Youth-led SMEs: How to create opportunities Youth-led SMEs: How to create opportunities
In June we celebrated youth month in South Africa. As we take the time to appreciate and acknowledge young people who are making an... Youth-led SMEs: How to create opportunities

In June we celebrated youth month in South Africa. As we take the time to appreciate and acknowledge young people who are making an impact in our country, we also need to put the spotlight on young entrepreneurs who are working hard to establish their businesses and are struggling to find the necessary support.

According to Stats SA 2022, the youth in South Africa continue to be disadvantaged in the labour market, with the unemployment rate spiking as high as 42%. Entrepreneurship can offer innovative solutions for economic growth amongst young people if given the much-needed support to help them thrive.

Edge Growth’s Business Development Manager Nabeela Vally shares some tips on how youth can create opportunities to grow their small businesses and how corporates can support these young business owners. 

Understanding the concept of access to market

To grow your business, you need to increase your client base. However, Nabeela emphasizes that young entrepreneurs need to first understand the concept of market access as this will potentially help grow their businesses if applied correctly. Although corporates and the government play a huge role in providing contracts to SMEs, it is also important that young SME owners position their businesses in a favourable light so they can be easily considered for the opportunities that may present themselves to become suppliers for corporate entities.

“Because market access is about enabling small businesses to participate in the economy with the ability to sell, young entrepreneurs should not put so much emphasis on one client, but focus on diversification. Once this concept is understood, you find entrepreneurs may avoid stagnation in the future by creating opportunities for themselves, even considering collaborating with existing fellow SMEs,” said Nabeela.

Positioning your business for access to funding

Another important success factor for young entrepreneurs is getting access to funding through venture capital.  Venture capital opens doors and the growing support helps them find blind spots within their businesses. Through venture capital, there are several options for young entrepreneurs to attain financial stability.

Young entrepreneurs need to come to the party by opting for the right fit organizations and ensuring that they adhere to best practices to provide an easy pathway for corporates to invest in them. Organizations such as Edge Growth help connect SMEs to corporates that can remove the barriers associated with compliance and legislation, a need for many young entrepreneurs.

To position their business in a way that promotes growth and is investable, young entrepreneurs must have a proven record of accomplishment with clients who can vouch for their product, ensure that their legalities are up to date, and have a comprehensive and concise financial framework.

Learning important skills

Young entrepreneurs can create opportunities for themselves by learning important skills such as networking, innovation, critical thinking, and self-discipline. Support is available from several SME development organizations and many online resources. Collaboration with fellow existing SMEs is crucial and together it is possible to help improve the high rate of unemployment in South Africa.


Edge Growth achieves real transformation by collaborating with corporates to grow Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which in turn create jobs for the unemployed. We grow SMEs by addressing the key constraints they face: 

  • ACCESS to finance 
  • ACCESS to corporate markets 
  • ACCESS to skills.

Antoinette Panton

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