Upstart to Startup to Kickstart

Where are the young lions, the ones who courageously stood against the might of theapartheid regime? Where are the pantsulas, the ones who through their music and nifty dancemoves defined new street cred? Where are the hustlers, who in spite of overwhelmingchallenges, resiliently find ways to be economically active?

These are the ones South Africa needs more of; the ones who defy the odds, who are rebels with a cause, who are innovative and who are willing to disrupt convention to redefine their realities.

Afterall, to paraphrase thelate Steve Jobs, it’s the crazy ones, the misfits and the troublemakers who change the world.South Africa is ripe for new revolutionaries. These must be the ones who are willing to battle against the tyranny of poverty and unemployment through creating new enterprises.

So much energy has been wasted on political rhetoric of wealth redistribution; dividing the economic pie into smaller pieces, whereas the real focus should’ve been on creating a bigger and more sustainable economic pie.

One of the ways to kickstart the economy and make a dent in unemployment and poverty lies in massively promoting the development of small and micro enterprises that we find in theinformal economy. According to Productivity SA (May 9 2023), small enterprises have the potential to promote domestic-driven growth and they strengthen the resilience of the economyin a competitive and challenging environment. However, there are three hurdles to overcome in creating a startup culture.

These are:

● Change the prevailing belief amongst many youth that entrepreneurship is for those whoare unemployable;

● Transform education curricula from passive learning to creative problem-solving sessions; and

● Create a less risk averse venture capital ecosystem.There are many upstarts with energy and enthusiasm across South Africa who, if they ideate, are mentored and supported to build some of their ideas into startups, we might just be able to kickstart our economy and become the winning nation we were destined to be.

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Rudi Kimmie (PhD) is a human and organisational development specialist. He writes in his personal capacity.

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