DURBAN – Details emerged this week of the economic recovery plan set to be unveiled by President Cyril Ramphosa.
The plan leans heavily on energy supply and reindustrialisation but doesn’t give anywhere near enough attention to supporting early-stage entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs provide the country’s best hope for restoring job and economic growth.
South Africa’s always talked a big game when it comes to entrepreneurship. In fact, encouraging entrepreneurship, especially among young people, is one of the pillars of the National Development Plan.
But if we’re not putting entrepreneurship at the heart of our economic recovery plan, how serious are we about it really?
Given that much of the plan is dependent on private sector investors and social partners, prioritising entrepreneurship would make even more sense.
Even the most altruistic investors expect to see returns, and entrepreneurs in the innovation and technology spaces are best placed to provide those returns.
Moreover, investing in early-stage entrepreneurs, as opposed to big infrastructure projects, allows investors to spread their risk far more effectively than.
South Africa has the necessary talent to create a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem; it just needs to be given the space to thrive.
South Africa doesn’t only have entrepreneurs capable of competing at a global level. We also have world-class technical, marketing and operational talent. And if we are to make the most of these assets, we need to invest in them.
If both government and the private sector do so, we can successfully grow the country’s economy and create jobs. Most importantly, however, we can start doing it right now.
Philani Sangweni is the Managing Partner at Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs (E4E) Africa.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE