Small Business has Potential to Impact Youth Unemployment

Mika Stanvliet
05 Jul 2019

Unemployment in South Africa is a national crisis. Recent Stats SA figures reveal that the country’s unemployment rate increased to 27.6% in the first quarter of 2019. That means approximately 6.2 million South Africans between the ages of 15 and 64 currently don’t have the means to support themselves or their families. The situation is far more dire among the country’s youth, with 55.2% of 15 to 24 year old’s unemployed. 

The long-term, sustainable solution to this crisis may lie in South Africa’s small business ecosystem – which already contributes about a third of GDP and provides employment to millions of South Africans.

Trusted Interns, an online platform connecting the learning world and the working world is on a mission to educate organisations on the benefits of hiring graduate interns. “This is an opportunity to tap into the tech-savvy youth, who are positioned to offer businesses a fresh perspective and introduce new ideas. Additionally, it provides an avenue to connect with and understand this emerging demographic, while mentoring potential future entrepreneurs and providing much needed employment prospects to the youth,” says Jaryd Raizon, founder of Trusted Interns. 

“Trusted Interns has a healthy community of 15 000 qualified interns, who are ambitious and want to contribute to our economy, ” says Raizon. The most recent Small Business Pulse survey by Yoco revealed that 32% of respondents planned to employ more staff within the next 12 months. As such, Trusted Interns has partnered with Yoco to launch #ShiftTomorrow, a two-pronged campaign that directly addresses South Africa’s unemployment crisis, while helping small businesses grow. Yoco has in excess of 43 000 small businesses using its payment and point-of-sale technology, providing a perfect opportunity for the two organisations to marry their respective communities.

“We believe that the success of our economy lies in small business,” says Katlego Maphai, co-founder and CEO at Yoco. “And while it is already responsible for providing a huge number of jobs, this sector has the power to create millions more.”

This echoes Clem Sunter’s view that the best way to create 5 million jobs is to enable 500 000 entrepreneurs grow their business. “There’s significant power in small, which is why we want to empower small businesses to uplift and transform South Africa’s economy by hiring more interns,” says Maphai.

The initiative aims to enable as many small businesses as possible to focus on employment and grow their teams by hiring educated and qualified young South Africans as paid interns between Youth Day on 16 June 2019, through to Mandela Day on Thursday, 18 July. 

Throughout this month-long campaign, any small business with 10 employees or less will get an 80% reduction on their placement fee with Trusted Interns. “Already, the campaign has received support from Andile Khumalo’s I am an Entrepreneur and Silicon Cape, who are inviting participation from their communities, and Red & Yellow has pledged to sponsor five placements. We are also chatting to other startup and small business networks to ensure the campaign receives maximum traction and exposure during the month,” says Raizon.

“Our goal for this pilot phase is to place 670 interns, and any business that loads a job and places an intern over the course of the month will stand a chance to have one of 20 placement fees fully sponsored by Yoco. We hope to be able to scale the programme significantly in the future,” adds Maphai.

For any small business that is hesitant about the process, Raizon explains that hiring interns offers numerous benefits. “While startups and small businesses have tight budgets, there’s always a lot to do. Qualified interns are hungry for experience, and come at an affordable (and tax-deductible) cost.” 

SARS launched the Employment Tax Incentive to encourage employers to hire young job seekers, which makes it more affordable for small businesses to hire help. More importantly, the initiative will boost employability among interns, as graduates who held internships are three times more likely to secure gainful employment after university, according to a High Fliers study of more than 18,000 university leavers.

To qualify for the #ShiftTomorrow initiative, small businesses must provide meaningful and relevant work experience that imparts job-related skills, and provide interns with a monthly salary of at least R3500 for three months or more. 

Visit to create an account, load an internship for an entry-level job and do your part.