In a bid to reduce unemployment in South Africa, Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) together with its partners, has to date trained over 570 young entrepreneurs and helped 70 of them take their businesses to the next level, through its Youth Empowerment Programme. This is a public-private partnership which aims to identify entrepreneurial youngsters who have the potential to create sustainable, growing businesses.  

South Africa’s dire unemployment picture is its worst in the youth segment, with over 54% of young people unemployed. Another challenge is that South African Small, Micro and Medium sized Enterprises (SMMEs) only create 28% of jobs (compared with the 90% target of the National Development Plan), with most of them remaining very small or survivalist enterprises. A shocking 70% of SMMEs fail within the first two years.[1] Furthermore, research indicates that challenges that prevent SMMEs from growing are a lack of funding, proper business skills, as well as access to markets.

CCBSA came up with the Bizniz in a Box concept to help alleviate these challenges.
CCBSA realises that this cannot be achieved alone and, has partnered with both national and provincial government, local municipalities; development finance institutions such as the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) and formal banks like Standard Bank.

Bizniz in a Box aims to create an ecosystem of viable micro-businesses offering complementary products and services in a community, using a spaza shop as the anchor. Each business operates out of a custom-designed container. These businesses cover various needs of the local community, such as a business centre/internet café, a car wash, a fast-food shop or a mini baker.

“We are not looking to give out grants—we are offering an opportunity for committed young entrepreneurs to access the skills and funding they need to reach their potential,” says Akona Sishuba, Enterprise Development Manager at CCBSA.

The journey to owning their businesses, begins with a rigorous screening process to identify candidates within a community that CCBSA is targeting. Shortlisted candidates must be aged between 24 and 35, be a resident in the community they want to conduct their business, and they must have some form of entrepreneurial experience. Diversity is a vital component of this programme as it forms part of CCBSA’s journey towards a non-discriminatory business and social environment, so 30% of the cohort of youth engaged with must be female. As part of the diversity commitment, CCBSA encourages disabled young people to participate in the programme.

After the screening process, an assessment is conducted to give the candidates a chance to show their potential in a live environment. The shortlisted candidates are taken on a boot camp to acquire the basic entrepreneurial skills they need to manage their business. The training is rated NQF 2.

Those that proceed into the final phase will work in the micro-business they have chosen.
The container is stocked by CCBSA and its partners, and the entrepreneurs are assisted to comply with all legal and regulatory requirements to allow them to run the business in line with regulation. Once an agreement is signed, they take legal ownership of the container and commence their repayments to SEFA.

“Bizniz in a Box is constantly being refined to ensure that we identify young people with the right attitude and provide them with the help they need to create sustainable businesses that create jobs for themselves and others. Through this public-private partnership, CCBSA is aiming to create 2 500 viable youth entrepreneurs by 2021,” Sishuba concludes.

To find out more about CCBSA’s Youth Empowerment Programme, and to apply, please visit https://www.ccbsaco.com/apply-youth-empowerment-program/

 
[1] “The alarming truth about the number of small businesses in South Africa”, BusinessTech (25 July 2018), available at https://businesstech.co.za/news/business/260797/the-alarming-truth-about-the-number-of-small-businesses-in-south-africa/.