Standard Bank, as part of the #ItCanBe campaign, is motivating South Africa’s youth to consider their dreams, where they want to be and to push through their hustles, because “with the right level of support, we believe that no matter how big or small your dream is – it can be”.
This is according to Lindy-Lou Alexander, who explains that Standard Bank has incorporated various solutions into its offering that work to enable the youth of SA “to start their one day today”.
“We know that young people aren’t waiting for ‘one day when I’m big’ or ‘when I graduate’ or ‘when I get a job’. They’re doing things now – on their terms, in their own time, with what they have. And we want to help them achieve success,” comments Alexander.
Standard Bank partnered with carefully selected influencers to drive awareness around the campaign, and to “bring it to life in such a way that shows it is possible”. “We sought out authentic individuals, who demonstrate an enterprise spirit. Like so many others, they started small but evolved over the years by staying committed to pushing through the hustle,” Alexander explains.
Standard Bank went to market in June with the “It Can Be” campaign, and part of the roll-out involves helping students and entrepreneurs to progress and drive their dreams. “They [young entrepreneurs] will ultimately drive the growth of our continent and in recognition of this, we are offering our support to enable youth to achieve their dreams.”
Alexander explains that the campaign aims to encourage SA’s youth to engage Standard Bank around their dreams, and what they wish to achieve. “As a bank and financier, we are asking the question: what can we do for you that will enable you to bring your dream to life?”
High barriers to entry into formal employment, new opportunities that now exist and the desire to be one’s own boss have encouraged young South Africans to start their own ventures. The term “side hustle” has become synonymous with today’s youth, who are starting businesses from a young age to combat the effects of a challenging economy.
“With high levels of youth unemployment, we must place emphasis on entrepreneurship as an alternative avenue to job creation and economic growth,” says Alexander. “A ‘side hustle’ could be turned into a ‘main hustle’ – a viable business that stimulates the job market.”
Standard Bank is supporting the youth of South Africa in various ways, including helping young entrepreneurs who are finding it difficult to progress during these difficult times. “And we understand that. But we also know that development of early-stage entrepreneurs is fundamental to boosting growth on the continent.”
This is one of the reasons that motivated Standard Bank to waive the fees on its SimplyBlu e-commerce offering until December 2020 to lower the barriers to entry into online trade for young entrepreneurs.
Standard Bank launched the SimplyBlu e-commerce solution in 2019 to make it easier for businesses on the continent to operate outside of typical business hours, and inside the new norm of operating digitally. This offering allows entrepreneurs to set up an online store quickly and easily and accept payments through a secure mechanism.
Access to education is another issue that is facing SA’s youth in the current environment. The Covid-19 pandemic has placed significant financial strain on household budgets, and this may prevent many from continuing with their studies. Further to that, the shift to online learning is excluding those without the means to purchase necessary study equipment.
““In response and to keep youth on their path to employment, we became the first bank to provide three-month payment relief of 0% interest on personal loans.”
Standard Bank also enhanced the Student Loan proposition to cover study equipment such as a laptop, which is typical excluded from this type of customer proposition, in addition to textbooks and fees.
“We understand the pressures that young people in South Africans are facing at this time,” says Alexander.
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