SOUTH Africa’s target of creating 11-million jobs through the National Development Plan (NDP) will require the creation of more than 49,000 new small enterprises, together with an economic growth rate of about 20% a year, say industry leaders.

The government has set its sights on small, medium and micro-enterprises (SMMEs) as a catalyst to create 90% of the jobs required to meet the National Development Plan’s objective of 11-million jobs by 2030.

It has been envisaged that SMME development will help to curb SA’s persistently high unemployment rate, which is presently narrowly defined at 24.1%.

This came to light following the release this week of the Endeavor jobs calculator on SA. The jobs calculator is a global tool developed by the International Labour Organisation and National Statistics Agency. It takes into account the different factors that are essential for job creation.

Endeavor SA MD Catherine Townshend said: "The Endeavor job calculator can estimate how many entrepreneurs, that is businesses, are required to create new employment opportunities.

"Based on SA’s urgent need to create jobs at a rapid scale, it is clear that the country needs more support for businesses that have the potential to ... create jobs much quicker than micro-enterprises or start-ups," she added

FNB Business CEO Mike Vacy-Lyle said support and investment should be directed at "scalable SMEs". However, he cautioned that "it does not mean that micro-enterprises should be neglected, those businesses will still need to be developed, over a longer lead time."

Department of Small Business Development spokesman Cornelius Monama said: "We are convinced that more and more South Africans are beginning to see entrepreneurship as a career choice. Increasingly, (they) see it as an important long-term response to the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment."

In recent years SA has seen significant growth levels in entrepreneurship. According to the 2013 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report, total entrepreneurship activity rose from 7.3% in 2012 to 10.6% in 2013.

Mr Monama said government efforts were ongoing but more needed to be done. "We are painfully aware that fostering a culture of entrepreneurship cannot be achieved overnight. It is a long journey. We must promote entrepreneurship as a viable career path as we continue to build a nation of entrepreneurs."

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