Until earlier this year, there was no dedicated organisation addressing the specific concerns of youth owned enterprises, that was before the launch of the Youth Chamber of Commerce and Industry of South Africa (YCCISA).
The chamber, which was only formally launched in Pretoria this month, aims to empower youth entrepreneurs by speaking in one voice on issues affecting youth businesses like enterprise development and job creation. The youth (between ages of 14 and 35 years) constitute about 66% of the 52 million population. Youth unemployment currently stands at 36.1%, with jobless youth making up 75% of the country’s unemployed population, according to StatsSA’s report on youth unemployment from 1994 to 2014.
Speaking at the launch, the Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu said the YCCISA hopes to integrate young people in all sectors of the economy. “The long-term solution to the nation’s unemployment crisis is to create a nation of entrepreneurs and not a nation of job-seekers,” Zulu said. Secretary General of the YCCISA, Malose Ramashala, said it was not only the role of government to create jobs, but that entrepreneurs had a responsibility to do so too.
The YCCISA is a national body with youth chambers in all nine provinces. The chamber falls under the Department of Trade and Industry and is affiliated to the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “We will ensure that in the next five years we have robust youth enterprises that integrate young people in all sectors of the economy,” Ramashala said.
“We must prioritise integrating young people in the mainstream of our economy.” YCCISA is also looking to assist youth businesses in various economic sectors, including infrastructure and transport, agriculture and forestry, mining and energy, manufacturing and ICT, tourism and hospitality and others.
Members of YCCISA pay a minimum subscription fee per year according to their business size and revenue. Members enjoy benefits like business support services, access to affordable advertising and promotions, and access to markets among others.
The YCCISA enjoys support from both government and the private sector. Zulu, commenting at the same event, said government had introduced policy interventions in order to bring young people into the mainstream of the economy. She said her department would develop a number of programmes – both financial and non-financial – to assist youth enterprises and create opportunities for job creation to reduce youth unemployment.
Public Sector leader for Deloitte Southern Africa, Nazeer Essop, has also come out saying he supported the YCCISA initiative. “We are all citizens of this country and we should all take responsibility to help achieve the NDP vision of 2030 to create decent employment for all, eradicate poverty and address inequality that we see every day,” Essop said.
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