In a recent online survey, 60% of respondents agreed their biggest challenge remains unemployment. This was followed closely by 40% identifying high cost of electricity as a major obstacle.
With youth unemployment approaching 50% in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, according to 2011 Census data, three entrepreneurs have launched the Uitenhage Business Hub.
“Many students after graduating with a degree or diploma relocate to Gauteng or Cape Town to find employment and opportunities that is not available in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro,” says Elaine Camoetie, a single mother, and co-founder of Uitenhage Business Hub.
“Most of those who leave Uitenhage never return and therefore economic growth is either flat or declining in real terms.”
Ten years ago, the municipalities of Kwa-Nobuhle and Uitenhage merged. Their combined population is estimated at 200 000 from Census data.
The biggest employers are suppliers to the motor manufacturing industry.
Ramon Thomas, an entrepreneur and research analyst at NETucation, who relocated back to Uitenhage after 15 years in Johannesburg, says, “Entrepreneurship teaches you to take responsibility for creating your own future, your own opportunities, before expecting anything in return.”
20 000 jobs in 20 years
The Uitenhage Business Hub co-founded by Elaine Camoetie, Yusuf Moses and Ramon Thomas, aims to create 20 000 jobs in the next 20 years.
The Hub provides:
- Company registrations
- Business plan development
- Low-cost shared office space
- Internet literacy training.
Exciting plans for the future
In 2014 a large scale learnership programmes from MICT SETA is planned. Axxess DSL, the largest ISP in Eastern Cape, has sponsored a 10mbps Uncapped ADSL line, making it the fastest Internet connection in town.
Informal partnerships with NYDA, Raizcorp, Nedbank, The Media Workshop and other organisations will ensure the sustainability of this venture.
Thomas confirms, “With only 30 respondents it is by no means a statistically conclusive survey, and a follow-up study is planned to reach at least 1 000 people via cellphones before 2014.”