“Nurture not nature does appear to be more important in shaping the entrepreneurial mindset.” __ Maria Pinelli.
That comment made by the president of the Republic of South Africa still lingers strongly on my mind. You will remember he said then that he declares 2011 as the year of job creation, and further to that the New Growth path set an ambitious target of creating 5 million jobs by 2020. A rational human being can ponder on what Mr president said then and the ambitious target set by another ever-awesome ruling party’s policy document, and ask very poignant questions such as “How will those jobs be created?” and “Why create 5 million jobs, while we can create 1 million businesses?”
Those are questions that will really seek very educated guesses and intellectual arguments. Let me rather be on a discovery to explore this question “Does South Africa offers an enabling and a supportive entrepreneurial environment for its citizens?”
A reasonably well-headed individual wouldn’t dare challenge the assertion that “Entrepreneurship is vital for economic and societal development in any given country. It is an established notion that any country which rewards and compensate innovation is bound to produce more entrepreneurs than job seekers. I am of the view that the culture of entrepreneurship empowers an individual who take the risk to establish a new enterprise, that will eventually lead to job creation and the economy which integrates itself competitively on a global sphere.
As a student with an entrepreneurial spirit at heart, I do not really believe in the fact that as students graduates they should knock at the doors of blue chip companies and leading service firms in search for employment. I believe that new graduates are innovative, driven and have the skill and the drive to start new ventures. However, most of aspiring entrepreneurs are dismayed in launching their new enterprises by the knowledge that funding in South Africa is highly inaccessible, despite many venture capitalist and many incubators and support organisation that the country boast about.
Does South Africa offers and enabling and a supportive entrepreneurial environment? I am still on the course to discover that, bear with me as I journey through the said discovery.
Total Entrepreneurial Activity or TEA for short is a widely used tool used to measure entrepreneurial activity by looking at the percentage of individual active entrepreneurs, between the age of 25 and 64, in any given country. A research paper issued by a leading bank in the country, titled “The Entrepreneurial Dialogues, State of Entrepreneurship in South Africa”, revealed a rather mediocre static that South Africa TEA was standing at 5% following the economic crisis in 2009.
There are fragmented approaches that seek to inspire entrepreneurship in South Africa. May I take a liberty of mentioning NYDA, (without being rebutted) and The Department of Industry and SEDA, to name but a few. I have a feeling that these support structures have failed most of the country’s aspiring entrepreneurs because it (this fragmented approaches) do not seem to be producing acceptable results. Frankly, they are failing at an alarming rate.
Maybe, South Africa is not a country whereby entrepreneurship and innovation is rewarded.
However, I must put my naivety aside and admit that strides are being made in corporate South Africa to nurture the culture of entrepreneurship. The Business Report, reported online on the 20th of February, that another leading South African banking house has launched Enterprise Development, a unit focused and dedicated to assist the growth and development of emerging enterprises.
Even though my accounts, do not answer the question directly, it is evident that South Africa is trying harder through concerted efforts made by private individuals and responsible corporate giants to offer a supportive environment for entrepreneurs.
C’mom, the world is our oyster, as they say, let us develop an entrepreneurial flair as students and help make Msholozi’s far-fetched dream of creating 5 million jobs to see a light of day.
DISCLAIMER: Some of my thoughts may surprise you, you are not alone, I surprise myself sometimes…