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South Africa’s employment growth has been better than expected in recent months, and has approached pre-Covid levels. Nevertheless, our youth unemployment rate remains the highest in the world. This is due to factors such as weak economic growth, social challenges, limited access to quality education, and a lack of workplace skills.
Seven million South Africans aged 15-34 years were unemployed in the second quarter of 2023, according to PwC’s South Africa Economic Outlook report, released in September.
Research indicates that the youth unemployment rate will continue to rise this decade. The private sector is unable to provide the required jobs, and entrepreneurship skills are needed to boost self-employment.
“Starting a business without formal education or existing business skills is challenging, but it’s not impossible,” says Shafeeka Anthony, marketing manager of JustMoney.co.za, a personal finance site that helps South Africans make good money choices. Many entrepreneurs have paved their own path to success with a combination of determination, resourcefulness, and a willingness to learn.”
JustMoney offers 15 entrepreneurial tips to empower young people with limited formal job prospects:
- Identify an opportunity: Consider what you enjoy and are good at.
- Clarify your ideas: Develop a business plan. Outline your vision, goals, target market, competitors, and projections.
- Start small: Use your existing skills and connections to get your business off the ground.
- Learn continuously: Use free or low-cost resources, such as online courses, books, YouTube tutorials and podcasts to acquire the knowledge and skills you need. Focus on marketing, finance and management.
- Build a support system: Share your ideas with friends and family.
- Network: Connect with mentors and advisers in your chosen sector. They can provide guidance, share insights, and help you avoid common pitfalls.
- Focus on customer satisfaction: Listen to your customers’ suggestions and concerns, and be open to adjusting your products or services. Build strong relationships so that your customers become loyal supporters.
- Stay informed: Keep up with industry trends and market changes to make informed decisions and stay competitive.
- Manage finances: Track expenses and income to ensure your business remains viable.
- Collaborate: Be open to partnerships that can bring skills and resources to your venture. Connect at business events and join online communities.
- Embrace online platforms: Use social media, e-commerce platforms, and websites to reach a larger audience. Building an online presence is cost-effective and can lead to substantial sales.
- Seek funding: Grants, competitions, and small business loans are available for young entrepreneurs. Research and apply for these.
- Be persistent and resilient: Stay determined, adapt to changing circumstances, and persevere.
- Embrace failure: Don’t be discouraged by setbacks; use them as opportunities to learn and grow. Many successful entrepreneurs faced multiple failures before achieving success.
- Be adaptable: Flexibility is essential for business survival.
“Starting your own business with limited resources is daunting, but it can also be incredibly rewarding in the longer term,” says Anthony. “Many successful businesses began as small, home-based operations. Use your skills, such as baking, craft-making, or tutoring. Formal education and business skills are an advantage, but a strong work ethic, adaptability, perseverance, and a willingness to learn can help you overcome many challenges. Be bold and follow your dreams. Keep looking forward.
JustMoney.co.za is a trusted voice within the personal finance sector. The JustMoney website offers articles, money management tools, and a wide range of financial products and services. Over 250,000 South Africans subscribe to the newsletter to stay informed and become financially savvy. Find the website here.