Today the DA Youth held Open Pitch Sessions in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town for our National Entrepreneurship Competition.
The competition opened two weeks ago as part of the DA’s current Jobs Campaign and will run until 1 October 2012. Aspiring entrepreneurs wishing to enter the competition were invited to attend Open Pitch Sessions today to give five-minute live pitches of their business concepts to our panel of independent entrepreneurship experts, who hail from organisations such as Innovation Shack, Shanduka Black Umbrellas and the Raymond Ackerman Academy for Entrepreneurship.
It emerged clearly today that South Africa is overflowing with creative and innovative solutions to the challenges faced by society. We heard from aspiring entrepreneurs like Ntobeko, who has a concept for a wireless data backup system for students; Innocent, who wants to create an online channel to showcase the car drifting phenomenon; and Lloyd, who has invented a system that will be able to supply people with wireless Internet in their homes for only R25 per gigabyte. These represent just a small handful of the young people with innovative ideas who responded to our call for entries.
With the support of the Start-Up Fund, run by Charles Maisel, every entrepreneur who pitched a viable and innovative business idea today will be awarded up to R20 000 to test the viability of their concept in the marketplace.
Through the competition we aim to both contribute practically to the development and support of young entrepreneurs, and raise awareness about the importance of entrepreneurship in combating unemployment.
With over 3.2 million people under 34 currently unemployed in South Africa, youth unemployment has reached a crisis point, and it is vital that we explore new ways in which we can actively bring young people into the economy.
Supporting entrepreneurship is one of the key ways in which countries can grow their economies and reduce unemployment. This can be seen in India, where SMMEs form 90% of all employer firms. In Ghana, it is estimated that 92% of all the businesses in the country are small businesses, and they contribute about 70% to the national GDP.
The DA Youth started lobbying government to direct increased resources towards entrepreneurship development in 2011, when we handed over a discussion document to the Minister of Trade and Industry that presented a number of proposals which, if implemented, would help create an enabling environment for entrepreneurship.
Today, the DA Youth is proud to continue playing a role in facilitating entrepreneurship and innovation in South Africa.