Analysis: Young Entrepreneurs Put Their All in as They Work Through Level 4 Lockdown

Analysis: Young Entrepreneurs Put Their All in as They Work Through Level 4 Lockdown

On Sunday, 11 July, President Cyril Ramaphosa extended the Alert Level 4 lockdown for another 14 days. The sale and distribution of alcohol is completely prohibited while all schools closed on 30 June and will reopen on 26 July.

Young entrepreneurs are facing a crisis as well, where do they go from here? Many members of the youth are just starting out but the global pandemic has immensely impacted their businesses and livelihoods.

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The prohibition of gatherings affect the youth in more ways than one would think

Various aspects impact South African businesses but the youth that are at the beginning of the rest of their lives are struggling. BusinessTech reported that besides funerals, the workplace or the purchasing of goods and services, all gatherings are prohibited.

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The above makes life a bit difficult for 23-year-old photographer, Shaima Birima. Birima has been struggling to confirm bookings for her work and hiring equipment for her photography has resulted in excessive losses:

"I’m not able to confirm any bookings. If the situaation in the country, I have nothing. Whatever I have in the upcoming weeks, I've either had to cancel them or it had to be postponed. If its a birthday party and is at a home I can go out but would prefer to stay in doors for protection.
"For the confirmed bookings I have to give them their deposit back and if I have to hire equipment; I have to make a deposit for the equipmet This means I have to pay for that so inevitably I'm making a loss on that.
"For example if I have to get lighting equipment I have to pay a deposit of around R400 which is like my entire session then i end up losing out especially if the session has been cancelled or postponed."

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Are books really not essential as the country faces an education crisis?

PhD student and aspiring author Siddharthiya Pillay is in the same boat as Birima. The 28-year-old has started her journey as a children's book author but although sales were going good, the ability to promote books in a physical manner has caused sales to plummet for Pillay:

"It is difficult as independent authors (not in bookstores) it means going to book fairs and private publicity events due to level 4 stopping this. Even if things start opening up again, with the new variants and the severity of them people are a bit more hesitant to go out.
"I think there’s also many people pinching their purse strings as books aren't considered an essential item."

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Social media is not just fancy getaways and selfies for the youth

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Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma stated that all people are expected to be in their homes and remain there from 9pm until 4am unless there is an emergency.

Young Shannon Bruce who owns Anne Roux Apparel has been impacted negatively by this as issues surrounding transportation of her goods continue to cause sales to plunge. The 22-year-old has not allowed this to stop her as she continues pushing for success:

"With the business, sales have noticeably dropped as we entered Level 4, however, our social media presence and brand exposure has increased. Personally, I have had to make lifestyle budget cuts in a sense as the business is one of my biggest income streams."
Analysis, What does level 4 mean for young entrepreneurs
L to R: Siddharthiya Pillay, Shaima Birima and Shannon Bruce are just a few young entrepreneurs pushing their way through the lockdown. Image: Provided
Source: UGC

Can these young entrepreneurs financially sustain themselves during this time?

IOL reported that Ramaphosa said during his speech that infections remain extremely high. The Delta variant is causing a more severe third wave. It is much harsher than both the first and second wave experienced in South Africa.

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Birima stated that she has a side business while Pillay is facing the same struggle.

"I’ve been trying to do other small things like selling teas. I do other things so I am able to sustain what my passion is; photography. I do try to give discounts where I can but at the end of the day I’m going to face a loss. There’s not much I can do," said Birima.

Pillay stated that her poetry and children's books may be her passion but it cannot financially sustain her at this point:

"Its not a business that can solely sustain me. I rely on other means and channels to generate some sort of income.
"I think that looking at the state of affairs at the moment and how level 4 is continuing with the systemic problems that are rising due to poverty and people’s general exasperation with everything. Especially the economic consequences of everything. Its quite disheartening and demotivating."

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Wisdom is not only for the experienced in life but also for those who have travelled roads unspoken

Bruce had this to say about her struggles and her road to success:

"Starting this business right before lockdown began may not have been the best with every challenge I have faced. I have overcome and learned what works and what doesn’t.
"It has been the most exciting and challenging journey I’ve gone through and I am excited to watch the brand grow exponentially once we recover from this lockdown and shutdown."

Birima is positive her business will kick-off once again:

"Starting a business is very tough and although I have been doing this for three years I’ve only done it full-time for a year so this is still the first year crisis part and since we’re in the middle of Covid-19 and there is striking and looting; this just adds more of a challenge but I will continue to do my photography, even if it goes slow. I hope that picks up."

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Pillay hopes to motivate others through her work:

"Within the youth there is a lot of potential and willingness and good heartedness; even though we might not all be in the most stable places at the moment, there is still an empathy that resounds around many youth and that’s really good to see.
"Keep acting that way and do it right and be helpful to the country. It's not about making money its about using skills to make sure that other people have enough and what is enough for them and at what point we can help each other."

Analysis on African countries that helped each other through innovation

Previously, Briefly News reported that the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Stellenbosch University formed a trilateral partnership to help in the development of African countries.

The arrangement will be focusing on the improvement of food security, clean energy and education through innovation of already existing science and technology elements.

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The formation of a trilateral partnership between AUDA-NEPAD, the CSIR and Stellenbosch University is rather significant and needs to be understood from its basic core.

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Source: Briefly News

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