Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  20 Jun 2010

VENTURES: Poor Education The Problem


Recent Western Cape Business News

Poor education (especially in maths and science), negative socio-economic conditions and a lack of access to finance continue to clip the wings of local entrepreneurs – as they have done for the past nine years.

According to a new book published by the UCT Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the UCT Graduate School of Business these factors, coupled with a difficult regulatory environment, hinder South Africa from developing into a more entrepreneurial economy. Entrepreneurship, especially early-stage entrepreneurial activity (the start-ups that are the life blood of a growing economy) is recognised around the world to be a major contributor to economic growth and job creation. But in South Africa, rates of entrepreneurship have remained consistently well below average for almost a decade.

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) is an international project which compares entrepreneurship activity in participating countries around the world on an annual basis. The project seeks specifically to assess the role played by small business in economic growth and competitiveness of an economy. The book, written by Mike Herrington, Jacqui Kew and Penny Kew, is a consolidation of nine years of research into entrepreneurship in South Africa, carried out as part of GEM.

Mike Herrington, co-author of the book, has presided over the South African GEM research since the country first joined the survey in 2001. He says that it is disappointing and of concern that, despite many initiatives and interventions to improve the situation, South Africa still lags behind its international peers – even other middle to low income countries such as Argentina, Brazil, China, Chile and Turkey. He says that this is a situation which should not be allowed to continue.

South Africa faces numerous economic, political and social challenges in its new democracy. But the key challenge is that of massive and growing unemployment,” says Herrington. “This is especially prevalent amongst the youth which is the fastest growing segment of Africa’s population.”

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