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18 November 2017
RUC2014 Blog 16 Entreprenurial spirit burns bright amongst township youth Print
Thursday, 07 May 2015 14:45

A study into youth entrepreneurship in Khayelitsha township in South Africa reveals that despite a lack of support youth still remain enthusiastic about starting their own businesses. Findings show that simple interventions could counteract threats to this entrepreneurial spirit, with positive benefits.

Government interventions urgently required

Despite a lack of support young people in Khayelitsha township, just outside of Cape Town central, still hold hope and enthusiasm to change their own circumstances through starting up their own entrepreneurial business initiaves. This spirit should be encouraged and reinforced with logistical support to increase the likelihood of these youth improving their quality of life, learning life and business skills and reaching financial indepedence, but unless serious government interventions are made quickly, that enthusiasm is at risk of being dampened.

This was the finding of a study conducted by CPUT’s Head of Entrepreneurship and Business Management programme Chux Iwu who investigated challenges and prospects of youth entrepreneurship in Khayelitsha.

 

Infrastructure exists but benefits are not filtering through

Iwu found that there was no shortage of government and commercial interventions that are aimed at developing a greater entrepreneurial spirit. These include the National Youth Development Agency and  programmes from the Department of Trade and Industry. However, despite the infrastructure and goals of these initiatives, the benefits of their mission and the services they offer have failed to filter through to the youth in Khayelitsha.


despite the lack of support for young entrepreneurs the youngsters are still excited about providing a product or service to their township market, believing that being an employer rather than an employee is the only viable way of making a living”

However despite the lack of support for young entrepreneurs the youngsters are still excited about providing a product or service to their township market, believing that being an employer rather than an employee is the only viable way of making a living. “Interestingly all the participants felt that young people in Khayelitsha are becoming more and more enthusiastic about entrepreneurship,” says Iwu.

 

Identifying the eight threats to entrepreneurial spirit amongst township youth

On the flipside the researcher found that there were eight threats to this entrepreneurial spirit including:

  1. lack of capital
  2. high cost of resources
  3. poor access to markets
  4. lack of government support
  5. regulatory red tape
  6. no access to business information
  7. poor management, and finally
  8. difficulty in finding the right employees.

 

Four simple interventions to give young entrepreneurs the boost they need

Based on these finding Iwu says there are relatively simple interventions that the South African government could implement to counteract these threats. They include:

  1. extending the reach of the National Youth Development Association into townships like Khayelitsha
  2. simplifying business registration
  3. giving a short term tax amnesty to matriculants and those from underprivileged schools, and finally
  4. making youth funding available to young businesses.

“there are relatively simple interventions that the South African government could implement to counteract these threats.”

 

Ultimately, it comes down to hard work by the youth themselves

Ultimately though Iwu concedes that the success of these youth-owned businesses relies on the enthusiasm and hard work of the youngsters themselves, saying that success was guaranteed if they took a hands-on role in their company. They could achieve this by reaching out to existing business owners for help and advice, taking initiatives in marketing their services and sourcing the necessary workshops, conferences and symposia to assist them with the skills required.

 

Call to Action

Ideas: Find out about CPUT’s Business Management /Entrepreneurship short course here.

The next blog in this series can be found here. The previous blog in this series can be found here

Research Uptake Communicator
Lauren Kansley
Communication Officer in the Marketing and Communication Department.CPUT
Cape Town, South AFrica
KansleyL@cput.ac.za

Reseacher
Chux Iwu
Head of Entrepreneurship and Business Management programme, CPUT
Cape Town, South AFrica
 

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