Entrepreneurship is about starting early


“We all know the challenges around youth unemployment, especially when you’re looking at men under the age of 25. Up to 50 per cent of them are unemployed. There’s a definite need to start doing something over there,” Barclays Africa head of enterprise development banking Sisa Ntshona told CNBC Africa.

“Any type of intervention is welcome that actually starts instilling the element around choice, people choosing to start businesses as opposed to looking for employment.”

Entrepreneurship is an agenda item for most companies and a policy, but a conducive environment has always been necessary for its thriving. While South Africa is a retail and business hub, there are a number of obstacles that make existing and upcoming entrepreneurship undertakings problematic.


“If you think about it practically, you have to register with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, whether you’re Pty or Cc, you have to go register with the Department of Labour for compensation commission, register with SARS,” Ntshona explained.

“Therefore you have to look at the ease of doing business in South Africa. I think we’ve slipped back in terms of our ratings.”

He added that the country’s culture of entrepreneurship needed to be examined and encourage early, even at a primary schooling level to instil entrepreneurship and individual thinking while young.

“There also needs to be an opportunity that exists for people to start and run businesses. It’s often said that our neighbours in the continent out-trade us but also out-educate us. If you can’t understand basic mathematics, it’s going to be very difficult for you to run a business. We need to get those building blocks in place and really give people the opportunity and chances for them to run businesses,” said Ntshona.   

Schooling is however not an obstacle for some entrepreneurs, who managed to set up successful businesses and ventures without any form of formal education. A number of long-standing companies and enterprises have been a family nosiness.

“Traditionally, you go to school, go to university, find a job. Now, if I were to tell my family that I have resigned from my job and I’m starting my own business, their initial reaction will be ‘what went wrong?’ it won’t be celebrated. This is just the culture and environment that we find ourselves in. we need to do a bit more to promote that it is indeed a choice and is okay to start businesses,” added Ntshona.