77,6% of South African people are under the age of 35, yet the country has one of the world’s highest youth unemployment rates. That effectively means that the majority of the country’s population is affected by unemployment. One of the solutions that have emerged to tackle unemployment in the age of the fourth industrial revolution, is the optimization of the creative industry through programs that are designed to empower young creative entrepreneurs to grow a robust creative economy . According to the South African Cultural Observatory, the creative economy not only contributes over R74 billion to the country’s GDP but it accounts for 7% of all jobs in South Africa. That is, 1,14 million jobs in South Africa are in one way or the other linked to the creative economy.
What is essentially being proposed is that young people who are participating in the creative economy should be given the tools to take part in developing and selling their creative skills, services and time. This is why we developed the OURS Program for young creative entrepreneurs because we understand that The Future Is Creative.
The program goes a step further by encouraging creatives to channel their creativity towards problem solving. We encourage them to find a gap in the market and use their creativity to come up with innovative solutions that they can take to market and whose value they can communicate. We are posing that given the right tools, like business literacy, creatives can be a part of shaping the future especially in what we imagine the post COVID-19 world will look like.
The creative economy’s share in the country’s GDP grows annually, this is an indicator that we should be looking towards participating in the knowledge economy as a country. Hence, why not scale an already promising economy through providing young people with the education and resources they require to compete globally?
With the necessary support, South Africa will not only be able to improve unemployment locally but we will be able to compete in the global knowledge economy in the age of the 4IR. Creative tourism has helped bolster some of the world's biggest economies in the Americas and Europe. Exporting our culture and creativity will not only create employment for the youth locally but will give them opportunities on a global stage.