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Local Platform for Youth Entrepreneurs

The South African Youth Entrepreneur Network (SAYEN) launched to support future business leaders.

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Youth entrepreneurs often have more creative ideas and tend to be more open to risk. So says Denvor Phokaners, managing director at Enterprise Development Essentials (EDE) and the driving force behind the launch of the South African Youth Entrepreneur Network (SAYEN).

“Young entrepreneurs have fresh mindsets and lots of energy. These qualities are important for the economic development of South Africa,” he says, adding that a platform that caters specifically for youth entrepreneurs is important because it brings attention to their existence and gives them a unique space to connect with other like-minded youth entrepreneurs

A unique platform

SAYEN is a platform for youth entrepreneurs that gives them the opportunity to network, share ideas, comment and possibly find synergies and ways of working together.

Youth entrepreneurs’ role in the South African economy is unique in that they are often the pioneers of new innovations and opportunities. They can also be agents of change to spearhead transformation by creating innovative business cultures in their respective societies.

According to Phokaners, it is important that youth entrepreneurship is encouraged and supported by all South Africans, especially older entrepreneurs who can act as their mentors. “Our focus should be on supporting youth entrepreneurs and mentoring them so that they can make the most of their innovativeness, energy and positive spirits and so contribute positively to the economy,” he says.

The seed to launch SAYEN was planted while Phokaners was doing a workshop with the contestants of the SABC TV entrepreneur show Rise Mzansi.  “I was blown away by the number of entrepreneurs under the age of 30,” he says. “I was also encouraged by how hungry they were for information and to learn how to run their businesses more effectively. I wanted to start a platform to help them learn from each other, network and to cast a spotlight on them.”

Entrepreneurs interested in the South African Youth Entrepreneur Network can visit the page on Facebook or post comments on twitter to @sayouthnetwork.

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What To Watch For In Tito Mboweni’s First Budget Speech

By Rob Cooper, tax expert at Sage, and chairman of the Payroll Authors Group of South Africa.

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Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, delivers his first Budget Speech on 20 February at a difficult time for the South African economy. Even though President Cyril Ramaphosa has done much to restore business confidence in his first year in office, GDP growth remains weak, government finances are in relatively poor shape, and renewed load shedding is hurting business confidence.

Judging from his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement in October last year, I expect Minister Mboweni — backed by the team in the National Treasury—to deliver a relatively cautious budget. Much of the focus will be on refinancing the state-owned enterprises and putting them back on to a sustainable footing.

We probably won’t see much in the way of radical thinking since the room for manoeuvre is so limited. Click each header below for an indepth video on the upcoming topics.

National Health Insurance (NHI)

Renewal of the country’s public healthcare system with a mandatory health insurance fund and free healthcare at the point of need has been the ANC government’s policy for years, but progress has been slow to date. There isn’t much money in the country’s coffers to fund something as ambitious as NHI, yet the government will want to show that it is advancing the concept ahead of the elections.

With an NHI bill to be tabled in Parliament soon, we could learn more about how NHI will be funded in this year’s Budget Speech — it’s still not clear whether we will pay for it through payroll taxes, VAT increases or other fundraising measures. As an initial step, we could see medical aid tax credits reduced (or at least not adjusted for inflation) to free up some funding for the NHI.

The Employment Tax Incentive (ETI)

The ETI Act came into effect on 1 January 2014; as a fan of this incentive, I was delighted that President Ramaphosa announced that it will be extended for 10 years another decade in his state of the nation address. However, I have also long argued that the scheme is not performing to its true potential because it is so complex for payroll managers to administer.

The introduction of the national minimum wage adds even more complexity— until and unless the ETI Act is amended, SARS is of the opinion that the National Minimum Wage will not qualify as a “wage regulating measure”. I hope the Budget Speech will announce steps to align the ETI with the national minimum wage and take other measures to simplify administration.

Tax hikes

I don’t expect any major increases to corporate or personal income tax this year since the taxpayer doesn’t have much more to give. I think the top 45% rate will remain unchanged, while tax bracket creep relief (to compensate for inflation) will be limited to lower income earners. It seems unlikely that the Minister will increase VAT again this year, given last year’s increase.

That means the Minister is likely to look at ‘moral’ taxes (sin and sugar taxes) to raise more money; we can expect another steep increase in the fuel levy. Perhaps we’ll also hear about efforts to improve SARS’ revenue collection after several years of under-performance. The agency seems ripe for a turnaround strategy, with high-powered team looking for a permanent chief to take the reins at SARS.

Follow us on @SageGroupZA on 20 February 2019 for LIVE expert insights from the annual Budget Speech.

For more information about Sage’s annual tax seminars, please visit: https://get.sage.com/PRL_19Q1_C4L_ZA_EVCU_NPS_AnnualPayrollTaxSeminar2019

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Top SA Entrepreneurial Competition Praises Sector Optimism And Calls For 2019 Entries

Entrepreneurs interested in entering the competition can enter online here.

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Even in the face of ongoing sluggish growth, exacerbated by widespread allegations of corruption and muted domestic economic activity, South African entrepreneurs remain overwhelmingly optimistic. This was revealed in the Real State of Entrepreneurship Survey 2018, which found that the vast majority of over 1000 business owners surveyed feel very positive about the business climate and outlook for the 12 months ahead.

