Investing in Young Entrepreneurs

Investing in Young Entrepreneurs

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Gauteng township entrepreneurs and co-operatives have been given a boost by the Gauteng Economic Development Department’s new initiative, Township Enterprise Hubs.

The programme was launched today by Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane and Gauteng MEC for Economic Development Qedani Mahlangu at Winterveldt, one of the six townships earmarked for a business incubator. The others are Sharpeville, Thembisa, Winterveldt, Katlehong, Kagiso and Sebokeng.

The Hubs will take the form of three different clusters – Automotive Hub, Enterprise Hub and Industrial Hub – and will primarily target unemployed youth through co-operatives, entrepreneurs and SMEs.

Creating business communities

Premier Mokonyane says that Township Enterprise Hubs will be an important mechanism for creating viable businesses in communities where young people reside. A study conducted four years ago showed that the spending power of Soweto township stood at R12 billion and only 24% of this was circulating in the township.

“Entrepreneurship plays a critical role in an economy’s wellbeing and its ability to compete on a global scale. We want to offer practical solutions to the high unemployment amongst the youth of Gauteng. The Township Enterprise Hubs, as well as other initiatives like the Youth Enterpreneurship Development Programme, provide tangible assistance to boost entrepreneurship,” she says.

Gauteng MEC of Economic Development Qedani Mahlangu explained that the Township Enterprise Hubs would involve physical infrastructure to ensure that young entrepreneurs had access to training, mentorship and support with accessing finance.

“We have prioritised investment in youth entrepreneurship as a means to address youth unemployment and poverty alleviation. Individuals are not born as entrepreneurs but we can develop entrepreneurship if we create an enabling environment and help young business people with resources,” said Mahlangu.

Increasing SA’s entrepreneurialism

Global Entrepreneurship Monitor’s latest report shows that South Africa’s entrepreneurial activity is far below the average of comparable economies around the world.

The sector-specific hubs will develop specific businesses within that sector. For example, the Automotive Hub may include a tyre fitment & alignment centre, a glass fitment and repair centre, an outlet for body parts, spares & accessories, a battery centre and a centre for repair, service and maintenance. The Enterprise Hub could include food outlets, a hair salon, local sports bar, cleaning services and security services. The Industrial Hub would typically include carpentry and manufacturing.

“We want Gauteng to emulate the success of government-private co-operation and this project is an exciting step in realising this vision. We also recently launched the Youth and Graduate Entrepreneurship Development Programme (Y-Age), a new collaborative venture aimed at developing 100 000 entrepreneurial young South Africans,” concluded Mahlangu.

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