A question we often receive is, ‘What is the role of business in economic development?’ Well, let’s start with the meaning of ‘Economic Development.’ According to Caled.org, ‘Economicdevelopment is the creation of wealth from which community benefits are realized. It is more than a jobs program, it’s an investment in growing your economy and enhancing the prosperity and quality of life for all residents.’
So what does that mean for our question? Well, one of the answers is: job creation.
Without business there are no jobs and without jobs our economy cannot develop. This is why it is so important to understand the larger context of economic development and job creation within your business model as well, and especially in an emerging market such as South Africa. This can be quite challenging, however it is a must for overall growth.
Job creation isn’t easy and one must remember that the goal is not only to create more jobs, but also to create better jobs and improve wages so that our economy can grow and our people thrive. There are also trade-offs to consider – for example, more technology innovation may decrease certain jobs, and yet we cannot stop this sort of development as it will make the country less competitive. So instead, we need to consider how even as certain jobs become obsolete, we can create new and better ones and ensure that everyone within our society comes along and benefits. This means education and skills development are also an essential part of the equation.
Economic development, job creation, and skills development can be considered through a variety of different ways and linking these to your B-BBEE programs can also hold benefits for your business with regards to your B-BBEE score. As a whole, it is a win for all parties involved and one can see that strategic economic development and business are very much intertwined.
In the coming months we hope to explore more themes around job creation, youth development, skills development and the YES Initiative on this blog, so keep an eye out for these posts as we share with you what we have learned from our many years working in these spaces.