Here are 13 key takeaways for startups and entrepreneurs from Ramaphosa's SONA 2020

This article provides an overview of how President Cyril Ramaphosa plans to give young people an opportunity to participate in the South African economy, not just as consumers or problems to be solved but as partners in development.

President Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa used his State of the Nation address on Thursday to also announcing plans to tackle SA's record-high youth unemployment and rapidly increase support for small businesses, startups and entrepreneurs - especially youth and women.


1. The President acknowledged that indeed we are confronted by the crisis of youth unemployment in a way that more than half of all young people in South Africa are employed.

2. On youth employment, government has begun the implementation of the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention comprising six priority actions over the next five years to reduce youth unemployment.

3. Starting this month, government is launching five prototype sites in five provinces that will grow to a national network reaching three million young people through multiple channels. This will allow young people to receive active support, information and work readiness training to increase their employability and match themselves to opportunities.

4. Government is looking to provide shorter, more flexible courses in specific skills that employers in fast-growing sectors need.

5. Government is developing new and innovative ways to support youth entrepreneurship and self-employment.

6. Government is scaling up the Youth Employment Service and working with TVET colleges and the private sector to ensure that more learners receive practical experience in the workplace to complete their training.

7. Government is establishing the first cohort of a Presidential Youth Service programme that will unlock the agency of young people and provide opportunities for them to earn an income while contributing to nation building.

8. The National Youth Development Agency and the Department of Small Business Development will provide grant funding and business support to 1,000 young entrepreneurs in the next 100 days.

9. Government will assist 100,000 young entrepreneurs over the next 3 years to access business skills training, funding and market facilitation.              

10. Government is introducing the SheTradesZA platform to assist women-owned businesses to participate in global value chains and markets.

11. Over the next five years, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) is targeting R10 billion of own and partner funding for women empowered businesses.

12. To create a larger market for small businesses, govern plans to designate 1,000 locally produced products that must be procured from SMMEs. The Procurement Bill will soon be presented to Parliament as part of our efforts to empower black and emerging businesses and advance radical economic transformation.

13. Government will intensify its investment drive with the establishment of an integrated investment promotion and facilitation capability coordinated from the Presidency. Government will therefore hold the third South Africa Investment Conference in November to review the implementation of previous commitments and to generate new investment into South Africa's economy. In the first two years of government's ambitious investment drive, a total of R664 billion in investment commitments was raised, this is more than half of the five-year target of R1.2 trillion. Already, projects with an investment value of R9 billion have been completed and 27 projects worth just over R250 billion are in implementation phase, with more coming on-stream this year.


Sandile Shabangu

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