The British Council is pleased to announce the much anticipated launch of the Next Generation South Africa report compiled by researchers Carmel Marock and Candice Harrison-Train from Singizi, a Johannesburg based research, monitoring and evaluation organization that specialises in studies in South Africa, the continent of Africa and globally. South Africa has witnessed fierce struggles over the years with the more recent #FeesMustFall protests positioning the youth at the forefront of these struggles. Young people are still challenged with access to economic opportunities. The Next Generation South Africa Research – focusing on South Africans between the ages of 15 and 34 – aims to provide a window into their world.

Colm McGivern, Director British Council South Africa, says:

“This research is the first opportunity to hear the voices of the Ramaphosa generation in South Africa, and it gives the President and his government a clear indication of the challenges ahead for the booming youth population. Young people here are resilient and committed to their communities and their self-development, they’ve told us they see a better future and they want to work hard to achieve it.  This report is required reading for those planning that future.”

In 2016, 66 per cent of people between the ages of 15 to 24 were unemployed; the unemployment rate for those aged 25 to 34 was 41 per cent. This constrains the ability of many young people to successfully transition into independence and adulthood. Since a large proportion of young people in South Africa were born after May 1994 – and are known as South Africa’s ‘born-frees’ – this is a misnomer for many young people. If young people cannot access jobs, they remain in a suspended state where there is a lack of equity and an absence of many freedoms. 

However, what is also evident from this research is that even where young people have the resilience to make it happen, transitioning successfully requires an ecosystem that can provide the resources and environment to support young people.

The South African National Youth Policy (2015–2020) opens with the statement ‘Youth-targeted interventions are needed to enable young South Africans to actively participate and engage in society and the economy. The marginalisation of young people is primarily manifested in high youth unemployment’ (April 2015). This highlights that for young South Africans, the priority issue is how to access the economy.

It is in this context that Next Generation South Africa sought to understand the thoughts, opinions and circumstances of young South Africans, most of whom have been raised in this young democracy. Have the members of this young generation, who are entering adulthood in post-Apartheid South Africa, inherited a world different to that of their parents, or do they continue to bear much of the legacy of older generations?

Key Findings:


    • South Africa’s youth population is growing, is highly mobile and is generally moving towards more urban areas, and away from rural areas. Modern youth mobility in South Africa can be characterised in two ways: temporary migration and permanent migration.
    • Migration can come with myriad challenges, including even more difficulty finding jobs than those born and growing up in cities, as well as the challenges that come with living in informal settlements with high transport costs to the city hubs. However, the findings in this report, which points to improved services, suggest that the young people who have moved have found ways to improve their living circumstances.
    • Educational performance is strongly associated with socio-economic status, so those young people who emerge from conditions of poverty invariably have an inadequate formative education, which negatively affects their educational outcomes and, therefore, their pathway into the labour market.
    • Surprisingly #NextGenSA18 Young people believe a #TVET qualification is better for getting a job than a University education. Research challenges a commonly held national perception that TVET and Matric are not valued by young people
    • While there is increased participation in schooling and higher education, completing matric continues to be challenging, especially for black and coloured South Africans.
    • The internet is supplanting family as the giver of advice on issues like health, well-being and livelihoods. Despite poor access to many resources, young South Africans have high levels of access to the internet and use it as the primary source of news and information – often before family
    • The ‘born-frees’ do not appear to have a more positive commitment to democracy, with similar attitudes as those of adults being shaped by the conditions in the country.
    • Young people increasingly see politics as transactional rather than a strengthening of democracy.
    • Young people are highly involved in Civil Society and see it as a critical space to ‘remain woke’. Being socially connected helps young people develop resilience

Find more details on the Next Generation South Africa report. 

Visit the project page: 

The Bridge

I recently listened to a wise man sharing the value of Elders in communities and I have adapted that for entrepreneurship. Thanks go to Sam Sleeman, MKP South Africa.

There where 2 communities and they where separated by a vast divide that was very difficult to cross and everyday, people would travel between the two communities by travelling down the one side, crossing over and travelling up the other side. If was very difficult and dangerous and often people didn’t make it.

