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New technologies enable richer entrepreneur engagement
Entrepreneurs can be defined as those who take capital and use it to make more, generally employing others during the process. Currently, entrepreneurialism is one of the key areas of focus in the drive to reduce high levels of unemployment locally. The urgency of this issue has been reiterated following recent reports by Statistics South Africa, which indicates this year’s first quarter unemployment rates in the country to have risen sharply to 26.7% of the work force.
With the introduction of new technologies and initiatives, young business people are now able to access a world of innovative tools that were previously unheard of in order to create much needed opportunities.
Mere decades ago, those with new ideas for business generally started small, with access to limited opportunities for funding. Aside from taking on the challenge of competing with larger, more established organisations, entrepreneurs of the recent past were required to physically engage with potential investors, partners and mentors. This was often carried out by way of knocking on doors, investing countless precious hours in securing and travelling to meetings.
The emergence of the Internet and access to modern technology has led to a plethora of new ventures and entrepreneurs who have found easier ways to do business by making use digital communication. In today’s world, entrepreneurial undertakings and technology tend to be intrinsically connected.
This is according to Michelle Potgieter, Director of Corporate Marketing and Communications at Samsung SA, who says, “Technology today can be used by entrepreneurs both as the focus of their talents and also as a tool that encourages and aids innovation. A creative and key example of a modern tool for South African entrepreneurs is the recently unveiled Samsung Launching People: Mixed Talents solution.”
The Samsung Mixed Talents campaign invites young local entrepreneurs to make use of a technological platform created to offer them a mouthpiece for voicing their ideas and connecting to expert partners for mentorship and guidance. This resource hub is powered by an innovative Ideas Bank, which was created by the Mixed Talents expert team and further developed in partnership with METIME, an online start-up company that facilitates job creation and operates differently to normal employment models.
Ian Wright, co-founder of METIME, says, “Technology and the modern devices we have access to can act as the most amazing tools of progression. However, the true importance lies ultimately in how the entrepreneur uses the tool. For example, today’s technology is a critical tool for entrepreneurs in their endeavours to access funding and information, as well as communicate with potential partners and mentors. This is what the Ideas Bank is all about.”
Wright says the Ideas Bank helps people to promote their business and skills using a social media mindset within a business context. “The site allows users to categorise themselves in one of three different ways – as a sponsor (investor), an employer or a consultant (coach) – and from day to day, users can change their on-site definition of themselves depending on the need at the time.
“A sponsor is somebody who offers themselves as an enabler for another person’s work idea. An employer could be anyone who has a particular need for a particular service, while a consultant offers their time and talents to others. This multi-dimensional characterisation means that users are able to present themselves in different ways at different times and transforms the job-seeking from knocking on doors, both literally and metaphorically, highlighting just one aspect at a time.”
Wright says that the database’s information is not prescriptive. “Those on our system will tell the community what they need. From the customisation of their specific requirements we are seeing and noting new trends to start working with. For example, we have already seen a trend of building up the informal trader and are looking at potential matches in this arena from differing needs across the database.”
“Given enough real help and guidance, successful entrepreneurs can ultimately impact the economy of a country in significant ways,” says Wright. “In today’s tech-driven world, the Samsung Mixed Talents platform is of tremendous help to young South African entrepreneurs. But, in our opinion, this is just the beginning.”
Potgieter concludes by explaining that the true benefit to entrepreneurs does not lie in any one piece of technology that Samsung develops. “Samsung’s greatest value lies in its approach to building a solution that can be used by those who have been looking for it and truly need it. We believe this ideology – of sharing ideas and resources – lies at the heart of how the world will work in the future and how we will combat unemployment going forward, thus ultimately facilitating the growth of our country’s economy as well as its population’s wealth and social security.”
For more information on the campaign or to register, visit: www.launchingpeople.co.za and follow #MixedTalents