Panellists from a webinar held recently by the Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS) encouraged youth to open their own business, but not as a last resort. They agreed that matriculants who wanted to start a business needed as much knowledge as possible to navigate the space and there were many options to prepare for the business world.
The webinar was about post-matric opportunities for the youth and the speakers included representatives from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), the National Empowerment Fund and Tshwane-based Incubation Hub Africa Beyond 4IR (AB4IR). Khanyisile Cele from career development services in the DHET said that the opportunities offered by Further Education and Training (FET) and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges could help youth get into business.
“There are learnership opportunities which allow (graduates from TVET and FET Colleges) to learn a trade and gain practical experience after which they receive a qualification and practical experience that will enable them to start their own businesses,” she said. “But it must be said that learners shouldn’t choose these courses simply because they have no choice… they have to make well-informed decisions about their choices,” she said.
AB4IR CEO Kelebogile Molopyane urged female matriculants to join the ICT sector. “There is a lower representation of women in the ICT sector than men, and we want to change that,” she said. “We encourage the youth to join the ICT space through a programme called Umbercoder. This is a platform through which we consciously drive programmes to interest women into participating in this sector.”
She also said that the youth must take advantage of incubation centres. “Incubation is a good place to start when you are young and have a business idea, but don’t know where to start or how to get it into the market,” she said. “We help the youth from the idea stage and help them refine the idea and create a business from the prototype to (the) market-ready stage.”
National Empowerment Fund pre investment manager Mpume Majola encouraged youngsters with business ideas to act on them. “Many people who want to start a business waste time they should have been using to polish their idea and when it is time to start the business, it is no longer easy to penetrate the market,” she said.“We offer funding options from R250,000 to R75-million and we assist businesses to be incubated, working with incubation centres to ensure that your business plan is a bankable business plan.”
She also encouraged the youth to consider either furthering their studies in business or doing intense research in order to enrich their knowledge in business.