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Two ways internet access impacts aspiring young entrepreneurs

Jun 14 2018 14:38

There are two areas that are impacted by access to internet that will affect aspiring entrepreneurs of the future, according to David Morobe, regional general manager at Business Partners.

The first one is education.

"South Africa’s education system has for long been reported to be facing many challenges. Online learning can offer a viable solution to this problem as learners will be able to access courses and textbooks from any location ultimately minimising the issue of space in schools and universities," says Morobe.

The second area is the method of doing business.

"The digital world is increasingly becoming further entrenched in the business world. From digitally based companies like e-commerce sites or the use of social media as a tool to market a business, it is becoming an essential platform for companies to utilise," says Morobe.

"For example, it has been reported that Facebook alone is used by 550 million people globally to buy and sell items in local communities. It also provides an inexpensive and far-reaching way to market a business."

Morobe says this is a great way for fledgling small businesses to minimise the costs of having a website as well as expensive marketing costs, while still being able to garner similar results.

“Therefore, it is crucial that the public and private sectors band together and invest in the country’s digital infrastructure to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem where Generation Z thrives so that they can create jobs for themselves and contribute towards minimising the youth unemployment rate in South Africa,” comments Morobe.

He says that, as the first batch of Generation Z is now entering the workforce, the challenges facing young entrepreneurs must be addressed.

The latest research by Statistics South Africa, shows youth unemployment in the country stood at a disappointing 52.4% for the first quarter of 2018.

This number could, however, be minimised if the public and private sector join forces to build a supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem for the younger generation, says Morobe.

Statistics show the younger generation is more open-minded to entrepreneurship as a career choice than generations before them.

Research reveals that 72% of Generation Z (those born between 1995 and 2012) aspire towards opening their own business. This is in comparison the 66% of the Millennial Generation (those born between 1980 and 1994) who aspire to be entrepreneurs.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said in his inaugural State of the Nation Address that SA’s economy is being sustained by small businesses.

“With this in mind, it is extremely positive that the younger generation has more entrepreneurial intentions compared to previous generations. This sentiment needs to be cultivated by creating the best possible entrepreneurial ecosystem,” says Morobe.

“This is not to say that the public and private sector should shirk their responsibility for creating jobs. Government should remain committed to creating a conducive environment for business growth and, in turn, the private sector should run their businesses optimally with the view to be more profitable and create jobs.”

Traits of Gen Z    

It is important, in his view, to note that Generation Z is the first generation to not know life without the internet and social media, which is a big contributing factor to the overall characteristics of this generation.

“Dubbed digital natives, Generation Z is growing up with a plethora of information readily available at their fingertips and a wealth of instilled technological knowledge," explains Morobe.

"With the World Economic Forum reporting that there will be more than 1.5 million new digital jobs globally available by 2020, they are already at an advantage compared to their generational predecessors.”

He points out, however, that the digital landscape in SA proves to be a challenge for some.

“The World Wide Worx’ Internet Access in South Africa 2017 report has revealed that income disparity is causing a digital divide,” he says.

Even though the overall internet penetration was recorded at 40%, South Africans on high income levels had an internet penetration rate of over 82%, while internet penetration fell below 30% among the lowest income earners and, therefore, limits access, adds Morobe.

“Bearing this in mind, it is imperative to rectify this disparity so that all South African’s have equal and affordable access to the internet in order to minimise challenges local Generation Z may face as they grow into the workforce.”

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