The search for potential young business owners kicks off across various KwaZulu-Natal townships today. Young, talented and energetic entrepreneurs will gather for a chance to transform their lives and communities by participating in the Bizniz in a Box programme, an initiative launched in 2015 by Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) Youth Entrepreneurship Programme.
CCBSA, along with their partners in the local municipalities, will run a competitive process, where young people will compete for the chance to operate and eventually own their own spaza shops. The programme involves the selection, training, participation and eventual economic independence of a cross-section of township youth aged 24 – 35 years old.
A report by The Euromonitor International Africa Rising Megatrend revealed that informal convenience shops, popularly known as spazas, contribute at least R7 billion to South Africa’s economy. The research reflects the important role that spazas play in the local economy retail chain in South Africa.
“Youth unemployment is at worrying levels, up from 54.7% at the beginning of 2019 to 55.2% by the end of the first quarter of 2019, and climbing,” says Nolundi Mzimba, CCBSA Regional Public Affairs & Communications Manager: Coastal. “We can’t continue to ignore this crisis and we need to collectively develop solutions that will not only uplift young people but bring much-needed structural change to communities.
The programme will train young entrepreneurs with key skills for running spazas from the ground up using scientific business methods, while at the same time creating more jobs for their communities.
After successfully completing the tight race, entrepreneurs are given a head start and allocated fully stocked and equipped containers.
Once they pass this period, the successful entrepreneurs are shortlisted and placed into their own preferred business structure. They are either allocated new containers or supported in the revamp of existing shop spaces and mentored through Business Development Support for a period of six months.
The KwaZulu-Natal townhall sessions will run on 12 & 18 September 2019 at the following venues:
- Maphumulo Town Hall on 12 September from 09h00 to 12h00
- Ntunjambili Community Hall on 12 September from 13h00 to 16h00
- Thembeni Community Hall at Kwa-Dukuza on 18 September from 09h00 to 12h00
- KwaDukuza Town Hall on 18 September from 13h00 to 16h00
In this incubation period, they continue to promote their stores within the community using direct marketing, promotions, and other tools. Liability for the inventory and container falls on the entrepreneur, raising the stakes.
In 2018, just over 380 youth participated in the programme from various communities around the country, with 97 currently running / operating their shops. The programme has attracted young entrepreneurs, who were unable to access funding and access to market as well as youth with a passion for community development.
“The Government can’t be expected to develop the small business sector on its own, and through this programme we hope to leverage the unique strengths of the private and public sectors, as well as civil society to create fertile ground for the long-term success and sustainability of businesses in these communities,” Mzimba says.