One day a wise elder arrived at the communities and when seeing the journey that the people where making, went ahead and build a bridge over the divide.

The community members were perturbed and asked the Elder what he was doing. “I have built a bridge so that you no longer have to take that difficult and dangerous journey” replied the Elder.

“But we have always done it our way” said the community members.

“People don’t always make it your way, especially people who are new to the journey and don’t have experience” said the Elder.”Just try my way, it is safer, easier and shorter. I know it works as I have been making similar journeys for a long time”.

And that is the essence of mentorship. Following a route planned out by someone who has made those journeys before.

Africa agrees to a giant trade bloc, South Africa and Nigeria sit it out

The African Union started talks in 2015 to establish a 55-nation bloc that would be the biggest in the world by member states, in a bid to increase intra-regional trade, which sits at a measly 15 percent of Africa’s total commerce.

Rwandan president Paul Kagame, host of an AU summit called to conclude the initial negotiations, declared the meeting a success after 44 African nations signed up to establish the free trade bloc within 18 months.

It was not immediately clear why South Africa and Nigeria stayed on the sidelines. Others staying out of the bloc were Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia, Burundi, Eritrea, Benin, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau.

“It would have been great if the two biggest economies on the continent, Nigeria and South Africa, had signed, but the most important is that the rest of the continent is sending a right message to these two biggest economies that we are moving ahead without you,” said Michael Kottoh, an analyst at Confidential Strategies in Ghana.

The project needed a minimum of 22 countries signing up to get off the ground and Kagame hailed the effort so far.

“What is at stake is the dignity and well-being of Africa’s farmers, workers and entrepreneurs,” he said.

According to the business community, African countries agreeing on the
highly anticipated intra-Africa trade regime will go a long way in positioning
Africa as one of the biggest markets, consequently inspiring innovation, industrialisation and growth.

Ali Mufuruki, Tanzanian businessman and founder of Infotech Investment Group,  said one of the reasons he is excited about the Continental Free Trade Area is that it will not only open trade borders for Africans making mobility less expensive, but it will also restore African “dignity.”

“As a businessperson, there is nothing that frustrates me like traveling across Africa. It is extremely expensive and difficult; it takes a long time, you need visas and when you get to the border you are told to wait and you see people from Europe and Asia being waived through like they live there. It is so sad.

‘‘But to get into the country and I am being valued and I am appreciated simply because I am African, makes my life happier. I think that is one reason I am very happy about this single market framework,” Mufuruki said.

Linda Ndungutse, the founder of Haute Baso, a local clothing brand, said that the reduction of trade barriers within the African market will lessen the cost of doing business for young entrepreneurs while widening their consumer market.

Patrick Nsenga Buchana, the Chief Executive Officer of AC Group – the brains behind the smart technology in public transport payment model (Tap and Go) that operates in Rwanda and Cameroon – said that the need to grow opportunities across borders and give young African companies the scale to compete on the global market is also a unique opportunity  that the continental free trade market presents.

Ventures Platform Foundation launches ‘Office Hours’

This year, the focus is to help Nigerian entrepreneurs build successful and sustainable business ventures by providing them with the right blend of mentorship, advice and community.

The first Office Hours event ‘’Funding 101’’ is scheduled to hold on Wednesday 28 March 2018 in Abuja and will be extended to three other cities in Nigeria including a virtual mentorship program.

The session ‘’Funding 101’’, will focus on the concept of fundraising for entrepreneurs and founders and will have founders and investors in attendance. You can register here.

About Office Hours

Office Hours, is a thematic business advisory and mentorship clinic designed for young, vibrant and budding entrepreneurs to meet with mentors, share experiences, challenges, and get advice on building better businesses.

These sessions will see young entrepreneurs paired with industry experts and startup founders. You can book a session here: Apply

About Ventures Platform Foundation

Ventures Platform Foundation- the social impact arm of Ventures Platform (The startup Accelerator) is a not-for-profit that aims to BUILD and SUPPORT the next generation of Nigerian and African entrepreneurs through an array of well curated and thought out programs.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. We do this by making a positive contribution to the UK and the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.

