17 August 2012

South Africa: Jobs Campaign - DA Youth Launch National Youth Entrepreneurship Competition

press release

As a part of the DA's Jobs Campaign, the DA Youth is pleased to announce the launch of our second National Youth Entrepreneurship Competition. The competition is aimed at young South Africans between the ages of 16 and 30 and, with the support of the Start-Up Fund, run by Charles Maisel, will award up to R20 000 to every viable and innovative business idea submitted through the competition to test the viability of the concept in the marketplace.

Supporting entrepreneurship is one of the key ways in which countries can grow their economies and reduce unemployment. This can be seen in India, where SMMEs form 90% of all employer firms. In Ghana, it is estimated that 92% of all the businesses in the country are small businesses, and they contribute about 70% to the national GDP.

With over 3.2 million people under 34 currently unemployed in South Africa, youth unemployment has reached crisis point, and it is vital that we explore new ways in which we can actively bring young people into the economy.

Through this competition, which runs until 1 October 2012 and follows our successful inaugural competition run in 2011, we aim to both contribute practically to the development and support of young entrepreneurs, as well as raise awareness about the importance of entrepreneurship in combating unemployment.

The DA Youth started lobbying government to direct increased resources towards entrepreneurship development in 2011, when we handed over a discussion document to the Minister of Trade and Industry that presented a number of proposals which, if implemented, would help create an enabling environment for entrepreneurship.

Our proposals included:

  • A youth entrepreneurship collateral fund, which would see government standing surety for young entrepreneurs who qualify based on the merit of submitted business plans to access commercial/private sector credit;
  • Opportunity vouchers for matriculants that could be used to subsidize a small business or pursue tertiary education;
  • Tax breaks for experienced business owners who enter a mentoring programme with young entrepreneurs;
  • The reintroduction of a business services vouchers programme to provide young entrepreneurs with access to subsidized business services;
  • An intensification of entrepreneurial studies within the school Life Orientation curriculum;
  • An expansion of career guidance testing to include entrepreneurship as a viable career path;

A national government entrepreneurship campaign that would see the consolidation of government entrepreneurship resources into one publicized and easily accessible repository.

With the launch of this competition we hope to see a greater awareness emerge of the important role entrepreneurship has to play in alleviating the youth unemployment crisis.

Makashule Gana , DAYouth Leader

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