Youth small business development as a strategy for job creation and sustainable livelihood in the case of Umzimkhulu Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal.
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The world is confronted by a huge deficit in youth job creation while the population bulge is increasing at an alarming rate. Economies across the globe are not meeting the desired development goals of ensuring employment and this is one of the biggest concerns for governments. In South Africa in particular, youth unemployment contributes over 1.3 million unemployed out of the 7.3 million in the world as estimated by the International Labour Organisation (Berman, 2015). Seeing this leakage in the world, measures and policies have been adopted and reviewed in pursuit to alleviate this socio-economic ill. However, more work still needs to be done as this challenge persists including in this study’s geographical location. Hence, different areas have adopted different livelihood strategies, including youth entrepreneurship which is under investigation in this study. The intention of this study was to capture the effectiveness of youth small businesses development in ensuring better job creation and sustainable livelihood development in uMzimkhulu. To capture the realities in uMzimkhulu regarding this phenomenon, qualitative research methods were used to elicit data. This encompassed the use of qualitative research instruments like the verbal texts, interviews and observations. The study is located within the interpretivism research philosophy. This study sample included four sample representatives who are key-informants (NYDA and LED) accountable to youth development as well as job creation. In addition, 14 in-depth semi-structured interviewed were conducted to understand the participants’ lived experiences. The gathered data was analysed using thematic data analysis approach. The study found that in uMzimkhulu, the similar case of youth vulnerability exists just like the other parts of the world. However, the youth from this area has not remained silent and recipient as they have taken a stand to use their capabilities and seek for support towards the implementation of their personal sustainable livelihood and job creation strategies. The study found various livelihood strategies in uMzimkhulu, however, youth in small businesses remained the most popular one. This study discovered that lack of machinery, business sites, and inadequate finances are some of the major factors that undermine the prosperity of entrepreneurship in uMzimkhulu. However, despite such constraints, uMzimkhulu youth use an asset-based approach to sustain their livelihoods. This study therefore recommends for the integrated support for entrepreneurship by both private and public sector.