The National Development Plan envisioned that, by 2030, SMMEs will contribute 60-80% to GDP increase and generate 90% of the 11 million new jobs in South Africa.

But, despite these ambitions, South Africa continues to have one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, says the station. South Africa's official unemployment rate is increasing to a record high of 32.5%, meaning that 7.2 million South Africans are unemployed. Youth unemployment was up at an alarming rate of 63.2%, meaning only one in three young people of working age is employed.

Sum of 21 is a full-service marketing and advertising incubator agency that is intended to address transformation within the creative industry through job creation, skills development and on-the-job training for the youth.

The agency's learnership programme aims to facilitate career development by applying hands-on learning models supported by seasoned industry mentors. This experience-based learning methodology leads to the development of employable resources that have been allowed to grow soft skills and develop their knowledge gained as graduates. At the end of the 12-month learnership programme, the young professionals receive an accredited National Certificate in Advertising (NQF 5).

"Transformation goes beyond just watching the scorecard and paying the pennies forward. There must be some emotional investment and time spent with learners to help them grow into employable youth and not focus on learnerships that perpetuate professional learners," says Roxanne Da Mata Goncalves, director at Strata-g Labour Solutions.

"It is easy to throw money at the issue, but what money does not provide is long-term employment, which means individuals do not get sufficient exposure and business acumen to actually create a decent working quality individual," adds Da Mata Goncalves.

By utilising corporate's B-BBEE grants, Sum of 21 allows young professionals to work on real-life projects, giving them access to real-world work experience. This approach provides the grantor with added value, where Sum of 21 will give the grantor free creative hours, which can then be used to execute creative briefs.

In exchange for the creative hours, the grantor has access to services ranging from strategic brand positioning through to creative execution and implementation, including the development of communication or marketing collateral and social media campaigns without the grantor having to put more pressure on their current marketing budgets.

To ensure the learners deliver quality work, they work alongside discipline experts at Sum of 21, learning the skills they need to advance into career roles. 

Janhendrik Oosthuizen, chief vision officer of Sum of 21, says, "The success of SMMEs in South Africa is critical, giving the high levels of unemployment in our country. SMMEs don't have the means to tell their story as they don't have the budget or resources."

"Sum of 21 is ideally positioned to help the SMMEs by giving them access to marketing services that are, more often than not, outside their reach from a financial perspective," adds Oosthuizen.

Classic1027 has called upon Corporate South Africa to become part of this initiative by using their B-BBEE grant contributions to empower an SMME to become part of The Small Business Booster Programme.

For every R300 000 raised through grants secured by the programme, an SMME will get access to professional brand, marketing and advertising services provided by Sum of 21. They will also have access to a fully-fledged radio campaign on Classic 1027.

This includes:
  • a complete media plan consisting of the production of a professional radio advertisement
  • airtime for the advertising spots and live reads, and
  • an interview with Michael Avery on the Classic Business Show to market their business.
Adding to the full B-BBEE recognition for the Enterprise and Supplier Development grant spent on the programme, corporate grantors will be offered the opportunity to identify SMMEs from within their supplier networks and existing platforms to benefit from The Small Business Booster Programme.

"The crisis of youth unemployment in South Africa is clear and a present danger unless we all start bringing our piece of the puzzle to solve it," says Michael Avery from Classic 1027’s Classic Business Show.

"That’s why I'm looking forward to this exciting partnership that Classic 1027 has entered into with Sum of 21. Not only will it help improve the quality of training and mentorship for young creatives but also provide critical marketing and advertising support to small businesses who need it most during the pandemic. What sets this project apart is its relentless focus on outputs and impact," concludes Avery. 

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