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South Africa has made strides in employment growth, yet its youth unemployment rate remains the highest globally. The challenges are numerous, from limited access to quality education to a lack of necessary workplace skills.
According to PwC’s South Africa Economic Outlook report, released in September, seven million South Africans aged 15 to 34 were unemployed in the second quarter of 2023. With the private sector struggling to provide enough jobs, the need for entrepreneurship skills has never been more critical.
“Starting a business without formal education or existing business skills is challenging, but it’s not impossible,” says Shafeeka Anthony, marketing manager of JustMoney.co.za, a personal finance site dedicated to helping South Africans make informed financial decisions. “Many entrepreneurs have paved their own path to success with a combination of determination, resourcefulness, and a willingness to learn.”
JustMoney.co.za offers 15 empowering entrepreneurial tips tailored for young people with limited formal job prospects:
- Identify an opportunity: Consider what you enjoy and excel at. Passion fuels perseverance.
- Clarify your ideas: Develop a business plan outlining your vision, goals, target market, competitors, and projections.
- Start small: Utilise your existing skills and connections to get your business off the ground. Small steps can lead to significant strides.
- Learn continuously: Utilise free or low-cost resources like online courses, books, YouTube tutorials, and podcasts. Focus on areas like marketing, finance, and management.
- Build a support system: Share your ideas with friends and family. Their feedback can be invaluable.
- Network: Connect with mentors and advisers in your sector. Their guidance can help you avoid common pitfalls.
- Focus on customer satisfaction: Listen to customer feedback and adjust your products or services accordingly. Loyal customers are your best advocates.
- Stay informed: Keep up with industry trends and market changes to make informed decisions.
- Manage finances: Keep a close eye on your expenses and income to ensure your business remains viable.
- Collaborate: Be open to partnerships that bring skills and resources to your venture. Networking at events and joining online communities can open doors.
- Embrace online platforms: Utilise social media, e-commerce platforms, and websites to reach a wider audience. An online presence is cost-effective and can lead to substantial sales.
- Seek funding: Research and apply for grants, competitions, and small business loans tailored for young entrepreneurs.
- Be persistent and resilient: Stay determined, adapt to change, and persevere through challenges.
- Embrace failure: Use setbacks as learning opportunities. Many successful entrepreneurs faced multiple failures before achieving success.
- Be adaptable: Flexibility is essential for business survival. Stay open to change and innovation.
“Starting your own business with limited resources is daunting, but it can also be incredibly rewarding in the longer term,” says Anthony.
“Formal education and business skills are advantageous, but a strong work ethic, adaptability, perseverance, and a willingness to learn can help you overcome many challenges. Be bold and follow your dreams. Keep looking forward.”