In a recently online survey, 57% of respondents agreed Uitenhage’s biggest challenge remains unemployment. With Youth unemployment approaching 50%1 in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro according to 2011 Census data, two entrepreneurs have decided to launch the Uitenhage Business Hub on Monday, 2 September 2013.
“Many students after graduating with a degree or diploma relocate to Gauteng or Cape Town to find employment and opportunities that is not available in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro,” says Elaine Camoetie, co-founder of Uitenhage Business Hub. “Most of those who leave Uitenhage never return and therefore economic growth is either flat or declining in real terms.”
Over the last 10 years there’s been a growing resentment among the people of Uitenhage after the merger with Port Elizabeth and Despatch into the Mandela Bay Municipality. Most people cannot articulate their frustration because they feel economic development and job creation is skewed towards Port Elizabeth. Despatch, an even smaller town and neighbour to Uitenhage, probably gets the shortest end of the stick, let alone black townships like Kwa-Nobuhle.
The combined population of Kwa-Nobuhle township and Uitenhage is about 200,000 from estimates based on the Census data. The biggest employers are Volkswagen SA, Goodyear and mostly factories providing products to the motor manufacturing industry.
“High unemployment among the youth is likely to reinforce apathy, increase crime, teenage pregnancy, drug & alcohol abuse,” according to Ramon Thomas, an entrepreneur who relocated back to Uitenhage after 15 years in Johannesburg. “Entrepreneurship teaches you to take responsibility for creating your own future, your own opportunities, before expecting anything in return.”
The Uitenhage Business Hub co-founded by Elaine Camoetie, Yusuf Moses and Ramon Thomas has mission to create 20,000 jobs the next 20 years. The Hub will provides shared office space, Internet access, and will launch large scale Learnership programmes from the mICT SETA in 2014.
Informal partnerships exists with Raizcorp, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), CommunityLED, and the Media Workshop.
Thomas confirms, “with only 28 respondents it is not statistically valid to rely conclusively on the online survey, and a follow-up study is planned among the community via cellphones before 2014.”
- Elaine Camoetie: mobile 078 002 6918 email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ramon Thomas: mobile 081 4399 555 email email@example.com