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Collaborative initiative addresses business development and the unemployment crisis

Unemployment and lack of business skills are proving to be major drawbacks in advancing the economic well-being of the country, noting that unemployment is at the highest in 13 years. To tackle these problems, a number of businesses in the private sector and NGOs joined together to stage a business-readiness springboard and employment doorway, The Business Warm-Up, to confront head-on the economic challenges facing South Africa's youth.
Supported by Infinity Learning, Harambee, The Business Place, National Small Business Chamber (NSBC) and the Zinto Marketing Group (Zinto), The Business Warm-Up took place at the Soweto Theatre in Jabulani on Thursday, 26 January 2017.

The City of Johannesburg’s Department of Economic Development endorsed the event and participated through its partnership with The Business Place which operates seven BizHubs in the city to support small businesses.

South Africa has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world. It is with these statistics that the partners in The Business Warm-Up have come together.

With 40% of Johannesburg’s population, Soweto must play its part in creating new jobs. This will only happen if we create a business-friendly environment, reduce red tape, open up new markets, and provide resources and financial support for start-ups and fast-growing businesses.

The initiative was aimed at existing business owners, entrepreneurs and future start-ups, and jobseekers wanting to enter the workplace, with the intention of stimulating local business, creating jobs as well as assisting job seekers to find employment.

A delegate and aspirant entrepreneur, Cortneigh Halim from Bassonia in the south of Johannesburg, commented: “The Business Warm-Up was very informative. I learnt the key concepts of becoming a business owner; these included the different methods of acquiring assistance and advice, as well as the application process for obtaining funding for start-up capital. The information provided fulfilled my attendance at today’s event and the speakers were very knowledgeable. I hope to attend more of these events in the future.”

Zinto’s co-founder, Michelle Combrinck, said: “When we learned about The Business Warm-Up we were immediately drawn to the initiative as another platform to address the unemployment crisis and offer our insights into uplifting the youth.”

A recent enterprise that Combrinck conceptualised, Zenzele Educational Doorway (Zenzele), gives young hopefuls an opportunity to advance in society and pursue a rewarding career. The opening of Zenzele for wannabe client service professionals is indicative of the need for youngsters to become active jobseekers and opportunity creators as youth unemployment remains a crisis.

It is the intention to roll out this workshop to further communities and reach many more unemployed who require support and assistance in finding sustainable employment opportunities.

30 Jan 2017 12:01

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