Entrepreneurship could soon be the road most travelled, as young people are increasingly starting their own hustle for survival amidst SA’s high 32.9% unemployment rate.
The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report showed an increase in total early-stage entrepreneurship among youth aged 18 to 24 rose from 3.4% in 2002 to 19.3% in 2021.
Young adults between 25 and 34 have also jumped aboard the entrepreneurial train, as business activity within that range increased from 5.3% in 2001 to 19% in 2021.
Xero South Africa’s country manager, Colin Timmis believes a strong network and well-crafted business plan, coupled with a positive attitude towards digital adoption and core business skills, such as financial literacy, are important in business success.
“Young entrepreneurs and small business owners…are leading the way when it comes to embedding technology at an early stage, and innovation to do things differently,” he said.
Understanding digital tools
Timmis said young entrepreneurs and small business owners are often already digital natives, able to use technology, and are innovative.
“Understanding the importance of digital tools and embedding them from the start [puts] young entrepreneurs in a strong position to create efficiencies and boost profitability,” he said.
Consulting financial advisors and accountants
When it comes to access to funding and support, Timmis said these can be a hurdle for most young entrepreneurs.
As experts, Timmis said financial advisors and accountants can help with compliance and enabling young business owners to make the most of available funding opportunities.
“Professional advice can unlock resources to access funding, mentorship, and training programs…to propel businesses forward,” he said.
Xero’s 2023 State of Small Business report found technology and accounting services are important to business growth over the past year.
The research revealed 60% of small businesses believed accountants are key to economic growth, while 49% consulted accountants for “business advice” and “guidance.”
Adaptability and resilience
The business expert said resilience and adaptability are important to overcoming obstacles and thrive in SA’s “dynamic” business landscape.