Allon Raiz, CEO of Raizcorp, has been appointed by the World Economic Forum (WEF) to join its network of Global Agenda Councils. He will participate in the WEF Global Agenda Summit to be held in Abu Dhabi in October 2011, and will contribute to the WEF Global Agenda Council on Fostering Entrepreneurship for 2011.
The appointment is not only an opportunity to represent South Africa in a world-leading forum for sharing innovative thinking and exchanging ideas on the challenges of entrepreneurship, but opens a platform to discuss possible solutions to address these challenges.
“I hope to bring back insights and learnings about how we can most effectively implement enterprise development strategies and programmes. In particular, I hope to gather a wealth of ideas for promoting entrepreneurship in rural areas and for empowering women and the youth to become successful entrepreneurs,” says Raiz.
Entrepreneurship in SA
According to Raizcorop, there are approximately 5,6 million SMEs in South Africa that provide 54% of the country’s jobs. The potential for job creation among SMEs varies widely. A 2006 Finscope study of small businesses in Gauteng, which has over 1,1 million informal survivalist entrepreneurs, concluded that small businesses in the province created an average of 1,3 jobs each. A recent study of the 235 companies that Raizcorp supports has shown that candidates in Raizcorp incubation programmes increase their staff compliment with an average of between 3 and 19 new employees, over a three year period, depending on which programme they are in. “These figures underscore why we need to provide effective entrepreneurial support to emerging entrepreneurs and empower them to establish formal, sustainable enterprises,” says Raiz.
Local input for global solutions
Raiz believes that South Africa has a rich diversity of contexts, and that the country’s particular challenge is to develop enterprises that cut across these divides. “Rich and poor, cultural and ethnic diversity, formal and informal sectors, rural and city contrasts – these are the differences that our small businesses need to embrace if they are to survive,” says Raiz, adding that he believes South Africa’s local experience of driving enterprise development can make a strong contribution to the Council debates.
“Entrepreneurship is a highly effective catalyst for bringing people together and uniting them around a common goal of building a stronger economy and a better life for all. I look forward to bringing this South African and African flavour to the Council,” he concludes.