Tackling unemployment in Mamelodi
High levels of youth unemployment is one of the biggest challenges facing South Africa today. The University of Pretoria (UP) Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences supports the Mamelodi Business Clinic to help township entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
This UP Social Responsibility Programme is a vital link between the students and the community and is a great opportunity for students to learn in a real environment and contribute to social equity.
“I joined the UP Mamelodi Campus in 2015. I empower the students with needlework knowledge and practical work. I teach them how to do sewing,” said Stephina Van Rooyen, Community Business Mentor, Chef, and Tailor.
The Faculty aims to continuously strengthen engagement and development in the fields of economic, financial and management sciences through its academic and research excellence.
The UP Mamelodi Business Clinic
The Mamelodi Business Clinic is a program aimed at facilitating entrepreneurship and small business development in and around the Tshwane community. The clinic offers entrepreneurship monitoring and training, business advice and counseling processes.
“The Mamelodi Business Clinic was established in 2011. The core purpose is to enable and assist township entrepreneurship in the Tshwane area,” said Prof Alex Antonites, Head of the Department of Business Management at UP.
“Our service offering here is to train the local community. We want to develop Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMME’s) in Tshwane,” added Thato Mokoena, Head of Business Clinic.
The program allows the formal students to get involved with the informal sector entrepreneurs. The initiative provides support to the communities in their self-identified upliftment and empowerment efforts and the students bridge the theory in lectures with practical real-life experiences.
“We apply the basic business principles in project management to ensure there is an effective and efficient business running for the entrepreneurs. We make sure that the students benefit and the community as well,” explained Dorah Mashiyane Operations, Department of Business Management UP.
This enables the program to be a catalyst for economic and social transformation.
“I have learnt the reality of curriculum transformation. Now I know how to engage with real poverty and its survivals,” said Nicole De Abreu Business Management Student UP.
The business clinic creates an opportunity for service learning and stimulates and establishes businesses.
“I got a lot of support ever from learning how to use a computer and networking. We get free access to computers as well. The staff is also very friendly,” added Stephina.
The strategy is all about community involvement as Prof Alex explained.
“It is all about community engagement and essentially entrepreneur development and the youth development. We teach and develop entrepreneurs and at the end profitable businesses create jobs,” he explained.
“Small businesses should be able to attract funding to help them grow. This also enables entrepreneurs to formalise their businesses. Best practices will enable them to meet the world standards,” concluded Thato.
In the end, the community will create businesses and self-employment that will create jobs and contribute to the economy of the country.
At the same time, the faculty continues to deliver competent, creative and responsible and productive future leaders.