It is these resilient individuals who will have their deserved time to shine in the 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS, says Kobus Engelbrecht, spokesperson for the competition, who says entries for the renowned competition – now in its 31st year – are officially open.

Entrepreneurial competitions of this nature, however, serve a greater purpose than just celebrating South Africa’s spirited self-starters, notes Engelbrecht.

“Credible platforms such as the Entrepreneur of the Year® competition also act to inspire the next generation of budding entrepreneurs, who have the potential to drive real economic growth at a time where the country needs it most.”

Engelbrecht refers to the World Bank’s recent downward revision of South Africa’s projections for economic growth in 2019 to just 1.3% – 0.6% lower than the South African Reserve Bank’s earlier prediction of 1.9% in November.

“Despite these challenging economic conditions, year on year we still find exceptional entrepreneurs who continue to identify gaps in the market and transform these into viable businesses.

“It is our aim, through this long-standing competition platform, to continually recognise, encourage and support the hard-working entrepreneurs who continue to do well despite the challenges they are faced with. We use the competition to convey our appreciation for the role they play in inspiring others to venture into the world of business,” he says.

In addition to offering valuable mentorship support, networking opportunities and national media exposure, Engelbrecht says that the2019 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition, sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS, offers prizes valued at over R 2 million, which includes cash prizes of R 70 000 for each main category winner, and R200 000 for the overall winner.

“All South African businesses are eligible to enter this competition, and prizes will be awarded across six categories, namely: Overall Entrepreneur of the Year®; Emerging Business Entrepreneur of the Year®; Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year®; Medium Business Entrepreneur of the Year®; Job Creator of the Year; and Innovator of the Year.”

Entrepreneurs interested in entering the competition can download entry forms online at www.eoy.co.za as well as interact with fellow entrepreneurs and entrants on the competition’s social media platforms www.twitter.com/@EOY_SA and www.facebook.com/EOY.SA. The closing date for the competition is 31 May 2019.

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Teenage Matters – Which Skills Are Most Valuable For Our Teens?

When it comes to skillsets useful for teenagers and their futures’, the discussion often centres around the different sets of “hard skills” and subject choices most likely to follow a certain career path or at the very least, provide options after matric. However, there is a school of thought that “soft skills” look to equip teens even beyond their school years.

Anthony Spanjaard

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According to a recent analysis by LinkedIn which measured the most sought-after skills required by companies in 2019, they found that certain soft skills mattered just as much as various hard skills to prospective employers. So, how does this affect our teens now and in the future? Simply put, it allows us to make smart choices for the future and enjoy an increased quality of life now.

Whenever I am in a presentation with over 100 teenagers, it’s always surprising at how many of our young people are terrified of failure. We haven’t taught our kids that failure is necessary to learn.

Many teens fear failure to the point of not wanting to experience a new activity for fear of failing or not being the best. This same fear holds many back from taking the risk of exploring their potential in various areas of life which often leads to feelings of depression and loneliness. Failure happens. Our ability to learn from our mistakes and do it better the next time is what keeps us moving forward.

Let’s face it we all have bad days and our share of ups and downs. Bring in the hormones and some of the current performance pressures both socially and academically and teens often feel magnified emotional experiences which can be confusing and often lead to a feeling of loneliness and self-doubt. By training emotional fitness, teens learn that firstly it’s okay to experience a range of different emotions while also gaining some ability to “bounce back”.

I always tell my teen clients as a golden rule, that if they are not in a great emotional space; that’s okay; but don’t make any important life decisions while being in that state of emotion.

What’s also helpful to understand is that many teens are in the process of discovering, or rather creating an identity for themselves and how they fit into the world. Much of this involves trial and error (this process isn’t always fun, especially for mom and dad).

The exciting part is that once a teen starts to gain some certainty and self-confidence, many of the “symptoms” such as performance, self-doubt, loneliness and confusion tend to lessen. Sometimes quite dramatically.

The idea that all teens by the end of Grade 9 (when subject choices for matric are made) need to know what they want to do with the rest of their lives is, well quite frankly absurd.
Yes, there are some who do know, and this is great, but for the many who do not yet know, this should not be seen as a shortcoming in any way.

Other skills such as effective communication (both with ourselves and others), collaboration, critical thinking, managing social media and empathy are a few more skills which once practiced, stand to improve the quality of a teen’s current experiences as well as arming them with a set of skills which are not only effective in managing ourselves and our relationships, but are also seeing increasing demand in the workplace internationally.

Touching more on the “hard skills” side is entrepreneurship training for teens especially when it’s engaging and designed to teach through gamification and experience.

Certain traits of entrepreneurs such as tenacity, communication, grit and resilience to name a few, are skills which would also benefit many teens in their current environments and in the future. (regardless of their chosen career path.) It also doesn’t hurt for teens to learn how to start a business without raising capital and to understand certain concepts such as cashflow which otherwise may include some painful experiences as the teacher later in life and business.

Education does not guarantee any specific future for our teens however it does offer choices. The more diverse the education our teens receive during their teenage years, the more choices they will have moving forward.

In the meantime, however, wouldn’t it also be good for our teens to enjoy being teens and realising that this is all a process of self-discovery and the opportunity to realise, that while it’s great to fit in, it’s also fine to stand out.

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