As the new economy generation of young people in South Africa Today, we are generally exposed to more options for self-and independent-employment than our parents were. We have greater freedom, many choices, and are more autonomous, yet, in comparison, our life and business experience is limited. In our new millennium, we live in a world of almost instant everything, but we face unprecedented economic and social realities, and are further confronted by an increasingly fast-paced, complex, and unpredictable business world. Mentoring can provide much needed support and guidance to help SMME’s to become successful in their own businesses, while, to some extent the SMME’s may be educated or knowledgeable about certain disciplines, without having had the opportunities to apply their academic training and gain experience, there is often a lack of many skills and the requisite maturity needed to survive in business.
The Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDaT) through the Youth and Disability unit held an information session in the Namakwa region on the 28-30 March 2017. The aim of the information session was to inform the students at the Namakwa College of the services offered by the department and the opportunities they can take advantage of. Students from the Entrepreneurial Developmental Skills class were enlightened on how SMME’s contribute to the economy, reducing unemployment and urged to take advantage of the opportunities offered by government in to tapping into the business world. Ms Seta De Vos explained to the class the process, the requirements and the opportunities of establishing a Cooperative.
One of the requirements of the class to qualify in the fields they are studying for is to complete a lucrative business plan. The team encouraged the learners not only to see it as one of the requirements but also as an opportunity. Ms Moalekwa informed the learners that there will be a competition run by Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) in partnership with the department where they will be looking for good quality business plans and see how they will support that business idea. A good business plan is essential in supporting a good business idea and for grant funding. Grant funding services is aimed at assisting the start of a business or in the upgrading of the business. Ms Moalekwa also encouraged the learners in starting their own business and visiting the SEDA offices to enquire more about the registration process.
“I am already in the business of selling clothes to the community but we are not registered. My brother and I buy clothes from Johannesburg and Cape Town and sell to the locals. We have already established a clientele and so far the business is doing really well. I have enrolled in the Entrepreneurial Skills course to enhance my skills as a business person. I have also identified a need of entertainment in our community. There are no recreational activities where the youth can keep them busy. I am so happy that the department has taken this time to share such valuable information as it will give us guidance in what to do.” Said Andisiwe Mdlalana, a student at the Namakwa College.
Ms Wildemans and Ms Dennis continued to encourage the learners to look at the business opportunities emphasising on the future growth and development of our economy. Wished them all the best in the future endeavours.