Ian Ollis, DA Member of Parliament, in his Opinionista feature in THEDAILYMAVERICK speaks on his view how helping entrepreneurs at the ‘dusty’ roots level could have a major impact on employment opportunities and contribute to the sustainability and vibrancy of our informal settlements and grow a new generation of business people from the bottom up. It is inline with much development and economic thinking that governments and ‘big business’ cannot provide the needed jobs and opportunities for the numbers of people living in the cities and we need to create a massive groundswell of local entrpreneurship that will service and locally source food and other products for the masses living in these crowded enviroments, rather than encouraging global business giants like Walmart to come and opens stores here who source their produce globally. In every corner of our cities it is amazing how resourceful and determined traders are, especially those from cultures that are have an entrepreneurial background such as the Sudanese exiles who are visible in every possible trading area in our cities, as their own country is in such turmoil. These are the people who need leg up to take the next step, rather than harassing them and evicting them! Contrast this with the recent article from the Mail and Guardian which seems to support Planning Minister Trevor Manuel’s views: Who Is right? D0 we need research and help to determine which approach is most beneficial or should we just get on with it and progress both strategies
“I boarded the BA jet for Johannesburg and discovered the airline had put Trevor Manuel and I next to each other again. He groaned when he recognised me, but thankfully with a smile on his face.
The conversation over the next two hours ranged from why cabinet didn’t move MPs out of those cream-coloured plywood houses in the burbs into town, to how to grow the economy. I put it to Trevor that we need a vehicle in SA to turn those one-woman spaza “shops” or tomato-and-potato stores into “Greek style” corner cafés. I suggested government should support these mini-entrepreneurs by helping them up to the next level through training and perhaps micro-loans and so on. Each corner café could employ three or four people instead of one and cumulatively, across the country, if you do that with kerbstone hairdressers, backyard mechanics, and so on… it results in a small business revolution which unlocks a portion of our giant unemployment problem. Continue reading