The fourth Annual Free State Youth Entrepreneurship Awards aims to encourage young people to strive for the best even in current times of economic stagnation in the province. The awards will be hosted by the Youth Chamber of Commerce and Industry South Africa (YCCISA) in Bloemfontein.
The Free State has one of the highest rates of unemployment in the country. It is for this reason that young people need to be recognised for their efforts to revive the local economy according to provincial president of YCCISA, Tshidiso Thinane.
“The transformation of the economy is stuck and there are many challenges that the youth are facing. However, there are those young people who keep pushing despite those challenges and they will be rewarded for their contributions to entrepreneurship,” explained Thinane.
Thinane stated that entrepreneurship is the key to solving unemployment. “When you become an entrepreneur by starting a business, you solve unemployment because you are the first person to become employed,” he said.
The awards are divided into categories based on various industries such as mining, transport and services as well as those businesses that fall into the informal sector. Contestants stand to win prizes worth R150 000 from the Free State Department of Economic Development, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs and Small Business (Destea) at Bon Hotel on Friday. An award for Entrepreneur of the Year will also be presented to a young business person.
Thinane said that becoming an entrepreneur takes tenacity. “It needs people who can wake up early in the morning and get up after each time they fall and fail. So we want the awards to encourage young people to materialise their ideas,”. – Nomaqhawe Mtebele