Losing our jobs?

The rhetoric emanating from the Polokwane conference this weekend is generally positive. It is indeed time for consensus that “Mahala Syndrome” is not conducive to either a good work ethic or a thriving economy.

Many South Africans are concerned, too, about what “job creation” will actually mean on the ground.

Quite simply, I understand it to mean support from government for entrepreneurial ventures initiated by the private sector, and PPP’s. We cannot expect the State to actually create jobs – business people create jobs, for they alone can devise business plans for sustainable ventures.

With this in mind, we can all seek businesses that will be easy for Venture Capital firms to fund. These are best seen as ENG: Established, Necessary and Growing.

Established: At least two years’ old (i.e. not a start-up)

Necessary: Having already identified a need within their target market, and addressed it.

Growing: Where one of their biggest problems is keeping up with demand, or expanding a clearly successful enterprise logistically or geographically.

With these points in mind, the capital necessary to expand these concerns will probably start at R2 million and extend to R10 million or so.

These businesses will exist in suburbs and townships, the inner city, rural Tarkastad and online . Whoever finds them will find a mine that yields more than its mineral counterparts, whislt providing fresh opportunities to employ many people, in multiple locations, over the next ten years.

It will not, however, be easy for unskilled people to find good work in future. Makhaya Ntini was afforded no concessions in his final international match. A bad ball was punished, and he was given no easy deliveries to dispatch to the boundary. Being born in South Africa does not guarantee employment, nor should it. Knowledge and experience open doors for work, as does a positive attitude.

The Grace hotels (Mount Grace, Cape Grace, Rosebank etc) noted a few years ago that more than 80% of their hires had not been in a luxury hotel before working in one! Surely this would be a disadvantage? No! The Grace only employed people who had a natural fit with their values, and thus voluntarily gave excellent service. I believe that Outsurance has a similar philosophy, which would explain, in part, why they have expanded successfully over the past few years.

Are we willing to pay our dues, doing whatever it takes to become remarkable in our work? Are we able to succeed in our field of endeavour, possessing the required “raw materials” to excel? And is there an enabling supportive environment in existence, such as a market that supports sustainable growth? No-one is taking my job. I might be losing it, though, through negligence, lack of excellence, negativity or personal issues, such as substance abuse or poor financial literacy. And only I can take steps to address these, for help is available and at hand.

“Ke nako” (It’s time) was a slogan of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It can be our national slogan: it’s time to work; time to grow; time to bury our entitlement mindset; time to seize the day. It’s time.

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