Unemployment remains the country's greatest economic and social challenge

Online since 13.05.2016 • Filed under Industry news
Unemployment remains the country's greatest economic and social challenge

“South Africa should be tackling the rising unemployment rate by facilitating and driving entrepreneurship.” This is according to Christo Botes, spokesperson for the 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS, who was speaking in light of the recently released unemployment figures.

Statistics SA yesterday revealed that unemployment increased to 26.7 percent in the first quarter of 2016, up from 24.5 percent in the previous quarter, making it the highest rate since the labour force survey began in 2008.

“With rising costs, inflation and low growth expectations for South Africa – expected at 0.6% this year and 1.2% in 2017 – local businesses are increasingly facing the pressure and this impacts employment levels.”

It is during such challenging times where entrepreneurs can play a significant role in driving economic growth, says Botes. “Despite slow economic growth, South Africa still has available opportunities and society at large needs to expend more resources to identify, facilitate and promote entrepreneurship as the answer to creating jobs and wealth for all. Entrepreneurs and small business are typically more nimble and flexible to capitalise on the gaps created in the market from economic woes.”

Botes adds that he welcomes President Jacob Zuma’s recent announcement of a plan for government and business to set up a joint fund to support small businesses as part of Government’s short-term interventions to boost economic growth. The joint fund is expected to provide funding and support for entrepreneurs, and will be led by the public sector who is expected to raise around R1 billion for the initiative, with the aim of expanding the budget to R10 billion.

He acknowledges that entrepreneurship can be daunting, even for those seasoned business men/women with years of business knowledge, and this is the reason such initiatives – as mentioned above - are needed in the country. “While very rewarding, entrepreneurship is also a tough journey, and entrepreneurs need to be supported to grow their businesses to levels at which they can positively contribute to job creation and economic growth. The country needs to be providing the right guidance and infrastructure to motivate and encourage entrepreneurs to embark on their own business.”

We propose an interview with Botes who is eager to discuss:

-       Why SA should be facilitating entrepreneurship as a viable solution to the country’s high unemployment rate;

-       How SA can unlock entrepreneurial aspirations and intentions to address South Africa’s unemployment crisis;

-       The role of entrepreneurial support programmes in terms of growing local small businesses;

-       Case studies: The competition’s insight into local entrepreneurs whose businesses have thrived and positively impacted GDP and job creation.


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