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Jobs created in SA while all else fails

In the same period that saw the South African economy contract, the Rand depreciate, the Consumer Confidence Index plunge, and Eskom gear-up load-shedding, 63 jobs were created by 27 start-up and early-stage businesses located mainly but not only in Gauteng.

Pavlo Phitidis, CEO of Aurik Investment Holdings, says that in the build up to and during one of the most difficult periods in South Africa’s recent economic history, triggered by industrial action in the mining and metals industries last year, entrepreneurs showed what they are made of by growing their businesses and employing more people.

The jobs were created in industry sectors such as construction, engineering, business services, technology, textiles, energy, green technology, logistics and mining by entrepreneurs on the Entrepreneur Internship Programme (EIP), a capacity building programme supported by Anglo American’s enterprise development arm Zimele.

“What made this programme powerful was the fact that start-up and early-stage businesses in sectors beyond mining were also selected. These included construction, engineering, business services, technology, textiles, energy, green technology and logistics.”

“We have an urgent need to decrease unemployment and increase jobs. Anglo’s EIP shows how big business can get involved in providing the right support to high-potential entrepreneurs and accelerate economic momentum.

“The small and medium business sector is the primary environment in South Africa right now where job creation can take place at scale. Big business is under pressure to cut jobs, the public sector system is already bloated and with our growth rate down to 1.4%, retrenchments across the board are on the cards,” says Phitidis.

“But we can fix our ailing economy – one entrepreneur at a time!”

The EIP was conceptualised as a bespoke business mentorship programme by Aurik together with Anglo’s supply chain executives.

Says Phitidis: “Despite a 35% drop in South Africa’s Total Early Stage Entrepreneurial Rating (TEA Rate) last year, business owners on the EIP grew their turnover growth – some dramatically.

“Turnover growth is a critical indicator for an early-stage business success potential.”

“In the first phase of this programme which kicked off in 2013, a total of six jobs were created and an average turnover growth exceeding 3,000% was achieved. In the second phase which started in 2014, a total of 57 jobs were created and an average turnover growth of 52% achieved,” says Phitidis.

The EIP provided specialist support and skills required by entrepreneurs who wanted to build a business or take their existing business to the next level. Aurik held sessions, seminars, group capacity building activities and focused interventions with the entrepreneurs. These combined business development support with industry exposure, mentoring and networking.

Aurik has worked with 1,097 entrepreneurs across JSE-listed and multinational companies.

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