SA needs more young entrepreneurs - minister

Pretoria - Minister of Small Business Development, Lindiwe Zulu, says young people should not only be encouraged to become entrepreneurs, but everything possible should be done to help them.

Addressing a Youth Business Forum, she said: “It’s 30 years since our freedom, but the participation of young people in South Africa was still less than adequate.

“Empowering young people is not an option, but a national imperative, because about 77% of the population is aged between 1 and 34.

Job creation

“Youth unemployment constitutes 73% of the total unemployment in the country and employment of young people aged between 18 and 24 years has fallen by more than 20% since December 2008.”

Referring to entrepreneurship, Zulu said that young entrepreneurs would get abundant opportunities to grow and develop their enterprises in an environment that nurtured the development of these enterprises and enhances their job creation potential.

“We will work with the DTI to ensure that the revised BBBEE Codes are used as an additional measure to encourage private sector to pursue measures that are aimed at growing youth enterprises and cooperatives.

 “Working in partnership with all stakeholders, including youth entrepreneurs, we will begin to develop a plethora of programmes, both financial and non-financial, to assist our youth enterprises and create opportunities for job creation to reduce youth unemployment.

Radical policy

“We’re convinced that if we are to make an impact on the job creation front, the common problems faced by SMMEs must be addressed. Among others, these are

 -  lack of a favourable legal and regulatory environment;
 - lack of access to markets and procurement;
 - lack of access to finance and credit;
 - low skills levels;
 - lack of access to information and
 - shortage of effective supportive institutions.
 
“We have no doubt that the much-needed economic growth and employment opportunities will come from a radical policy that enables small businesses to thrive and grow into profitable enterprises,” Zulu said.



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