The Government alone can not create the jobs that they said they would. It’s you and I (entrepreneurs) who will create sustainable jobs” – Sam Apata
On Monday, 13 November 2017, the first day of 67CEOs Fireside Chats took place. The session was moderated by Sam Apata, convener of 67CEOs with three CEO’s who formed part of the panel discussion under the theme The Future of Sustainable Job Creation and the topic was Promoting Sustainable Youth Entrepreneurship Culture (Solutions to youth high unemployment rate).
The panelists included Rahab Matabane, CEO of Mapitsi Holdings (PTY) Ltd. Rahab has been an entrepreneur for the past 14 years. She also runs an HR company and sits on the board of IPM, which is the Institution of People Management. Rahab runs an HR company and sits on the board of IPM – Institution of People Management. Mimi Kalinda also formed part of the panel discussion. Mimi is the CEO of Africommunications which is a PR and Communications Agency focusing on reputation management in the policy field and social impact. Africommunications is based in Johannesburg, with offices in different parts of the continent. The final member to join the panel was CEO of New Discovery BS, Derrick Ndzavi. Derrick is an entrepreneur whose business New Discovery Business Solutions has been running since 2001.
Building of youth employment and its sustainability
With the aforementioned panel of CEO’s possessing a wealth of knowledge and first-hand experience in entrepreneurship, the conversation on the sustainability of entrepreneurship among the youth promised to be an intriguing one. Moderator Sam Apata opened the floor posing the question: Where do we start with job creation with young people in SA? Rahab Matabane suggested that entrepreneurs need to take the trading environment into consideration. She also put forward that the notion of reaching a certain age to actively participate in the economy should be demystified. “We’re talking about the fourth industrial revolution and our children are talking about being entrepreneurs at the age of 16.” She encouraged business owners to make room in their business for the youth because “some things are invaluable, like experience.” Using the example of a hypothetical Spaza shop in Soweto to further explain her point, Rahab said: “You’ve got a Spaza shop in Soweto – what are you doing for economic development for the youth? Do you know how many high school children are within that vicinity? Call them in.” She says Spaza shops are a great way to learn business. The youth can learn to conduct informal market research, branding, and merchandising to say the least. Mimi Kalinga took the conversation a little further into the future stating that the future is about tech. “How do we leverage tech to improve our current businesses? You need to be thinking about the future because your business is then relevant to your audience…” She stated that we are not preparing today’s youth for tomorrow and shared a statistic showing that 65% of primary school going children today will work at jobs that have not been created yet. She also pointed out later in the discussion that the narrative about entrepreneurship being glamorised among the youth should be addressed. The reality is that entrepreneurship is not as glamorised as the youth think. Mimi stressed that the youth needed to know this.
A similar question on the sustainability of entrepreneurship amongst the youth was posed to the third panel member, Derrick Ndzavi. Some of his comments were as follows: “We can sit here and talk about jobs but if we are not hungry to see another person feed their families from our jobs we might not be able to move forward or even end up closing shop. Most entrepreneurs we think of hiring people when we’re tired. We should cautiously decide and say let us uncultured the system the system is cultured that as an entrepreneur you have to sweat and work hard…” Derrick encouraged entrepreneurs to consider hiring people when the business grows. “When you start your business you start with pillars, where you are a book keeper, accountant and buyer and this as that. As your business grows look at your indicators and say can I get someone to be in that spot do this job before I get tired? And then you create a salary for that person. Let’s create these jobs that will have people co-work with us. Today’s entrepreneurs can adopt the concept that they too can start businesses. It should not shock us when a 20 year old says they are employing thirty people.”
Audience members posed questions to panelists towards the end of the session. Sessions were an hour long and insights from the audience and panelists remain food for thought. The first day of 67CEOs was proven a success and we remember these empowering words spoken by Derrick Ndzavi:
“You cannot say that you are growing your business unless you look at creating opportunities for people so that they can co-exist in your business and flourish in their business.”
Click here to watch the conversation unfold on 67CEOs Youtube channel.