Johannesburg – Youth unemployment in South Africa is everybody’s problem, so we must make Youth Month a rallying point to tackle it afresh, says Cash Converters CEO Richard Mukheibir.
“It is quite simple – we must all look at ways to take on the challenge,” he says. “The only rational and useful response is, ‘Yes, we can!’”
In recent years, youth unemployment, upskilling and empowerment have been key issues discussed in the State of the Nation Address. President Cyril Ramaphosa also recently launched the Youth Employment Service. But, says Mukheibir, this is not only a task for government – everyone in business can contribute to youth development.
“From mentoring interns to job creation, we can all offer our expertise and resources to help enable young people to build careers and their own businesses,” he says. “We should all look for opportunities to assist where we can.”
Franchising, for instance, is a way for independently minded individuals with a flair for business to build their own SMME even though they have relatively limited resources. At Cash Converters, for example, new franchisees need to invest a minimum of R1.5 million and receive a turnkey store with three income streams and supported by best-in-class systems and professional advice.
“This is an ideal way to make a mid-career move into making that dream of being your own boss come true,” says Mukheibir. “In the process, you will also be creating jobs for young people who can develop their skills and assets to follow in your footsteps in due time.”
The Cash Converters franchise, founded in Southern Africa in 1994, now has more than 80 franchise stores. These have so far created more than 1 000 jobs, with nearly 60 percent of staff currently aged under 35.
“Each store employs an average of 12 staff, who support an estimated 60 people between them,” says Mukheibir. “These are franchisees contributing beyond their own families to the whole country’s economy and to social development and cohesion. Across the company, we also provide ongoing business training with more than 250 modules so far available on our innovative, in-house e-learning platform.”
One of his top pieces of advice to anybody wanting to develop their career is to choose a job or a business that offers a supportive environment. Interviews with the world’s top business people always recount their stories of how they got to the top because of advice and support offered by other experienced people around them, he notes.
“This is a concept that we know very well in South Africa – we call it Ubuntu,” says Mukheibir. “Our country’s youth needs and deserves a better future. We must be prompted by Ubuntu to reach out across the generations and give them that helping hand.”
Commitment to five core values – passion, professionalism, integrity, respect and collaboration – makes Cash Converters a brand with best business and best interpersonal practice at heart, Mukheibir believes.
“Anybody buying into a business should always take the time to assess such factors and not just the numbers and the bottom line of the deal,” he advises. “We all need hard work and energy to succeed but we also all need to share insights and discuss problems.”