With the unemployment rate at an all-time high and much of it concentrated among the youth, entrepreneurship skills have never been more critical.
South Africa recorded an unemployment rate of 32.5% in Q4 2020, the highest rate recorded since the start of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) in 2008 (according to Stats SA).
It is these shocking levels of unemployment and lack of job opportunities that have led to the creation of initiatives like the SME Toolkit Business/Partners Business Plan Competition for Aspiring Young Entrepreneurs, where youngsters are given the opportunity to venture into entrepreneurship and create their own wealth.
David Morobe, executive general manager at Business Partners, says that at the heart of the competition is the development of an inclusive economy where youngsters are taught how to start their own businesses via various workshops.
“We think that one of the shortest ways of realising that inclusive economy is by encouraging, assisting and inspiring particularly our young people to be more entrepreneurial and start their own businesses,” he said.
Winning business plan
Tshifhiwa Munzhelele, a UCT BCom accounting graduate, won the 2020/21 Business Plan Competition for his concept of a tutoring application. Munzhelele and his business partners identified a gap in the tutoring market to improve the quality of education in South Africa.
He says the concept was birthed through his experience as a tutor, which consumed his time as he needed to travel to the tutee for sessions. Munzhelele and his partners intend to bridge this gap by introducing a tutoring app called Tutling that seeks to meet the academic needs of students.
However, given the need for capital, Munzhelele says this is a concept they “have been building for the past two years”.
“I don’t have software development skillset,” he says. “It was a bit difficult to outsource the software development process completely. Lack of capital resulted in us opting for student mates to develop the app or cheap software developers – and that failed dismally multiple times.”
The competition prize was therefore especially welcome.
Munzhelele won R30 000 in seed capital for the business, and will also be receiving a mentorship voucher to the value of R30 000.
“As it stands, now that we [have] got a little bit of cash injection, it’s accelerating a few aspects such that we will be able to launch sooner than we had anticipated. I could say the app is 90% done,” he says.
South Africa needs interventions in terms of government policies and initiatives, market openness, intense entrepreneurship education and training to unlock and engage with the opportunities offered by the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). This is according to a Global Entrepreneurship Monitor South Africa report published by the University of Stellenbosch Business School in June 2020.
Munzhelele is of the firm belief that many young people need to consider entrepreneurship purely because of the existing issues the country is facing, and that coming up with solutions and commercialising them will help solve these issues.
“My advice to someone who wants to start is – just start,” he says.
“There is no other right time to start than now.”
Listen to Melitta Ngalonkulu’s interview with Finfind CEO Darlene Menzies (or read the transcript here):