How To Make South Africa A #START-Up Nation

The view that South Africa is the toughest place to be a #STARTup ,has led some to wonder, what can be done to make it a #START-Up nation. There are numerous interventions required to make South Africa a START up nation. For now I would like to highlight just one. In my humble opinion the education system does not develop people to become entrepreneurs.

A matriculant in South Africa spends 12 years or more of schooling and walks out of school with no form of skill or ability to earn a living. The same is true for university graduates who in some instances spend 5 years in an academic institution and walk out with no form of experience to be useful in the economy.
Academics would argue that education institutions are not designed to enable people to be economically active. This is the reason why South Africa is not yet a START-Up nation. Education institutions are not designed to develop economic active citizens.

There’s a need to create a training institution for #START-Ups where candidates walk in with a business idea and walk out with an operational business.Such a school can develop entrepreneurs at a young age (school going age). Instead of granting bursaries, such an institution would have to fund it’s graduates to start businesses.The criteria for success in such an institution would have to be starting and operating a business instead of papers published.

Educators in such an institution would have to be drawn from entrepreneurs and experienced business people. Insights and wisdom from such ones can be more useful in preparing young entrepreneurs to run their own businesses.
Entrepreneurs and venture capitalists can be the first group of investors into graduate businesses instead of traditional financial institutions.

Each year the startup school can develop 100 entrepreneurs with new businesses that can also form part of mentorship programme to future students.

Under normal circumstances this would not be a viable concept for education institutions. The challenge is, we are living in abnormal times with abnormal unemployment rates by graduates. Such a challenge calls for a different approach. Current methods are not working, they just make the unemployment challenge worse.

Current education system  is just one of the contributing factors why South Africa is not yet a START-Up nation. Lack of innovation is another reason which I’ll be discussing in my next blog post.



* The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the owner of Ideate.