You are on page 1of 3

The Fire Within

The most important meaning of work to me is that I am able to put

food on the table and a roof over the heads of my dependents and
for myself. Work means that I share an interest in the well being of
the economy. Work means that I am able to apply my training,
education and skills to make a living while such engagement gives
meaning to my life. What is of particular importance to all of us is to
find work as soon as we completed our education in order to
develop a career. All of these benefits fall away if you are
What happens if I am young and ready to work while statistics tells
me that my chance to find work is poor? South African statistics for
2014 found that 41% of the population or 19 630 000 South Africans
could be classified as youth. Of these 5 977 000 were employed, 3
474 000 unemployed and 10 159 000 not economically active.
Eight point nine percent of these young people were involved within
early-stage entrepreneurial activity (in 2015) that reflects on the low
number of young people who pursue self-employment as an option.
World wide, a young person had been found (2013) to be three
times more likely to be unemployed as compared to an adult.
Stable employment is furthermore not being guaranteed for those
young people who secure employment. Numerous studies on the
topic of the future of work found that very few people who started to
work for one employer complete their career with the same
employer. More and more work is being outsourced or structured on
a contractual basis.
A worldwide tendency evolved from the logic above to appreciate
entrepreneurship as the solution to these challenges. Competent
entrepreneurs are being able to create jobs for themselves and
others while they assume the responsibility for the development of
their own careers. Existing data supports the hypothesis that
entrepreneurs make a contribution to job creation and to contribute
to economic growth.
Entrepreneurs are receiving this attention because they: are able to
build a business or organization from practically nothing; they make
things happen for themselves; they turn set-backs into
opportunities; they see gaps; they sense opportunities; they
maintain effort until their objectives had been achieved; they build
founding teams of talents and expertise around them to
complement their abilities in areas where they are less
knowledgeable or skilled; they initiate and do; they have the knowhow to find, marshal and control resources often owned by others
and make sure they dont run out of money when most needed;

they take calculated risk, both personal and financial to then do

everything they possibly could to turn the odds in their favor.
There is an important distinction made by scholars between
necessity entrepreneurs and opportunity entrepreneurs. Necessity
entrepreneurs are being defined as those who are being pushed into
entrepreneurship because of the necessity to have a job.
Opportunity entrepreneurs are being defined as those who are being
pulled into entrepreneurship most likely, from an existing job.
Opportunity entrepreneurs tend to be more profitable than necessity
entrepreneurs. Efforts to alleviate poverty through the stimulation of
entrepreneurship will have a strong emphasis upon necessity
Policy initiatives provide for an enabling environment towards
entrepreneurship development: the South African National Youth
Policy 2015 2020 states that Economic participation (through
entrepreneurship and participation in the labour market) is an area
that still needs serious attention while it aims to Strengthen youth
service programmes and introduce new community-based
programmes to offer young people life-skills training,
entrepreneurship training and opportunities to participate in
community development programmes. The Department of Basic
Education had been mandated by the Human Resource
Development Council to implement entrepreneurship education with
a focus on four areas: teacher development, stakeholder
involvement, policy formulation and, the development of foundation
skills (numeracy and literacy) amongst learners.
A number of substantial initiatives to stimulate entrepreneurship
amongst the South African youth are reaching scale. More that 3
000 South African schools, 342 000 learners and 2 400 teachers had
been reached through in-school entrepreneurship education delivery
together with the annual national Simama Ranta competition for
secondary schools.
In-school entrepreneurship education is being delivered to South
African schools since 1996 that consist learning and teaching
support materials, teacher training, Youth Enterprise Society (YES)
clubs and youth entrepreneurship leadership development.
An annual national entrepreneurship education competition open to
South African secondary schools had been initiated in 2010 called
Simama Ranta (strengthen the South African economy through
youth entrepreneurship) as funded by the Eskom Development
Foundation PLC. Schools enter the competition with a portfolio of
evidence which responds to the eleven principles of the competition
1. Clear definition of what an entrepreneur is;

2. The usage of quality entrepreneurship education content material

in the classroom;
3. Teachers follow innovative facilitation approaches;
4. Continuous teacher development in entrepreneurship education;
5. In-the-classroom theory is being linked to the practice there-off in
extra-mural activities;
6. Engagement of all of the stakeholders of the school towards the
development of a culture of entrepreneurship with a learner focus;
7. Clear aims and objectives of the school that directs their
entrepreneurship education initiatives which allows for monitoring
and evaluation;
8. Learners are being enabled to initiate and lead projects;
9. The co-ownership of entrepreneurship is being illustrated through
the involvement of the School Governing Body, School Management
Team, all teachers, as well as engagements from the District and
Provincial offices of the Department of Basic Education;
10. Learners receive exposure to career options open to
entrepreneurs and
11. The school use effective outreach and networking strategies.
What the information above makes clear is that youth
entrepreneurship represents a niche within the broad scope of
entrepreneurship development. Cognizance must be taken of the
developmental stages that young people finds themselves in. Efforts
to stimulate an interest in entrepreneurship should not have a
negative impact upon the education and training of the youth. Such
initiatives must furthermore not create the perception amongst the
youth that entrepreneurship represents the one and only career
path to follow with anything else perceived to be of lesser value.
But, that in-school entrepreneurship education has got a
tremendously positive impact on the children and young people
reached is being witnessed by the lives that had been changed over
the years. The impact upon self-esteem, initiative taken,
constructive engagement in school activities, hope for the future
and the ability to assume responsibility to create an own future all
speaks to the catalytic influence of youth entrepreneurship
Contact: EWET Education With Enterprise Trust, PO Box 150, 49c
Stuart Street, Harrismith, 9880, South Africa. Tel. (058) 623 0104,
Fax. (058) 623 0107, email: Website: Facebook:
Twitter: @EWETian
Contact: Arie Bouwer
Registration no. 5961/92. Public Benefit Organisation no. 930013786. Nonprofit registration no. 000-383