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City meets Jozi’s young entrepreneurs halfway Print E-mail
31 March 2017

Several Soweto youths who felt excluded from Johannesburg’s economy were given a ray of hope during a Youth Open Day seminar at the Orlando East Communal Hall in Region D on Thursday March 30.

The City of Johannesburg wants to expand the local economy by at least 5% and reduce unemployment by not less than 6% by 2021.

The City believes that the youth, a target group worst affected by unemployment, have a critical role to play in Johannesburg’s economic growth, hence the two-hour outreach programme.

Youth Open Days seek to conscientise the youth about opportunities available in the City that they can access to uplift themselves. The outreach programme also focused on financial management and life skills.

The Jozi SME Hub, Johannesburg Emergency Management Services, Disaster Management Services, Harambee, Productivity SA, Health and Social Development and the City's Economic Development’s Youth Desk were among the exhibitors.  

Ntsako Baloyi, a University of Johannesburg BA accountancy graduate, was one of the youths attending the open day. He has been unemployed for the past two years and his efforts to venture into entrepreneurship have also not borne fruit.

“I’ve been trying to set up a business for over a year now but it hasn’t worked because I don’t have the necessary tools and infrastructure, particularly premises,” Ntsako said.

He was encouraged after he heard at the open day that the Jozi SME Hub could help him get his business off the ground. “This workshop was quite helpful to me,” Baloyi said.

The 25-year-old Baloyi wants to establish an auditing firm specialising in auditing small companies, offering financial management services and laying out their financial structures.

“I did not know, until today, that the Jozi SME Hub could assist me with facilities such as offices. I needed that the most,” he said.

The City’s Economic Development Department’s Ali Sithole said the outreach programme was not only an information-sharing platform but it also addressed societal issues in order to eradicate obstacles that stood in the way of the youth to be economically empowered.

“All this speaks to the City’s intention to attend to matters affecting the youth of Johannesburg. The City has created a policy framework to ensure the youth are mainstreamed. By that we mean that every entity of the City of Johannesburg and all the departments must identify how they will help uplift the youth and what role they will play to contribute to youth development.”

Sithole said this included building capacity within the system to ensure that young people were afforded opportunities to contribute to the economy.

“We’re not only just dispensing information to the youth out there, but we’re also listening to their views to see how we as the City can change activities related to their development to better suit them. It would be pointless to have youth programmes that are not meeting their needs. It’s one thing to say the youth need employment but quite another to sustain the jobs,” Sithole said.

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Last Updated on 31 March 2017