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Self-employment Opportunities & Skills Development

Entrepreneurial Spirit

Entrepreneurial Spirit

South Africa’s business sector needs people with entrepreneurial spirit on their team – enterprising individuals that persistently challenge conventional routines, develop inventive opportunities, generate creative ideas, take calculated risks, and embrace productivity with tenacity and determination. Entrepreneurial spirit is defined as an approach to make consistently good choices that actively seek out long-term constructive change, rather than passively accepting erratic interim change that may conflict with expectations.

Ongoing Crises

While South Africa’s high unemployment rate and ongoing power crisis continues to drag down the country’s growth prospects, the country has also missed out by not focusing on growing its manufacturing base. Poverty rates influence the general health of the national economy; as the economy grows so do opportunities for employment, education, and individual wealth creation. In short, entrepreneurial spirit is a mindset that encourages critical thinking and continuous improvement, making opportunities for advancement, learning and personal development accessible.

Export Engine

South Africa needs faster export growth. Greater domestic competition is needed to encourage the surge of the country’s entrepreneurial spirit to facilitate companies in becoming more productive to enter the export market. Economists contend that restarting South Africa’s export engine to bolster growth will not only offer opportunities to upgrade the country’s reputation as a dominant competitor, but also help create jobs and reduce poverty. Increasing exports, particularly in manufacturing, is crucial for low-skilled job creation needed to substantially reduce youth unemployment.

Smart Factories

Small- and medium-sized factories are the life-blood of modern economies. South Africans are encouraged to develop ‘Smart Factories’ that will change the domestic manufacturing landscape by merging information technology with manufacturing technology, thus heralding a new age of productivity and product customization. However, South Africa’s growth prospects will be driven to junk status if the current electricity crisis is not remedied. A recent research note estimates the economic impact of load-shedding, coupled with Eskom’s plan to increase tariffs by 25 percent for 2015/2016, is likely to cost the country around R16-billion.

Hardest hit

Mining, manufacturing and transport would bear the greatest output losses should this calculation become a reality. The worst placed are manufacturers of basic iron and steel, glass and other non-metal minerals, and chemicals. A blackout lasting several days could drive the country into a recession, which would negatively impact credit ratings, export contracts, production line output, retail distribution, and tourism. An economic downturn may also result in a currency crash, investor strikes, and possibly civil unrest. The amicable solution to Eskom’s dilemma may lie in partial privatization and the involvement of other independent power producers.

Green alternatives

Smart factories thrive on clean production designs and delivery solutions for green chemicals, sustainable materials and environmentally preferable products – driven by a systemic method for the elimination of waste. Companies can no longer afford to dispose of valuable waste in landfills. In most instances this adjustment from conventional factories to smart factories requires a complete rethink of resource-saving, from product design to utilizing material flow analysis methods, to recycling or re-purposing revenue-generating waste and waste materials. For example, a factory making food products could utilize by-products to produce animal feed and organic compost.

Ethical Fashion

Sustainable ‘ethical’ fashion is another example of a smart factory enterprise. Specific factors that distinguish ethical from traditional fashion include the utilization of sweatshop-free labour, energy-efficient processes, eco-friendly fabric, low-impact dyes, and minimal carbon footprint of product transportation. Organic fabrics such as cotton, bamboo and soy are labelled sustainable due to new technologies and farming methods [no-till farming reduces soil erosion, improved irrigation methods reduce excessive water usage, recycling and addressing energy efficiency and waste, and improved methods of pest management].

Up-skill the poor

Most people living in poverty lack access to further education, making many unable to secure employment. Hence, the intention of developing an entrepreneurial mindset, in particular among South Africa’s youth, is to create an engaged workforce. Yet most people fail to recognize that they have great capacity; all they need is a conscious commitment to learn and achieve the improvement required. Personal development mostly demands plain hard work, changing one’s habits and attitude, and reshaping traits to turn negatives into positives, past failures into new beginnings, and mistakes into opportunities

Let-down generation

How can South Africa address the inadequate education of its ‘let-down generation’ of unemployable youth? Outcome-based education [OBE], while believed at the time to be the best school educational system [Grades 1 to 12] for post-apartheid South Africa [1992], failed to equip learners with a comprehensive education. The reason given for the implementation of OBE was to address skills, knowledge and values. However, the outcome left learners with minimal options.

The government can reverse over two decades of educational neglect and help the so-called ‘born-free’ generation [people born since the year of South Africa’s democracy in 1994] win back a sense of self-worth and the expectation of a better education and thus a better life. The answer lies in re-creating low and semi-skilled hands-on jobs in factories, mines and shipyards that will give job-seekers real work and a genuine opportunity to enhance their employability skills and gain access to new ways of learning. Creating opportunities to start micro businesses will allow emerging entrepreneurs to grow business acumen so that they may in time upgrade to a small, medium or large company.

This methodical process will also persuade the newly working population to support the importance of a well-rounded education to send future generations into the world with viable vocational qualifications. South Africa simply can’t afford to have a vast majority of its working-age population unemployed and wholly reliant levitra in the uk on social grant funding!

Critical Thinking

The list of core critical thinking skills includes observation, interpretation, analysis, inference, evaluation, explanation and a willingness to pursue lifelong learning. Critical thinking calls for the ability to anticipate problems, gather relevant information to identify solutions, understand the importance of prioritization in problem solving, and restructure patterns of beliefs to render accurate judgments.

Continuous Improvement

Continuous improvement or good change is a long-term approach to work that systematically seeks to achieve incremental change to improve productivity. The purpose of continuous improvement is the responsibility of every worker, not just a selected few. The intention is to improve management systems, products and services to become competitive, stimulate job creation, develop nation building, support occupational training, institute leadership so that everyone may work efficiently, and remove barriers that rob workers of their right to pride of workmanship.

The country’s labour population is set to explode over the next 20 years, yet if South Africans succeed in finding and developing entrepreneurial spirit the country will undergo a renaissance of epic proportions. Similarly, South Africa will have to make sure the country has an economy robust enough to take full advantage of digital technology.

Words by Theresa Lutge-Smith ( This topic merits further research to produce a Government Research Paper.


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