Entrepreneurship is a national developmental issue which is imperative for an inclusive and growing economy. Currently there are a myriad of entrepreneurship education and training initiatives but these efforts are to a large extent uncoordinated in their provision and lack standardisation and effectiveness. There is a low conversion rate from training to small enterprise or co-operative start-up compared to peer economies and little is done to better understand and measure the impact of entrepreneurship training in fostering small business start-ups.
In South Africa it is estimated that 73% of all workers are employed by firms with less than 50 employees; and that 45% of all employed people work in firms with less than 10 employees. (Dr. Neil Rankin, Is South Africa missing a middle? 2008, unpublished paper, African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), School of Economics & Business Sciences, Witwatersrand University). Given these statistics it is clear that measures must be taken to ensure that an environment exists where small businesses are able to grow and thrive, as they are an important source of employment for most South Africans.
It is against this background that the HRDC, in 2011, with the support of the relevant government department, mobilised resources to give impetus to particular initiatives. The HRDC recognises that successful entrepreneurship happens within an eco-system of support which includes but is not limited to the following: Training, mentoring, access to finance, access to markets and customers, access to legal, tax, financial and other advice. All necessary components critical to the success of entrepreneurs need to be identified and integrated into a holistic system.
The HRDC looked at the challenges of entrepreneurship using seven work streams as follows;
Work Stream 1: Strengthening entrepreneurship education in the schooling system
Work Stream 2: Strengthening entrepreneurship education in the higher education system
Work Stream 3: Strengthening entrepreneurship in the Further Education and Training system
Work Stream 4: National portal for entrepreneurs
Work Stream 5: Barriers to entrepreneurship and recommendations to remove barriers
Work Stream 6: The state of entrepreneurship in South Africa
Work Stream 7: Provision of free websites and tools
A comprehensive list of research publications addressing various aspects of entrepreneurship was interrogated and analysed in order strengthen the recommendations of the final report.
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