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Entrepreneurship: A powerful tool in creating freedom for the youth

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If you’re not an entrepreneur yet, you may just be missing out. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), nearly two in every three youth between the ages of 18 and 34 in sub-Saharan Africa are embracing entrepreneurship as their ticket to financial freedom, wealth, independence, and a lasting legacy that will inspire generations to come.
 
South Africa is no different, with a marked increase in entrepreneurism and side hustles in recent years. But entrepreneurship is not just a second-choice career option for those unable to gain formal employment – instead, it’s become the gateway to allowing youth to shake off the constraints and boredom of traditional nine to five jobs, and instead pursue their ambitions of becoming the next generation of local millionaires and success stories.
 
In fact, a recent study by Momentum and Unilever found that as many 20% of households with a side hustle were already earning over R87,000 a month. Far from just being a means to supplement monthly income, this demonstrates that the entrepreneurial spirit is truly alive and well in South Africa.
 
For Generation Z, born between the 1990s and early 2000s, entrepreneurship is a particularly attractive career choice. Totalling around four in every ten people in the country, this is a generation known for challenging the status quo, and questioning tradition or ‘the way things have always been done’.
 
If you’re a member of this generation, you may demonstrate a natural affinity for entrepreneurship as a risk-taker, disruptor, and innovator, who will enjoy the freedom and flexibility to not only set your own schedule and work from wherever you’d like, but to also experiment and watch your ideas come to life.
 
By becoming an entrepreneur, you can take control of your destiny, make your own decisions, pursue your true passion, and enjoy the pride and satisfaction that comes with building a thriving business from the ground up. Likewise, by creating a successful company, you can realise your dream of establishing a beloved brand that positively impacts the people and communities around you through providing a much-needed product or service, or creating jobs and incomes for hundreds or even thousands of breadwinners. 
 
These are all critical driving factors and motivators, but there are still two that are perhaps even more important. First, remember that an entrepreneur’s earning potential is effectively unlimited. For example, according to the 2023 State of Entrepreneurship in South Africa Survey, nearly 40% of the respondents reported that they had started as many as five businesses. Meanwhile, nearly a third were achieving an annual turnover of between R10 million and R50 million from their main business.
 
Second, and just as critically, being an entrepreneur doesn’t carry any entry requirements. Anyone can be successful, regardless of your educational qualifications, or your background and circumstances. In fact, even beyond having a groundbreaking business idea, the most important determinant of an entrepreneur’s success is your determination and resilience.
 
Just consider the example of Theo Baloyi from Hammanskraal, who, at the age of just 34 years, has already built one of the country’s most successful shoe empires, Bathu Shoes. Founded in Alexandra, a township in Johannesburg, in 2015, the company now boasts over 300 employees across its 32 nationwide stores. Then there’s other South African trailblazers such as Portia Mngomezulu of Portia M Skin Solutions, Ryan Bachar of NetFlorist, and Irfan Pardesi and Hina Kassam of ACM Gold, who’ve turned their ideas into gold.
 
Each of these individuals took a gamble on themselves, and used the power of entrepreneurism to unlock their shackles and the limitations of answering to others, enjoying newfound power and freedom as business leaders and hustlers.
 
And notably, according to visionary businessman and entrepreneurial expert Zunaid Moti, Youth Month represents the perfect time to encourage youth to embrace entrepreneurship as a tool for self-empowerment – all that’s needed is an idea, combined with the know-how and the willingness to take the leap.
 
As a young child growing up in a family where money was tight, Moti always knew he’d be a millionaire – even recording it in a junior school essay. Today, he is not only a millionaire, but one of the country’s most renowned billionaires, having founded the successful Moti Group of Companies.
 
Paying the benefit of his hard-gained wisdom and business experience forward, Moti founded free online business intervention and mentorship programme MotiMoves in 2023. Every month, Moti now hosts a webinar designed to equip aspiring entrepreneurs with the knowledge, skills, practical tips, and resources they need to succeed, while also inviting well-known business leaders and celebrity guests to join and share their tips and advice.
 
But MotiMoves doesn’t stop there. Moti has put his money where his mouth is by creating a R30 million investment pot to help launch promising start-ups, and sponsor up-and-coming talent in the creative and sports industries.
 
He has already invested millions of rands towards kickstarting new businesses and launching successful careers. Best of all, registered MotiMoves members stand a chance of partnering with Moti himself in their next venture, with the opportunity to receive a R50,000 investment towards game-changing and high-potential business ideas.
 
This represents an even greater opportunity to turn your passion into profit, while receiving the benefit of mentorship and support from Moti and his team.  All you need to do is visit his website at www.zunaid-moti.co.za/competition, register for MotiMoves, and submit your business proposal. But remember, a successful proposal requires more than simply an idea; it needs a well-thought-out plan that demonstrates your understanding of the market, your business model, and your path to profitability.
 
Youth’s time is now, and you can make it happen. All you need to do is take a chance on yourself.

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