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DO YOU HAVE A DEGREE AND CAN’T FIND WORK? START YOUR OWN COMPANY!

By Miriam Mannak

Studying may increase your chance on the job market, but it isn’t always the goose with the golden eggs. Are you one of South Africa’s 600 000 unemployed university graduates? Then you know what it’s like. There is however a way out. You could for instance consider setting up your own business.

The figures are staggering. Earlier this year, international outsourcing and human capital management  firm Adcorp presented its Employment Index. Despite the creation of some 103 000 jobs in that December 2011, the stats painted a grim picture of South Africa’s employment situation.

According to Adcorp the number of jobs in December 2011 stood 850 000 employment opportunities lower compared to the same month in 2009. “South Africa lost 1.56 million employment opportunities and created only 710 000 temporary jobs over the past two years,” the researchers wrote.

Among South Africa’s unemployed are millions of youths between the ages of 18 and 35, including 600.000 university and college graduates.

This particular situation is partially due to the fact that universities and colleges are producing the wrong types of degree holders, noted Adcorp’s labour analyst Loane Sharp in a statement.

“Many have degrees in arts, humanities and social sciences whereas the private sector has more than 800 000 open vacancies in management, engineering, law, finance, accounting and medicine,” he said.

There are more reasons why so many South African graduates can’t find jobs. Employers after all look at a wide variety of things when it comes to hiring staff. Experience for instance.

Not being able to find a suitable job doesn’t mean one has to sit at home. Instead of waiting for the right job to come along, one could consider starting a business if one’s degree allows for it.

This might sound daunting. Running your show is not for the faint hearted and requires discipline, determination, and nerves made of steel. Luckily there are various organisations to which young South African aspiring entrepreneurs can turn for help.

The National Youth Development Agency is one of them. Through its Ithubalentsha Micro Enterprise Programme, this public entity helps aspirant and established entrepreneurs with training, mentorship, micro-enterprise finance, market linkages and access to business opportunities.

Then there is the South African Institute for Entrepreneurship. This NGO, which has tasked itself with the eradication of poverty through the creation of effective entrepreneurs, has developed various training programs around starting, running and developing a business.

Starting a venture is one thing, running and making it work is a different ballgame altogether. Seven out of ten Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) go belly up in the first five years. The Branson Centre of Entrepreneurs therefore assists existing South African entrepreneurs in strengthening their businesses and making them more sustainable.

Another similar private initiative that helps young entrepreneurs is the SAB Kickstart programme by South African Breweries. Being the largest of its kind in South Africa, SAB Kickstart puts young business owners through an extensive mentorship and training program. In the end, the candidates have to present their business plans – which are rated and awarded with funding.

The list of similar organisations, business incubators, and entrepreneurship academies is growing rapidly. Are you, as a university graduate, contemplating taking the entrepreneurial bull by the horns? Contact these organisations to see what is possible.

You owe it to yourself. You have, after all, spent a lot of time and money on that degree to watch the world go by.

Article source: Young Business Leaders



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