Applications open for African Entrepreneurship Award

The ACE was launched in 2014, aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship across borders in Africa by rewarding talent and technology, and in the last few years has backed 33 winners to launch or scale their businesses.

Applications are open until April 30 to entrepreneurs from any African country, with finalists to be flown to Morocco for a bootcamp. They will then pitch in front of a panel for the chance to win USD1million.


Embrace technology to grow, experts urge African entrepreneurs

Experts in the business and technology industries have advised small and medium-scale business owners to embrace technology for them to grow and remain relevant in business.

The experts made the call at the Social Media Week in Lagos, where Microsoft hosted a panel session on ‘Digital transformation: Does your business have what it takes to survive in the digital age?’

The Business Development Manager, Microsoft4Afrika, Soromfe Uzomah, said that modern technology was the most vital business partner for any enterprise.

He stated that for business enterprises to survive in the digital age, “they must understand that today’s modern market expects technology-driven services.”

According to him, many of today’s consumers have grown using technology and the Internet.

Uzomah said that millennials accounted for over one-third of Africa’s population, adding that the impact they were having on businesses was beginning to be felt.

He stated that businesses that wished to be relevant and desired to appeal to today’s audience must adopt technology as a key part of business.

He said small business enterprises often battled to compete with larger firms, which have large servers and expensive Information Technology infrastructure that enable them to do more.

“Therefore, entrepreneurs should adopt modern technology to better understand their consumers and improve their products to give them a competitive edge,” Uzomah noted.

He also said that businesses looking to thrive in the digital age “should have employees who are digitally literate.”

Uzomah stated, “Employees need to possess the skills to make the most out of technology, as lack of skills is unlikely to derive the benefits of its investments. The development of these skills will move businesses to have increased access to the talent they need to make the most of their technology investments.

“Businesses which hope to lead in the digital age need to implement modern technologies and skills that will make them relevant and give them a competitive edge.

“With the intelligent tools to uncover new insights, address future problems, adapt to changing business environments, better serve customers and make more informed business decisions, your business can be unstoppable.”

The Country Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, Akin Banuso, said digital technology was changing every industry people knew, from manufacturing to health, retail, banking, agriculture and education.

“It provides African entrepreneurs exciting opportunities for innovation and new business models,” he added.

Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 entries open in South Africa

Amid the current political optimism, entrepreneurs should be especially inspired by the continued commitment to SME support which emerged as a consistent theme in both the 2018 State of the Nation Address and the National Budget Speech.

This is according to Christo Botes, 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year competition Spokesperson, who believes that this continued focus evidences Government’s recognition of the vital role played by entrepreneurs in enabling economic growth.

Speaking in light of the launch of the 2018 competition in Johannesburg on 6 March 2018, Botes says that this long-deserved recognition of the SME sector only further validates the competition’s unwavering commitment to celebrating excellence in entrepreneurship and fostering future economic growth.

“Now in our 30th year, this renowned competition continues to pay homage to the fearless South African entrepreneurs who dedicate themselves to their enterprises and businesses: driving growth, combatting unemployment and contributing towards the country’s economic development. It is therefore wonderful to see the public sector taking the required steps to improving the environment in which these entrepreneurs operate in order to promote further growth in the sector.”

“Looking back over the last 30 years, this competition has evolved from an internal competition that recognized BUSINESS/PARTNERS’ clients only, to a nation-wide search for outstanding South African-based entrepreneurs, with Sanlam as our valued partner,” confirms Botes.

Botes says that the competition continues to reward successful local business owners for the valuable contributions they make to grow their local communities and economies, and aims to inspire others to do the same.

“As our 30th- anniversary year, we’re hoping to see even more entrepreneurs enter. The competition is open to all South African-based businesses and prizes are awarded for the following categories: Overall Entrepreneur of the Year, Emerging Business Entrepreneur of the Year, Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year, Medium Business Entrepreneur of the Year, Job Creator of the Year and Innovator of the Year,” says Botes.

