Is entrepreneurship the answer to unemployment in SA?

As South Africans find themselves without jobs more and more of them are turning to entrepreneurship. Picture: Freepik

As South Africans find themselves without jobs more and more of them are turning to entrepreneurship. Picture: Freepik

Published May 16, 2024


Following the announcement that South Africa’s unemployment rate has risen, it seems that the latest way for people to earn an income is to start their own businesses by becoming entrepreneurs.

According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) from StatsSA, South Africa’s unemployment rate has increased at a steady rate of 32.9% in the first quarter of 2024.

Nkosinathi Mahlangu, Youth Employment Portfolio Head at Momentum Metropolitan said that entrepreneurship has become an alternative since jobs are hard to come by, as indicated in the unemployment stats.

“We have seen South Africans turning to entrepreneurship out of necessity. Entrepreneurship is also seen as an income supplement to the employed as we have seen South African’s having side hustles which are entrepreneurial,“ Mahlangu said.

“Our sluggish economy has taught us to seek other alternative way to generate income and this has been taken up by most of the unemployed youth.”

However, there are risks involved when going down the path of entrepreneurship.

According to Allon Raiz, CEO of Raizcorp, the road to becoming an entrepreneur is not all rosy and it may take months or even years to set up a dream project.

“I believe that SA has developed a culture of glamourising entrepreneurship that is, in a sense, false advertising. The warning label is missing,” Raiz said.

According to Raiz, it is widely accepted that around 96% of new businesses fail within a ten-year period.

“That is staggering statistic and not one that can be easily glossed over. I believe that prospective entrepreneurs should know what the real risks are when starting a business,” Raiz said.

If you are going to down the entrepreneurship path, Raiz shares the five things you need to have.

You have got to have grit

Grit is one of the characteristics entrepreneurs must possess to have a chance at success, along with resilience, trustworthiness, resourcefulness and flexibility.

You have to have the ability to stand up again and again and again, no matter how hard you are knocked down.

You have got to have vision

Without a crystal-clear vision, your business is like a rudderless ship that can’t avoid treacherous rocks.

You need to map out the vision and the destination of your entrepreneurial venture.

You must also turn your vision into a practical strategy and filter it down to your entire organisation. This is essential because if everyone is on the same page, they are less likely to stray off course.

You have got to embrace failure

No-one likes to fail but if you’re failing, you’re learning even if all you learn is how not to do something, according to Raiz.

When you fail, give yourself time to lick your wounds. However, Raiz warned not to do this for too long as you should avoid wallowing. Feel the pain, embrace the failure and move on feeling stronger than before.

You have got to believe in your why

Ask yourself the following questions: Why are you in business? What is the big picture reason that makes you slog away, day in and day out? If you don’t believe in what you are trying to achieve, its guaranteed that no one else will care. Your why is what will keep you going when times get tough.

You have got to have guts

You need to have the guts to go after what you want to make the deal happen. Be audacious because no one but you is going to make your business a success.

IOL Business