now being reinvented to entice not just urban youths but rural ones as well.
Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said her ministry prioritizes in creating an environment where it is easy to start and sustain businesses.
“This will help us all because it will grow our economy and create jobs that this country sorely needs,” she said.
Director of the Department of Trade and Industry Anna Mnguni said to promote youth entrepreneurship the government has put in place a Youth Enterprise Development Strategy. “This is to promote youth entrepreneurship and self-employment,” she said.
The South African government has agencies such as the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), the South African Black Entrepreneurs Forum (SABEF) and the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) created to assist youth entrepreneurship by providing loans and grants, skills development, mentorship, networking contacts and markets for young entrepreneurs.