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Backing the drivers of a new economy

06 June 2016 Jonathan Faurie

Ubuntu is an ancient African philosophy meaning humanity to others. It also means I am what I am because of who we all are. If we think that we live in isolation when it comes to the challenges that the country faces, we are wrong. The responsibility of community upliftment doesn’t rest squarely on government’s shoulders. There needs to be some collaboration between government and the public if we want to improve this country.

Lending a helping hand

One of the biggest issues in South Africa is unemployment. While we are all aware of the issue, we need to stop becoming complacent thinking that we cannot make a difference. The ripples caused by a pebble being dropped in the ocean go a long way.

Amidst recent news from Stats SA that 5.7 million South Africans of working age are unemployed, Santam views entrepreneurs as the drivers of a new economy and is putting resources behind financial consumer education for small, medium and micro sized enterprises (SMMEs) in Soweto to advance developing enterprises.

Thinking out of the box

Santam has partnered with The Box Shop, a recently established retail outlet and business incubator situated within the Vilikazi Street precinct of Soweto, where it has setup a learning hub to provide specialist financial consumer education for entrepreneurs. This lifestyle retail outlet houses micro enterprises within the fashion, furniture, accessories and food industries.

The consumer education training partner Phama Media Marketing and Solutions, also an SMME, has been contracted to deliver the training which started at the beginning of May. The focus is on interactive teaching covering concepts such as the basics of financial planning, business budgeting and insurance do’s and don’ts as well as the risks faced by entrepreneurs.

A powerful weapon

Former state president Nelson Mandela believed that education is the most powerful weapon anyone can use to change the world. This is as true in life as it is in business.

Ray-ann Sedres, Head of Transformation at Santam, says the insurer believes that investing in education and supporting initiatives to create viable and sustainable businesses has the potential to reverse the downward trend in unemployment, and create a society of job makers rather than job seekers.

Sedres explains that through their participation in this project, Santam will be providing consumer financial education to the various enterprises at The Box Shop. During the course of the programme, they plan to provide training to between 600 and 800 entrepreneurs and SMME’s between now and December this year. 

“Supporting and developing entrepreneurs to create new businesses is good for the economy and provides a springboard towards greater employment opportunities down the line. Equipping entrepreneurs with the right skills and appropriate training could prove the difference between a failed enterprise or that of a sustained and successful start-up with the potential to expand and grow,” says Sedres.

Developing an entrepreneurial culture

She adds that with South Africa’s unemployment rate at an eight year high, imparting greater support to the establishment and development of small businesses and the BREAK active promotion of a broader entrepreneurial culture is one of the ways in which the economy can be stimulated and additional jobs created.

“The training will provide enterprise owners with knowledge and skills to improve their financial literacy and financial accountability placing the entrepreneur in a better position when it comes to making important business decisions. This will assist them in risk proofing their businesses,” concludes Sedres.

The training forms part of a broader consumer education strategy initiated by Santam aimed at community upliftment and promoting access to financial services. It is done in support of government’s drive to combat the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality but also understanding that emerging markets have specific needs.

Editor’s Thoughts: We would all like to possess a magic wand that we can waive around to change the things we need to. But the reality of the situation is that this can only be achieved through hard work. The unemployment issue is bigger than government, it is a deep social issue, and if we want to see our community uplifted, we need to play out own part. Well done to Santam on this great initiative. Please comment below, interact with us on Twitter at @fanews_online or email me your thoughts jonathan@fanews.co.za.

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