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In response to the alarming youth unemployment rates plaguing South Africa, key organisations such as WeThinkCode_, RLabs, and E Squared Investments have forged a groundbreaking alliance to leverage the transformative potential of startups and entrepreneurship. A recent entrepreneurship pitch day, spanning WeThinkCode_ campuses in Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban, has emerged as a pivotal platform, uniting a dynamic group of alumni in the quest to address the urgent issue of youth unemployment.

The collaboration between WeThinkCode_, RLabs, and E Squared Investments extends far beyond a singular event. Alumni, having undergone a comprehensive entrepreneurship program, are now equipped with invaluable mentorship that spans essential business aspects. From fostering digital skills for young girls to developing mobile applications facilitating job searches and access to education resources, these ventures epitomise the diverse and impactful outcomes borne from the program.

South Africa’s youth unemployment crisis, with a staggering 45% of its young population currently without jobs, demands immediate and innovative solutions. The strategic partnership between WeThinkCode_, RLabs and E Squared Investments underscores the pivotal role of impact investments in fostering entrepreneurial endeavours. Cheryl Jacob, Head of Social Entrepreneurship at E Squared Investments, emphasises the necessity for collaborative efforts, patience, and catalytic capital in addressing this critical issue.

Jacob says, “E Squared Investments is privileged to support the crucial gap of providing much-needed impact investment for youth to pursue an entrepreneurial path. Our role in fostering collaboration between investors is a commitment we gladly undertake. The partnership between WeThinkCode_ and RLabs underscores the collective strength of social enterprises, demonstrating that collaborative efforts can amplify impact and fortify the entrepreneurial ecosystem. We firmly believe that innovative solutions, patience, and catalytic capital are the keys to resolving the youth unemployment crisis.”

Incubators and accelerators play a pivotal role in nurturing fledgling companies, offering mentorship, resources, and networking opportunities. Mareldia Wentzel, Chief at RLabs South Africa, underscores the urgency, stating, “Recognising the immediacy of the situation, we are rallying together to stimulate the growth of start-up ecosystems. This collective effort aims to present young South Africans with an alternative path towards economic empowerment, self-reliance, and innovation-driven job creation. Start-ups and entrepreneurship, proven drivers of economic growth globally, are set to unlock the untapped potential within our youth.”

The success of this innovative programme extends beyond mere problem-solving; it is about shaping a brighter future for the nation. Sethu Komani, Chief Commercial Officer at WeThinkCode_, affirms, “Engagements with crucial partners such as RLabs and E Squared Investments are instrumental, fostering innovation and creating an environment conducive for young entrepreneurs to thrive.”

South Africa’s youth unemployment crisis, portrayed starkly in statistics, is encountering resilience and creativity in the form of its young entrepreneurs. From imparting essential digital skills to empowering job seekers with accessible resources, these ventures not only address immediate needs but are also laying the groundwork for a more inclusive and prosperous future.

In the broader context of global entrepreneurship trends, South Africa’s concerted efforts, incorporating government, the private sector, and the indomitable entrepreneurial spirit of its youth, are spearheading a transformative wave. These endeavours are not just redefining the employment landscape; they are constructing a prosperous future for all, unlocking new opportunities and positioning South Africa as a beacon of innovation on the world stage.

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