A job-creation initiative that aims to get unemployed South Africans started in their own small businesses quickly has been gaining momentum. The Rapid Job Creation Programme is the brainchild of Willem Gous, who says that it's possible to launch a new business that will financially sustain the founder in a matter of weeks - without funding.
“The latest figures from Stats SA shows a 46% youth unemployment rate, and that is a ticking time bomb. Looking for a job is not an option anymore. South Africans have to take charge of their own employment and the best way to do that is by starting a business. And the good news is almost anyone can do it.” says Gous.
Making it easy
Entrepreneurship can feel overwhelming when you talk about business models, business plans and more. Says Gous: “That is where our training programme is different, because it presents entrepreneurship within the context, abilities and resources of South African youth, sparking an interest in entrepreneurship while promoting resilience and adaptability.”
“Many people have a dream of starting a business but don’t because they believe it can’t be done without funding,” says Gous. In November 2020 the programme enlisted 50 people from Diepsloot and Orange Farm in Gauteng and gave them the task of building a business in 21 days. They had to make enough profit to sustain the business owner. “From that process 30 business were created - from mechanics and internet cafes to school transport, food and many more. However, none of these businesses required any external funding, showing that people do not have to wait to establish a busines, they can start today and become economically empowered.” says Gous.
"Three months later 85% of the 30 businesses created in November 2020 were still trading while an additional eight businesses were started to create extra revenue streams for the owners. This shows that the programme instils two of the most entrepreneurial traits - resilience and adaptability in people who otherwise might never see themselves as entrepreneurs,” he says.
No ideas needed
The programme shows that you do not have to have a brilliant business idea to attend. “Business ideas are everywhere and easy to find in a matter of days or hours. The problem is not that there are not enough good business ideas, but rather in testing them and making sure they generate an income for you. Some of the participants in the initial group of November 2020 started with three or even four business ideas in the 21 days until they found the one that worked for them.” says Gous.
“Our company works with other organisations to economically empower people by getting them to start their own sustainable businesses. Currently we work with Afrika Tikkun Services but we are actively looking for new partnerships to help develop more business owners and create jobs” he says.