Jack Ma, the founding father of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, provides his first visit and speaking in public engagement in South Africa to inspire governments in Africa to support small businesses in an effort to address the crippling challenge of unemployment.
“We could easily create jobs by encouraging small companies and young adults in the African continent,” said Ma on Wednesday at Wits University in Johannesburg.
In their support of small enterprises or start-up companies, governments could create policies to nurture businesses, including offering them regulations and tax breaks or “good tax conditions”, said Ma.
“Give good tax conditions to start-ups,” he said. “Big companies don’t want these. Let’s get policies for start-ups and young companies.”
Ma is set in South Africa to produce a completely new programme for African entrepreneurs with $10 million (R134 million at the time of writing) in funding.
The programme, known as ‘Netpreneur Prize’, aims to aid 100 young African entrepreneurs by offering them grants totalling $10 million by 2030.
The Jack Ma Foundation also promises to launch five training hubs in Africa where emerging entrepreneurs can discover business, e-commerce, distribution and logistics. The building blocks hasn’t announced the countries targeted for the training hubs.
Ma’s address was largely centred on governments creating an enabling environment for entrepreneurs for the African continent.
“Governments should encourage entrepreneurs. It is the entrepreneur designed to drive dreams in Africa. Small establishments create jobs. Dreams drive the economy.”
Ma’s speech came at this time when there are actually growing views that government policies and regulations are stunting the development and continuing development of small establishments.
Although government entities in Africa will continue to acknowledge the chance of small establishments to further improve the economy and creating a dent in unemployment figures C waiting for 27.2% within the second quarter – most businesses still complain about absence of financial and skills support from the government. Entrepreneurs also complain around the not enough clear entrepreneurship policies plus an environment fraught with regulation.
Ma also encouraged governments to start out having conversations with small establishments in order to understand their concerns plus the challenges and opportunities they face.