With the youth unemployment rate sitting at above 50%, growing numbers of young South Africans are considering entrepreneurship as a career option rather than competing for a limited pool of jobs in the formal sector or for a place at tertiary institution.
Some 800,000 young South Africans enrolled for National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams in 2018 alone, meaning that there is fierce competition for a limited number of jobs and tertiary education placements.
Mirroring trends in many other countries, local youth are looking for work that offers them purpose, meaning and a sense of autonomy. They are looking for is mentorship, an opportunity to make a difference and a sense of personal empowerment. They want a sense of control over their destinies and the opportunity to grow at their own pace rather than needing to follow the template of a traditional career path.
The high youth unemployment rate means we need to find ways to facilitate young people entering work and starting a business. To turn entrepreneurial activity into a viable career option, it is essential for government and large organisations to provide young entrepreneurs with support and mentorship.