Botes adds that this year, the 2018 competition will also recognize a South African entrepreneur for a Lifetime Achievement award.

“The purpose of this specially nominated award is to recognize an entrepreneur who has made a significant contribution to the South Africa economy and has grown their business from start-up to large-scale, perhaps even multi-national corporation. We want to reward the individuals who have dedicated their lives to building our economy and inspiring others to do the same.”

The 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year competition, offers prizes valued at over ZAR2 million, which includes cash prizes of ZAR70 000 for each main category winner and ZAR200 000 for the overall winner.

Competition winners will also receive valuable mentorship support, networking opportunities and national media exposure.

Botes says that in celebrating 30 years of searching for entrepreneurial talent in all sectors of the economy, the competition remains fiercely committed to its cause in 2018.

“The judges are looking for entrepreneurs that have succeeded against the odds, either by carving out a niche market for their product or service offering, or by succeeding in a very competitive environment. Perseverance and endurance, innovation and agility are some of the qualities we look for in the entrepreneur.”

Botes adds that there are also a number of quantitative competition measures, such as turnover growth, profitability, owners’ equity growth, positive cash flows and job creation that play a part in the competition’s judging process.

Entrepreneurs are encouraged to enter the competition and can do so by downloading the entry form online at

The closing date for the competition is 31 May 2018.

Richard Branson Succession Tips for Family Businesses


One of the most important factors in a thriving family unit is trust, and the same can be said for business. Trusting someone’s opinion and judgement makes doing business a lot more enjoyable and efficient – and fun!

Office politics can be harsh, and while disagreements happen within families too, there’s a solidarity that tends to win out and propel agendas forward.


In order for a family business to succeed, it’s so important that each member is encouraged to find their passion points.

Not everyone is motivated by the same things, or shares the same skill- set- this is still true in families, despite genetics giving us a helping hand – so it’s crucial that everyone hones in on an area in which they can contribute and excel.

And once they do, they will be proud of what they do and the family business – which is of utmost importance, because when the day comes to hand over the reins, your team will need to be motivated and inspired to carry on the future success of the business.


A family business doesn’t have to be restricted to those that share your genes.

At Virgin Group we recognise that togetherness is a hugely important aspect of life and we refer to each other as a family.

In fact, the reason we have been able to grow into a global group is because family values are the cornerstone of the brand’s culture. Bonds of love and friendship encourage collaboration, and help to create productive working

environments that are fun and energetic.

The family is led in each different business by a different brilliant CEO, and all over the world and across many different sectors, we love to collaborate and exchange ideas.


The nature of work is changing – the hours, the contact and the responsibilities are nothing like they were 50 years ago.

Today, most people spend more time with their colleagues than anyone else in the world. With this in mind, it makes sense to turn professional relationships into real friendships, or better still work with your loved ones. Your business will benefit in the long run. So that’s my advice for successful succession planning. But don’t worry; I’m not going anywhere yet!

The inaugural Entrepreneurship and Cooperative Development Institute Conference

Solution specialists and innovation experts have analysed supply and demand within the South African Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, and after months of critical engagement and in-depth consultation have developed a pioneering joint programme off action.

Entrepreneurship and Cooperative Development Institute Conference delegates will be addressed by Government leaders, industry experts, renowned entrepreneurs, and public officials, all of whom are respected and recognised in their respective fields.

This inaugural ECDI Conference is about feedback, reflection and collective action. It is not the individual parts of the Programme of Action that make it ground-breaking, but the combination, collaboration, scale and approach – a FIRST of its kind – that offers massive potential to shift the status-quo as we know it. The Conference programme is structured into four key sessions namely | Session 1: Expectation of Action | Session 2: Programme of Action | Session 3: Beneficiaries of Action | Session 4: Call to Action.

If you are driven by passion and inspired by innovation in the development of entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial ecosystem. This important event is fully sponsored by the Services SETA.