Entrepreneurship: A solution to job creation

by Cobus Oosthuizen: Dean of Postgraduate Business Programmes, Boston City Campus.
A national strategy on Entrepreneurship could offer a solution to the unemployment figure, currently sitting at a staggering 51% of young South Africans. A unified national centre consisting of stakeholders from government and the private sector could bring a national strategy on entrepreneurship to fruition and align commitments, provide a common goal on a macro level and lead and coordinate micro initiatives across the country. The ultimate purpose of a national centre for entrepreneurship would be to induce economic growth through start-up businesses and to stimulate the generation of new corporate jobs through corporate entrepreneurship.

Although steps have been taken by the private and public sector towards increasing the level of entrepreneurial activity, the desired results are not being achieved and many challenges still remain. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) research attributed this to a low level of overall education and training, social factors that do not promote entrepreneurship as a career path of choice, lack of access to finance and a difficult regulatory environment in South Africa.

What is required is an 'entrepreneurial transformation'; a fundamental change in how South Africans perceive, think, and behave in terms of entrepreneurship, its function and how it relates to the larger economy. Entrepreneurial behaviour is not limited to people devoted to creating businesses from scratch but also to employees in existing companies whose individual and independent actions drive the innovation process. Corporates should be encouraged to create organisations that enable all people to learn, develop and function in an entrepreneurial way. To achieve this, the entrepreneurial leader needs to understand the environment and be visionary, be flexible and create management options, encourage teamwork while employing a multi-disciplined approach, encourage open discussion and build a coalition of supporters to inspire and motivate followers to achieve results greater than originally planned.

More emphasis needs to be placed on lifelong learning, focused on creating responsible leaders for the 21st century – leaders with an understanding of the important role that entrepreneurs play in the economy. Entrepreneurship is one elective that students on the Milpark MBA may choose and is also a focus area in several other qualifications at Milpark Business School. Students are given the opportunity to develop their entrepreneurial skills and are also exposed to Corporate Entrepreneurship as a way of enhancing the innovative abilities in their organisation, thus retaining a competitive edge and increasing corporate sustainability.

South Africa has to become a stronger competitor in the mainstream global economic arena. The literature on entrepreneurship shows clearly that it has the potential to improve and increase productivity and ultimately GDP. Entrepreneurship will also enable South Africa to compete in different ways: instead of competing on comparative advantages (low-cost labour or natural resources) we will be able to compete on competitive advantages from unique products and processes, to tapping foreign distribution channels for our own benefit.

There is no doubt that entrepreneurship can and will contribute to job creation through individual start-up businesses and organisational entrepreneurship and that both are essential for our future. Milpark Business School will continue to face South Africa’s entrepreneurial challenges head on and lead our students into the future.

Useful resources:
Milpark Business School
Since 2008, Milpark has offered a wide range of programmes targeted at meeting the needs of students in business in South Africa. In addition to management education, Milpark also offers a wide range of qualifications in financial planning and insurance, and banking and investment. As a result, Milpark is a leading niche provider of qualifications to many sectors, able to offer an articulation path from FET through to the highly valued MBA degree.
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