Earlier this week Statistics South Africa released data which paints a grim picture of the state of unemployment in South Africa.

As of Q3 2019, the unemployment rate stands at a whooping 29.1 percent. To throw that into sharper relief, that means 6.7 million people in South Africa are without a job.

The problem gets even more concerning when you start looking at youth unemployment. As of Q3 2019, 40.4 percent of the 20.4 million people aged 15 – 34 years were not employed, in school or taking part in training.

With this in mind, it’s no wonder there is a push to support and grow young entrepreneurs in the country.

Vodacom has such an imitative in the Discover Graduate Programme.

The programme exposes graduates to high level business operations by why of rotating them through the Vodacom organisation. The graduates are also given access to entrepreneurs who they can learn from and masterclasses that cover life skills, innovation and what the world of work will look like in the future.

The initiative was launched in June of this year and has already attracted 6 000 applicants.

“We at Vodacom want to encourage young people to start with whatever it is they currently have, rather than waiting for the elusive ‘perfect’ time,” Vodacom NXT LVL manager, Deirdre Lodwig, said in a statement.

In order to reach the students, Vodacom set out on the Vodacom #ConnectedYouth Roadshow. As many as 7 000 students have attended the masterclasses held by Vodacom so far.

“Through the roadshow we have been able to encourage these young entrepreneurs to work with each other by leveraging each individual’s skills to help their businesses grow and we feel that participants have been able to leave the roadshow with new insights and a reignited fire within them.”

The roadshow will visit 25 university campuses around South Africa to help graduates looking to start their own business.