According to the current statistics 50% of young South Africans between 15 and 24 are unemployed. If you’re reading this, you are perhaps a young person and possibly this statistic is not news to you. It is easy to feel despondent and depressed when thinking about what this could mean for your future as well as for the future of our beautiful country. You watch your friends (and possibly even yourself) give up on dreams before they’ve had a chance to settle and take shape.
Sometimes it’s easier to give up before you even start because then at least you can’t be disappointed. Perhaps it’s a lack of support or opportunity or parental guidance or food or shelter or security or education or a story of abuse or an addiction or a teenage pregnancy or a criminal record or no access to transport or a lack of self-belief that keeps you from building your life.
The story of Raymond Ackerman Academy (RAA) and all the students who have walked through these doors defy every single reason (and more) just mentioned, if anything our story is made up of thousands of smaller stories about beating the odds every day. Stories of courage and conviction. Glimpses of hope and hard work.
Perseverance. Getting up and trying just one more time. A refusal to let circumstance define life. Failure seen as learning, rather than the end of the road and most importantly a drive and passion to see things change. For themselves. For their communities. For our country.
At RAA we believe that every person has something to offer the world. Sometimes our students see this about themselves before they join the programme and sometimes it is something they only realize when on the programme. An entrepreneur needs to be hard-working, innovative and creative. They need to persevere and take calculated risks and use the resources at their disposal to create whatever it is they are trying to achieve.
Mr Ackerman always says that it takes 90% guts and 10% capital to do what you want to do. So many times people with great ideas don’t take their ideas forward because they think that you need to have a lot of money to do so. At RAA we see students and alumni doing what they can with what they have and this makes all the difference.
We are inspired by the RAA’ers who have become brilliant young role models by starting their own businesses, being employed or deciding to further their studies. We are inspired by every person who has overcome a personal challenge. For some students this has been overcoming a fear of public speaking, for some it has been about letting go of things from the past, for some it has been just showing up on time every day to class and for some it has been about having the courage to live their dreams. As one of our graduates says, “life is very fair, everyone has 24 hours in a day”. You have one life. You can only change yourself. You are more than your circumstances. What are you going to do about it?
Shape your life at the Raymond Ackerman Academy of Entrepreneurial Development
For more information visit:
RAA Cape Town Campus
UCT Graduate School of Business
Portswood Road, Green point
Contact no: 021 406 1422
RAA Soweto Campus
University of Johannesburg
Chris Hani Road
Contact no: 0115595583
By Carol Williams and Elli Yiannakaris, Director of the Raymond Ackerman Academy of Entrepreneurial Development