It’s up to us as South Africans

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Finally it's youth month again! The spotlight falls onto our Youth and how far we've come as a country from a political perspective. However it feels like over the years the loud voice of our Youth is softening largely due to the muted growth of our economy over the past 10(9) years which has a direct correlation with the high rate of unemployment in our country.

There's a myriad of challenges that face our youth squarely in their wallets. Over the December period, I went home to spend a few days with my Family and childhood friends and boy unemployment left me disheartened. For the first time in my life, all of the unemployment stats that live in the corridors of my app and the Stats SA website pages were a reality as most of the men and women I hadn't seen from home were unemployed. Monday in the township generated the same amount of foot traffic as Sunday, which was highly unusual. Now that I was confronted by that rhetoric it makes sense that there is a frustrated amount of young people who endure the same challenge across our country.

In my opinion the road to reducing unemployment includes the critical role small businesses have to play in our economy. The even taller hurdle is for us as the Youth to believe in ourselves and actually start businesses up. We have to be patient with the process of building a business because it is a long term solution for a long term problem and not for the short term gain. No Chief, I'm not referring to tenders here. President Cyril Ramaphosa also spoke of other young people who became innovative and were now successful entrepreneurs at his 25 Years of Democracy Celebration Rally where he encouraged youth to create employment for themselves.

A lot of our youth seem not to be aware of the myriad of state funding bodies in the market that offer financial impetus to small businesses. SEFA (Small Enterprise Finance Agency), National Youth Development Agency and the Industrial Development Corporation are some of the notable players. Some of these funds are loans that have a low interest rate and some are grants. With funding, it's important to read the Tc's and C's because they indeed do apply.

As South Africans, we lack the depth of understating how imperative our role of supporting small businesses is. This has a knock-on effect towards our economy. I sometimes take a long look at my personal income statement and get ashamed of where my hard earned capital flows outwardly to. My begrudged 72 months car payments end up Ingolstadt, Germany then my house payments end up in easterly China. My cell phone bill after the Vodafone acquisition now lands up in the UK and my handset and ITunes costs are contributing to the growth the American economy. My gym bill ends up in Sir Richard Branson's already loaded pockets. The narrative here is that most of my hard earned Rands I made from a South African company end up outside our borders and not creating employment and wealth in our stagnant economy. With every purchase we make, let's repeatedly look at supporting small South African companies.

As citizens of South Africa we need to take the collective responsibility to solve the challenges that are facing us. Yes I know that investors are also critical to the economical typography of our country but we also have to help ourselves here before it's too late.