American business strategist Tamiko Cuellar. Supplied

Cape Town - With the country facing an unemployment crisis, a concerted effort to support entrepreneurs is urgently needed in South Africa.

This is according to renowned US business strategist and founder of Pursue Your Own Purpose, Tamiko Cuellar, who has previously shared her experiences and insights at workshops held in South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria and Namibia. Cuellar believes that it is possible to end generational poverty and start creating wealth, and that the government needs to create a fertile ground for the establishment and success of entrepreneurs to stimulate the economy.

“I believe that the South African government needs to stimulate the economy by helping support entrepreneurs through creating more programmes and in some cases funding some start-ups who struggle to find capital,” she said.

In a workshop with students at the College of Cape Town this week, one of the few institutions that offer entrepreneurship, Cuellar said not only did entrepreneurs create businesses and wealth for themselves, they also helped to create jobs for others - thus breaking generational poverty.

She said one of the reasons the US had a low unemployment rate of only 4% was because there was a real push for entrepreneurship.

“We have an ecosystem, hubs, colleges, universities, government entities and business owners that work together in helping to produce entrepreneurs. It’s a concerted effort and very intentional for creating entrepreneurship so that people are not dependent on large corporations for employment,” said Cuellar.

The number of unemployed people in South Africa rose to more than 6.65million in the last quarter, the highest since 2013, with most of those struggling to find jobs being the youth.

“We need to get young people energised about entrepreneurship and equip them as early as possible - by university level they have the capacity to grasp entrepreneurship and take it as a viable career path for themselves,” she said.

Drawing from one of her four books, Own Your Brilliance, written to help women transition from being employees to entrepreneurs, Cuellar also encouraged people to cultivate a mindset of entrepreneurship. The inspiring business coach who was born and raised in low-income housing projects told the young students that it was possible to create wealth and not be dependent on a social grant system.

“Just like poverty comes from a mindset, so does wealth,” she added.

Entrepreneurs, she said, had a different mindset and one of them was the ability to take on a lot of risks while employees did not like the risk of the unknown. But she cautioned against taking a huge leap into entrepreneurship but advised for a “side hustle”, testing out the prospect of a business success while in full employment.

“There’s no one way of doing business, people can choose the type of path and entrepreneur they want to be,” she said.

Cuellar shared some of the wealthiest people’s secrets - “most have seven streams of income”. But she also encouraged entrepreneurs to start businesses with the ideas they had.

“Every big corporation we see today started out small, every business starts with one idea.” She shared an example of Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba. “He had a dream, he had a vision, he gathered up 17 of his closest friends in his then tiny apartment. They came on board without a salary as they believed in his vision. Today he is one of the richest men in the world,” Cuellar encouraged.

She encouraged entrepreneurs in monetising their skills set, delaying gratification when business generated revenue and investing wisely. She also shares her insights on: [email protected]

Weekend Argus