Small businesses run by the youth are positive for the economy: CHIETA Empowering the youth to become successful entrepreneurs has many benefits, according to Chemical Industries Education & Training Authority (CHIETA) CEO Yershen Pillay.
SMMEs run by youngsters can create jobs for unemployed youth. Also, once they reach a certain threshold of sustainability, which is defined by turnover and their number of employees, they contribute to the skills levy, which is the common fund that sustains Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) and helps them support small businesses. Pillay said that while there was no silver bullet to address the rampant unemployment numbers, particularly amongst the youth, the country had to recognise that comprehensive skills development for young would-be entrepreneurs was an essential part of efforts to create jobs.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which represents 38 countries including South Africa, published an article late last year, which highlighted the global disconnect between young people’s aspirations to be entrepreneurs and the reality. The article stated that overall, about 45% of young people would rather work as an entrepreneur than an employee, and 41% believed this was feasible.
However, few young people were actively working on start-ups or managing businesses. Only about 8% of people aged between 18 and 30 in OECD countries were doing so between 2016 and 2020. “This is exactly the scenario that is driving CHIETA’s Vision 2025, which aims to support 2000 SMMEs and 200 start-ups by 2025 with wide-ranging skills development and financial investment,” Pillay said.
“By the end of this year, CHIETA will be about a third of the way to achieving this goal. In 2021 we supported 125 entrepreneurs and by the end of this year we will be equipping a further 500 for successful small business growth.” CHIETA has also allocated an R20-million budget for small business support in the chemical industries sector for the 2022/23 financial year.
“This will assist in delivering training in entrepreneurial skills, incubation programmes, learnerships, bursaries, adult education and training, and other initiatives that contribute overall to small business growth, all of which will be carefully monitored and evaluated throughout the duration of the programmes to ensure success and sustainability,” he said. “This is going some way towards offsetting the strong non-entrepreneurial culture in South Africa and instead instilling an entrepreneurial mindset within the ranks of our youth and, working with large-scale enterprises, throughout the supply chain.”