DA-led metros tackle youth unemployment through SMME hubs – Mmusi Maimane

Party leader says Johannesburg and Tshwane must be the simplest, quickest places to start a business
DA led Johannesburg and Tshwane tackle youth unemployment through SMME hubs

25 April 2018

The DA-led governments in Johannesburg and Tshwane have a vision of being attractive places for young people to do business. We want these cities to be the simplest, quickest places to start a business, and where young entrepreneurs can get the support they need to turn great ideas into profitable companies.

Today I saw what progress we are making, by visiting the Khoebo Opportunity Centre (OPC) in Johannesburg and the eKasiLab Programme in Tshwane. It was inspiring to meet dozens of young entrepreneurs whose innovative ideas are shaping an exciting future for South Africa.

With 42,8% of young South Africans between the ages of 25 and 34 who are unemployed and a slow economic growth of 1.3%, these hubs are crucial to assist our youth to become actively involved in our economy and can ultimately build successful and sustainable job-creating businesses.

These are not just offices. They are spaces of creation where ideas can be turned into small businesses within hours. They offer expert advice, practical help and useful services.

These visits show what is possible with a government that facilitates successful entrepreneurialism, rather than trying to direct the economy.

A multidisciplinary team of private and public sector partners have come on board the Khoebo OPC venture with some of these key players based at the hub. Skills training and appropriate courses have been earmarked hand in hand with the partners providing an SMME “Single Point of Entry,” SARS systems and company registration, business growth, economic infrastructure, markets, funding access and document assistance.

The DA-led City of Johannesburg will launch five more OPCs by the end of the year and aim to launch fourteen by 2021. The City is setting the bar as a government that builds an enabling environment for a generation of young jobless South Africans to get work.

This encouraging progress has been matched by the City of Tshwane’s eKasiLab programme, brought about by a partnership with The Innovation Hub Management Company as part of the City’s External Innovation Programme. It is a township-based programme that has created a space for young South Africans to create and innovate in their communities, to develop entrepreneurs, stimulate the growth of young people’s skills particularly in the ICT space and for township enterprises to be created that are self-sustaining.

Already this programme is bearing much fruit. Almost 200 young entrepreneurs have already received training and 50 entrepreneurs have been accelerated through this programme. These young entrepreneurs have even been given the chance by the City to present their prototypes and those who achieved the bar set by the Innovation Steering Committee have received funding.

The Khoebo OPC and eKasiLab programme are some of the best examples of how we can together create a South Africa where every person can overcome poverty and unemployment, and achieve their fullest potential.

The DA in government is showing how creative solutions can answer seemingly intractable problems like youth unemployment.

Issued by Mmusi Maimane, Leader of the Democratic Alliance, 25 April 2018