Ramaphosa wants entrepreneurship to be taught at schools from an early age

Learners at the Boitumelong Secondary School in Tembisa in eastern Johannesburg familiarize themselves with new tablets ahead of the launch of a paperless education system. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)
Learners at the Boitumelong Secondary School in Tembisa in eastern Johannesburg familiarize themselves with new tablets ahead of the launch of a paperless education system. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

President Cyril Ramaphosa says he would like to see entrepreneurship taught in schools to develop a culture of self-employment from an early age.

Ramaphosa was speaking in Soweto during the final leg of the second annual Investment Conference, which saw large corporates commit to invest a total of R363bn that government hopes will stimulate SA's sluggish GDP growth rate of just 0.5%. 

While the main focus of the conference has been on the role large business play in the economy and job creation, Ramaphosa on Thursday said small and medium enterprises could help drive growth. 

"I have long said that entrepreneurial skills should be included in the basic education curriculum," he said. "Far too often our citizens are risk-averse when it comes to entrepreneurship, preferring the so-called comfort of gainful employment to the perceived insecurity that comes with self-employment."

A research study by the Small Business Institute found that there are only a quarter of a million formal SMEs in the country, as Fin24 reported in March. Researchers have often highlighted the challenges faced by small businesses in the country, including difficulties in accessing capital and inadequate support.

Between 70% to 80% of small businesses in South Africa are reported to fail within the first five years of existence, as once observed by Viresh Harduth, vice president for new customer acquisition at Sage Africa and the Middle East. Two of the main reasons for the poor rate of survival and growth are funding constraints and lack of financial education.

Ramaphosa told delegates on Thursday that providing entrepreneurial education at an early state was would help "nurture a generation of job creators as opposed to job seekers".

"International experience, especially in other developing countries, shows us that economic growth is sustained through small businesses."

Government is the process of finalising its Public Procurement Bill, which will require departments to sub-contract SMMEs for a minimum of 30% of the value of contracts above R30 million. "Whoever receives a tender must sub-contract a minimum of 30% of the value of the contract to SMMEs that are at least 51% black owned," Ramaphosa said.

The state, however, has also been criticised for contributing to the failure of small business by failing to pay for services rendered in time. In August, Minister of Small Business Development Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said in a written reply that national government departments owe service providers over R600m which had not been paid within 30 days. 

ZAR/USD
16.91
(+0.40)
ZAR/GBP
21.77
(+0.62)
ZAR/EUR
19.87
(+0.01)
ZAR/AUD
12.06
(+0.10)
ZAR/JPY
0.16
(+0.77)
Gold
1897.16
(+0.78)
Silver
24.19
(+1.91)
Platinum
886.00
(+0.74)
Brent Crude
42.88
(+1.08)
Palladium
2302.01
(+2.70)
All Share
54506.88
(-0.39)
Top 40
50319.94
(-0.51)
Financial 15
10003.88
(+0.72)
Industrial 25
73358.17
(-0.86)
Resource 10
54053.58
(-0.58)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Do you think it was a good idea for the government to approach the IMF for a $4.3 billion loan to fight Covid-19?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes. We need the money.
11% - 1389 votes
It depends on how the funds are used.
73% - 8991 votes
No. We should have gotten the loan elsewhere.
16% - 1985 votes
Vote