Digital skills to power young business

The power of digital skills to support and expand economic activity is transforming the lives of young entrepreneurs in the iLembe District Municipality.

A group of young people from KwaDukuza and Mandeni Local Municipalities have completed their one-year, SETA accredited training under the iLembe ICT project, which will enable them to design and develop websites and apps.

The digital training programme was managed by the Vuthela iLembe LED Support Programme in partnership with Enterprise iLembe, the district’s economic development agency, the Moses Kotane Institute, and the youth managers from both municipalities.

The Vuthela Programme is funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and is being implemented in partnership with the KZN Department of Economic Affairs and Tourism, the iLembe District Municipality and the local municipalities of KwaDukuza and Mandeni.

Shannon Moffett, organiser of the Vuthela skills training programme and Vuthela Key Expert on Private Sector Development, says the 29 young youth who completed the course now have the skills and knowledge to develop and build websites and digital apps.

“This skill is becoming increasingly important as the fourth industrial revolution changes and shapes the way that business is conducted today,” says Moffett.

“The internet and the digital economy are key drivers of growth and employment, and they can be used to unlock the full potential of deep rural and urban enterprises. The course will open many doors for the young people who graduated in this programme. 

“The programme would not have been possible without the support of our partners, including Enterprise iLembe and Moses Kotane Institute who made their facilities and equipment available to the students, as many did not have their own equipment.

“The trainees were dedicated to completing the course, and they worked for an entire year without stipends or any financial support. This proved their dedication to improve their jobs or enterprises,” says Moffett. 

The graduation was part of Enterprise iLembe’s all-day ‘Let’s Talk Youth Entrepreneurship’ event held to expose youth in the iLembe district to economic sectors with high job creation potential.

Digital skills programmes are particularly relevant to businesses which are increasingly reliant on digital marketing for their business growth.

As in many other regions of South Africa, the district faces the challenges of poverty, inequality, unemployment and underdevelopment, especially in rural and semi-urban areas.

Digital platforms can make a big difference under the prevailing conditions by contributing to sustainable and viable economic development.

The iLembe District Municipality’s entrepreneurship event showed the youth how to access entrepreneurship funding programmes. It included a panel discussion on how they can exploit opportunities in the Green Economy, and the digital world.