UJ, Maponya Institute fighting unemployment through entrepreneurship

The second installation of Think Tank, on Wednesday evening, 19 August 2015 at the Resolution Circle Towers in Milpark, the Dr Richard Maponya Institute – in partnership with the University of Johannesburg (UJ) – encouraged young business owners, graduates and students in its programmes to develop solutions to fight unemployment. The event, marked with inspiring business conduct by industry leaders such as Mr Sechaba Motsieloa, Corporate Affairs Director at McDonalds SA, and Dr Richard Maponya, was aimed at seeking solutions for helping plant an entrepreneurship spirit in South Africa’s youth and reduce dependency on government welfare and tenders.

Mr Sam Tsima, Project Manager at the Institute and Chairman of Cometsa, and Dr Richard Maponya, a Soweto business mogul and founder of the Institute, narrated the inspiration they found in Brazil’s IRDAS model that drastically reduced poverty and unemployment among the Brazilians. Dr Maponya and Mr Tsima spoke fondly of how the IRDAS model can help South Africans to access business markets, learn about governance and compliance, reduce economic inequalities and alleviate poverty.

Mr Motsieloa, who was speaking on behalf of McDonalds’ CEO Greg Solomon, said that legacy was important in everything that people do. “The river never forgets its source. It is important to lay a good foundation in business: that includes having ethics; having a plan; building a base; establishing relationships with other businesses and entrepreneurs; having undying focus, responsible growth, awareness of change and being innovative, using technology. Introducing a culture with enables conducive environments for employees,” said Motsieloa.

“We do not want young people to loiter the streets doing things that destroy their lives. We want people to do things for themselves. I thank UJ for the partnership. Thank God, I might reach 100 years, I would like to see this happen in my lifetime – we can do it. We will train people in the rural areas to learn about business. The Brazilians did it, we can also do it,” said Dr Maponya with excitement.

Clearly visible in his character, Dr Maponya looked content and enthusiastic with the presence of the business owners, graduates and speakers at the event. The Faculty of Management staff presented Dr Maponya with a cake, not for his 95th birthday, but for his 95 years of making a significant contribution to society.

Chichi Maponya, daughter of Richard Maponya, said that his father and late mother started business during tough times in the apartheid years. She said that the youth of today were not starting from ground zero because they have people such as Dr Maponya to look up to and can seek advice from the Institute.

The attendees of the Think Tank sat in groups to engage in plenary-sessions that sought ways to help the Institute reach people in various areas of South Africa, particularly the youth, and come up with solutions that uplift their own businesses. Present at the event was McDonalds’ marketing team, business stakeholders from the United States of America (USA), Director of the Centre for Small Business Development, Ms Moipone Molotsi, and the UJ Faculty of Management’s Executive Dean Prof Daneel van Lill.​

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