base of the pyramid public policy Video Vision 2030

Mass entrepreneurship – a key component of Vision 2030’s proposals

The National Development Plan, Vision 2030, is quite clear about its ambitions for entrepreneurship in South Africa. It is right that it should be so given that the National Planning Commission estimates that 11 million jobs have to be created in the next 20 years if the country is to reach full employment of the economically active population. And as the plan acknowledges, new jobs tend to come from the entry of new firms into the market and the expansion of such firms. Old, established firms don’t create as much net new jobs. Small and expanding firms are expected to create 90% of new jobs.
The National Planning Commission’s channel on YouTube (cool animation technique)
The Plan
Various themes emerge from the Plan’s chapter on Economy and Employment. These themes present a challenge to the private sector (and particularly to entrepreneurs I would say) to produce innovative products and services that will unlock growth in the economy. Below are some of these themes with top of the mind ideas about what I think areas of opportunity for the private sector might be:
           Lowering costs of production: developing local inputs for key industries such as mining and retail, using lower cost (and hopefully labour intensive) technologies
           Lowering costs faced by poor households: new ways of distributing products and services to poor areas (developing affordable “last mile” distribution solutions for healthcare, daily groceries etc.), organising households to aggregate their buying power, bringing poor households into the internet economy
           Community based production in areas such as house-building, small scale agriculture
           Enabling access to finance for small and expanding firms: risk mitigation plays that make the extension of financial services possible to new borrowers
           Enabling access to markets for small and expanding firms: the business advisory space seems to be dying for skilled consultants and advisors, innovate curriculums for business training, institutions that co-ordinate activities across value chains and help new businesses to crack into mature  corporate and public sector supply chains
           Developing regional supply chains: this applies to many value propositions that could be extended to serve the regional market, thus realising economies of scale and revenue growth. However, dealing with multiple regimes is always a challenge in SADC.
           Labour matching services to reduce the costs of employment searches for the unemployed and preparing applicants for the labour market: this calls for a new philosophy towards staffing solutions at the low income end of the market, with a move away from commoditised, short term placements to solutions that are socially innovative and meet the specific needs of companies and individuals.
Reading the plan, I find I am filled with optimism about the opportunities that exist to build a new economy that is better oriented to the needs and the realities of the majority of the population. What remains to be seen is whether and how the “social partners” – business, labour and government will fall behind this plan to make a more prosperous nation a reality.

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