South Africans to adopt entrepreneurial mindset in 2016

Christo Botes
A new year is synonymous with a ‘new me’ attitude, and is often accompanied by a list of resolutions to become a better, healthier and more successful individual. Christo Botes, spokesperson for the 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition – sponsored by Sanlam and Business Partners Limited, says that adopting an entrepreneurial mindset should be included on the list of New Year resolutions for all South Africans. 

While unemployment is a global issue, South Africa’s situation is daunting, with an unemployment rate of 25.5%. Botes says that as entrepreneurism is a viable answer to this problem, South Africans should increasingly be considering entrepreneurship as a viable career option. He explains that this starts with a shift from an ‘employee’ to an ‘employer’ mindset. 

Botes says that an entrepreneurial mindset ideally needs to be instilled in the mind of individuals from an early age. This will enable them to approach their tertiary education with an ‘employer’ mentality rather than being solely focused on finding a job after obtaining a qualification.” 

Deciding which profession to pursue after high school is not easy, with many young individuals finding themselves at a crossroads when the time comes. Botes says that approaching tertiary education with an end goal of pursuing self-employment in a field of choice enables young South Africans to select the correct school subjects to achieve this. “This is also the perfect time to gain knowledge about their chosen sector by job shadowing at a business in the relevant field. This will aid in equipping them with the skills needed to start a business in the sector once their studies are completed.” 

Botes also challenges industry players to perform a more active role in fostering this mind shift towards entrepreneurship. “Entrepreneurship should not be seen as a last resort, and should be endorsed as a viable career choice. We need to instill a positive entrepreneurial culture that is nurtured at the roots of society.”

He adds that experienced business owners should also look at offering support to aspiring entrepreneurs – both the youth and older generation - in the form of mentorship and training programmes. “These can prove to be instrumental to an aspiring entrepreneur. Not only will it assist in shaping their approach to entrepreneurship, but also build their confidence in carving out an entrepreneurial career.”

Botes says that employed individuals should not dismiss the idea of becoming an entrepreneur in the future. “It’s never too late to explore a new or existing business idea that you may been considering for many years. By implementing your plans slowly at first, and exploring the idea after work hours, entrepreneurs can establish whether the idea is viable before quitting a stable job and pursuing it full time.  This allows the aspiring entrepreneur the opportunity to retain the security of a steady income while refining the business idea and building up an extensive client base at the same time.”

In the pursuit of becoming a successful entrepreneur, Botes encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to make use of the platforms which offer expertise and guidance on starting and running a success business, such as the SME Toolkit South Africa website:; The Sanlam Business Plan Book:, The Sanlam Business Turnaround Book:; and The Sanlam Game Plan: Entrepreneurs can also make us of the Business Partners Entrepreneurs Growth Centre by calling 0861 763 346 or visiting: