The Way Forward For South African Entrepreneurs
“Economic transformation lies in the hands of young people, entrepreneurs who have great ideas, energy and audacity of what and how they can contribute to economic growth of the continent”Tony O. Elumelu C.O.N
At The Tony Elumelu foundation, we believe that the private sector holds the key to unlocking Africa’s Economic potential. Therefore, youth entrepreneurship is an important lever for economic growth and employment creation in Africa.
According to Idris Dempsey (CEO, FNB Commercial Banking), entrepreneurship empowers citizens and is required for any emerging market to move forward and successfully integrate into the global economy. The South African government has recognized this contribution and therefore has the goal of establishing South Africa as an entrepreneurial nation that rewards and recognizes entrepreneurship.
To this course we see the contribution of the Small Enterprise Development Agency to promote entrepreneurship and development small enterprises by providing customized non-financial business support services that result in business growth and sustainability. This is in collaboration with other players like Endeavor South Africa, First National Bank, Kauffman Foundation amongst others. Even with all these, the greatest challenge faced by entrepreneurs in South Africa remains access to capital, particularly seed funding.
The issue is not the availability of funds but awareness and preparedness amongst entrepreneurs. There is a general lack of awareness about the procedures and courses of action involved in gaining funding.
In addition to this is the application process which tends to be bureaucratic and heavily laden with protocol and red tape as funders endeavour to gain confidence and assurance when granting funding to entrepreneurs.
Beyond funding is the lack of basic Entrepreneurial training. “From preschool to university graduation, young South Africans are educated and prepared to join the workforce, but this training often fails to include the basic groundwork required for entrepreneurship. This omission in our education system can hamper aspiring entrepreneurs from attaining the key skills they need at the outset of their fledgling business.” – Gugu Mjadu
Our recommendation will be for entrepreneurs to be more proactive in seeking funding opportunities and arm themselves with adequate information. A wealth of information lies on the internet and mass media to investigate various forms of funding available. This should be done alongside sharpening their business ideas or operations to ensure they are ready and eligible for funding opportunities and to see that their business is in line with funders mandate.