South Africa has the third highest unemployment rate in the world for people between the ages of 15 and 24, with more than 50% of young South Africans unemployed.
According to a McKinsey report released in 2015, fewer than 10% of South African youth access higher education, of which only a fraction come from township or rural communities.
A 2015 study by the Institute of Race Relations indicated that if a young person has not found any form of employment by age 24, they are unlikely to find any permanent employment in the future. It is with these staggering statistics in mind that the RLabs Innovation and Entrepreneurship Programme was enabled by a R3 220 000 partnership with Nedbank.
The programme will provide support, advisory services, resources, mentorship and incubation for 50 women and youth-led entrepreneurs from peri-urban, township and other marginalised communities across Cape Town.
Participants will undergo an intense incubation programme including specialised bootcamps, practical workshops, master classes, and mentorship and coaching sessions, while gaining access to much needed networks and markets, networking events, financing and professional services, and financial management know-how and SME business banking through Nedbank.
The 50 entrepreneurs who will participate in the first programme were selected according to certain criteria: businesses must be fully operational and located in the Western Cape, have less than 10 employees and an annual turnover of less than R5m. Crucially, it is a requirement that business owners be active participants in the programme.