SA Tourism CEO explores entrepreneurship challenge with UJ students

Entrepreneurship education seeks to prepare people, especially youth, to be responsible, enterprising individuals who become entrepreneurs or entrepreneurial thinkers and contribute to economic development and sustainable communities. SA’s booming Tourism industry is gasping for new talent and fresh ideas. Sisa Ntshona examines the options open to bright graduates.

“You have just graduated and completed your studies, but in our current economic climate, you find it difficult to find a job. We need you to come up with a business idea or tour routes in your hometown that will assist in commercialising township/rural tourism,” said Mr Sisa Ntshona, SA Tourism CEO as he addressed UJ Tourism students on Monday, 23 October 2017 at the Auckland Park Bunting Road Campus, School of Tourism and Hospitality (STH).

UJ’s School of Tourism and Hospitality in partnership with FCB Africa (Foote, Cone & Belding) and South African Tourism unpacked challenges facing youth unemployment and recommended entrepreneurship as a potential solution.

“The promotion of entrepreneurship is not only necessary for a healthy economy but also critical for sustaining prosperity and creating new jobs. As an institution, we welcome such initiatives related to entrepreneurship,” said Dr Diane Abrahams, Director: UJ School of Tourism and Hospitality Management.

This engagement was attended by students and staff members. Students engaged with the stakeholders as well as with representatives during the workshop.

“In an effort to reduce the percentage of youth unemployment, we want you to consider and present how you can develop a Township Tourism strategy for your hometown as a sub-title,” explained Mr Ntshona.

Inspired by this rise in the entrepreneurial graduate opportunities, Lebohang Malepa from Soweto Backpackers and Mbali Zwane from Eyita Tours were keynote guest speakers during the event. They both presented their entrepreneurial journey’s to explain to the students how they started their own businesses and what drove them to start a tourism-related business.

Both entrepreneurs today offer adventure activities that are not traditionally expected in a township setting, like cycling, camping and tours with professional guides to historic sites and landmarks around the township.

“The challenge to our youth is so real. Understanding these challenges is so important to find the solutions. Confidence is scarce and the lack of privilege often manifests itself in unseen ways. There are so many opportunities to create focused and intentional solutions. The challenge and the privilege is now to find those solutions and implement them in meaningful ways,” concluded Mr Ntshona.

Students will present their ideas in the following year and the winners of the challenge will have the opportunity for mentorship and incubation.

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