South Africa has a 27.7% unemployment rate, as of July 2017. This is almost 3 in 10 people without jobs who are actively looking for employment. Assuming that 1 person supports 10 immediate and extended family members, almost 30 in 100 people do not have financial means to support them. Amongst youth, this number is even higher, with the South Africa youth unemployment rate during the same period being at 55.9%. About 6 in 10 young, 15 – 35 year old, actively seeking and cannot find employment and even more people without financial support. What does the picture of unemployment look like in your country?
Africa’s riches lies, not only in its resources, but also in its people. The scourge of crime we see and experience is testament to the saying “idle hands are the devils playground”. Hands that can work but cannot find work and are faced daily with increased poverty, famine, wars, death and lack of skills in a changing world.
There is only so much development and growth that a country and/or individuals can achieve through grants. Aid, such as we are used too, has the effect of keeping the beneficiaries depended on it. It seems, it finds its purpose in the number of people it can successfully keep relying on it. It is unsustainable. It masks, but never solves the problem. Africa needs a more sustainable solution, a self-producing solution.
We need young African entrepreneurs to intentionally be a part of the solution by creating businesses that create jobs.
If, in the case of South Africa, 4 of the 7 in 10 who do not have jobs started businesses that employed them and at least one other person, we would effectively have no unemployment. It seems like such a dream right? No unemployment? But it is possible and each time we hear of young entrepreneurs, such as Anzisha Fellows, who on average employ 4.3 people, we know that the impossible can easily become possible.
Businesses solve problems, they are in existence because they meet a specific need. The better a business is at solving problems, the bigger it grows. The bigger it grows the more jobs it creates. Africa is full of problems, we need more young entrepreneurs creating systems that innovatively solve these problems and we need more entrepreneur support organisations enabling and capacitating them to build great businesses, grow them and therefore create jobs. It is the work of a community, of an eco-system to build businesses that create jobs.
Will you be the 4 in 7? Will you move beyond feeding a child on the street, to creating a business that will enable the child’s parent the opportunity to earn a living so she can feed her own child? Your business and the jobs it creates gives people, not only the means to earn an income, but the opportunity to preserve their dignity, broaden their dreams and create generational wealth for their families.
There is a growing community of entrepreneur support organisations in every part of our continent, which will help you at every step of the way. From business ideation to your initial public offering, you can find the assistance you need if you raise your hand and say: “I want to be the 4 in 7”
Note: ALA’s YES-U will release an entrepreneur support eco-system directory in the next few weeks. Keep your eyes glued to our website www.anzishaprize.org/entrepreneursupport