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SA must up its entrepreneurial game

Mar 15 2013 13:19
Neville Lennox
Johannesburg – South Africa is lagging sub-Saharan Africa by far when it comes to entrepreneurship and should learn from its neighbours, said project manager of the Sanlam/Business Partners of the Year competition Nimo Naidoo.

Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the top performing regions in the world when it comes to entrepreneurial skill, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2012 Global Report.

Naidoo believes that South Africa should aspire to instil a positive entrepreneurial culture similar to those of neighbouring African countries.

The report shows that people in Sub-Saharan countries have strong, positive attitudes and perceptions towards entrepreneurship.

According to the report, 70% of the respondents believe that good entrepreneurial opportunities exist for them over the next six months. Naidoo said South Africa displays contrasting characteristics.

"South Africa recorded a 7% total early-stage entrepreneurial activity (TEA) level in 2012, which is a 2% decrease from 9% in 2011.

"While South Africa is better off than it was in 2004 when the TEA level was at 5.4%, the country is a large margin short of other African countries such as Zambia and Ghana, who have TEA levels of 41% and 37% respectively.”

Naidoo conceded that the majority of the Sub-Saharan countries differ economically, which she said could be a reason why South Africa seems to be so far behind.

“Most of the Sub-Saharan countries that participated in the GEM survey are factor-driven economies, and according to the research, these economic models tend to have relatively higher levels of entrepreneurial activity than efficiency-driven economies such as South Africa.

“Namibia, however, which is also an efficiency driven economy, in comparison to South Africa, has a TEA level of 18%, which is approximately what we should strive towards.”

She said it is essential that all major stakeholders, in both the private and public domain, work together to develop a positive entrepreneurial culture that supports and encourages local entrepreneurs.

South Africa can realise its developmental goals by drawing on the energies of its people and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society, according to the government’s National Development Plan (NDP).

The NDP states that improving the quality of education, skills, development and innovation will play an important role in attaining this goal and that business, labour, communities and government must work together to achieve faster economic growth.

The NDP’s ideals are supported by Paarl Media through its bolstered and re-accredited Academy of Print training, the group said this week.

“South Africa has unique challenges in terms of growing an inclusive economy and becoming globally competitive.

“To overcome these challenges, crucial skills transfer and developing highly skilled employees should be a high priority across every sector,” said Nico Grobbelaar, executive director of human resources at the Paarl Media.

Paarl Media seeks to harness future leaders of the printing industry through the academy, which offers management and leadership development, as well as technical and non-technical training, he said.


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