Johannesburg - British entrepreneur sir Richard
Branson says that black economic empowerment is also a way of
eradicating poverty and unemployment; Branson made the comment while at
Soweto's Virgin Active gym launch at the weekend.
He feels that more needs to be done to help support upcoming
entrepreneurs and existing ones. His main concern was SA's high
unemployment figures and rampant poverty.
Branson wishes to see everyone being able to support
themselves without any hassles. He dislikes seeing people struggle for
basic necessities like food.
"I think it is wonderful idea seeing how many up and coming
middle class business people there are around. Obviously the biggest
problem in Africa is employment as we still have 21% unemployment. In
other countries like Spain there is a 23% unemployment rate which is not
that different. I think giving people a leg up is generally a positive
thing. We all somehow need to out there and get the unemployment figures
down," said Branson.
He said that government needed to come up with a radical structure to decrease the unemployment rate.
"I think the government needs to come up with radical ideas,
like maybe getting people who are already employed to work fewer hours
in order to share the amount of work, to ensure that those who don't
work get jobs," he added.
He feels that business and government should collaborate to
come up with ideas that will benefit everybody. He encourages people to
start businesses that will ensure that people get jobs to earn a living.
"First of all you need to come up with an idea that is going
to change people's lives; if you feel you have that then you have a
chance of being successful. Then you need to give it a go," said
He further advised that successful entrepreneurs needed to have leadership qualities.
"As an entrepreneur you need to be a people's person, a leader
and motivator. If your business does not do well, pick yourself up and
try again. I suspect you'll succeed," said Branson.
Soweto tycoon Richard Maponya, who was also at the club
opening, added that business was not as easy as it seemed. You needed to
be prepared for the risks and benefits, he said.
Maponya stressed that entrepreneurs needed to be trained and have the skills required to manage businesses.