It was his retrenchment from an international bank that shook Sechaba Ngwenya into action. After this experience, the former banker had ample time to map his career path clearly and in a different direction.
Unlike many people who fall into hard times, Ngwenya remained upbeat because he finally had a chance to become start his own company. He says one of his dreams was to open a bank but due to the amount of money required, he couldn’t. Instead he developed a web application that allows businesses to lend each other money.
Ngwenya is one of the beneficiaries of the Information Communication Technology (ICT) business incubator launched by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti). The business incubator is one of government’s strategies to put South Africa's young people to work and pull them into the economy.
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies says “a package of measures” is needed to tackle unemployment, which is estimated to be around 25 per cent of the population between the ages of 15 and 60.
Minister Davies says that through the Youth Enterprise Development Strategy, his department hopes to increase the percentage of youthmanaged start up businesses in South Africa from 5 per cent to 50 per cent.
“We are trying to bring a major change in how business is being done in South Africa,” Minister Davies says. “We want to create an environment where local small suppliers can be so well capacitated that they would be able to supply our private sector, doing away with their dependence on imported goods. The ultimate goal is to see our entrepreneurs producing value-added products that would compete with the import influx,” he adds.
The incubator is one of 30 supported by the dti’s Incubation Support Programme, which aims to encourage the growth of youth enterprises and provide the required skills to entrepreneurs.
There are plans to open another incubator in Mpumalanga this year, with a further 18 to be established across the country.