Everyone in business can contribute to youth development


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Richard Mukheibir Pix for CFPR and Cash Converters in August 2014 by Jeremy Glyn

Youth unemployment in South Africa is everybody’s problem, so we must make Youth Month a rallying point to tackle it afresh, says Cash Converters CEO Richard Mukheibir.

“It is quite simple – we must all look at ways to take on the challenge,” he says. “The only rational and useful response is, ‘Yes, we can!’”

In recent years, youth unemployment, upskilling and empowerment have been key issues discussed in the State of the Nation Address. President Cyril Ramaphosa also recently launched the Youth Employment Service. But, says Mukheibir, this is not only a task for government – everyone in business can contribute to youth development.

“From mentoring interns to job creation, we can all offer our expertise and resources to help enable young people to build careers and their own businesses,” he says. “We should all look for opportunities to assist where we can.”

Franchising, for instance, is a way for independently minded individuals with a flair for business to build their own SMME even though they have relatively limited resources. At Cash Converters, for example, new franchisees need to invest a minimum of R1.5 million and receive a turnkey store with three income streams and supported by best-in-class systems and professional advice.

“This is an ideal way to make a mid-career move into making that dream of being your own boss come true,” says Mukheibir. “In the process, you will also be creating jobs for young people who can develop their skills and assets to follow in your footsteps in due time.”

The Cash Converters franchise, founded in Southern Africa in 1994, now has more than 80 franchise stores. These have so far created more than 1 000 jobs, with nearly 60 percent of staff currently aged under 35.

“Each store employs an average of 12 staff, who support an estimated 60 people between them,” says Mukheibir. “These are franchisees contributing beyond their own families to the whole country’s economy and to social development and cohesion. Across the company, we also provide ongoing business training with more than 250 modules so far available on our innovative, in-house e-learning platform.”

One of his top pieces of advice to anybody wanting to develop their career is to choose a job or a business that offers a supportive environment. Interviews with the world’s top business people always recount their stories of how they got to the top because of advice and support offered by other experienced people around them, he notes.

“This is a concept that we know very well in South Africa – we call it Ubuntu,” says Mukheibir. “Our country’s youth needs and deserves a better future. We must be prompted by Ubuntu to reach out across the generations and give them that helping hand.”

Commitment to five core values – passion, professionalism, integrity, respect and collaboration – makes Cash Converters a brand with best business and best interpersonal practice at heart, Mukheibir believes.

“Anybody buying into a business should always take the time to assess such factors and not just the numbers and the bottom line of the deal,” he advises. “We all need hard work and energy to succeed but we also all need to share insights and discuss problems.”

About Cash Converters

Cash Converters Southern Africa was co-founded in 1994 when Richard Mukheibir (Chief Executive Officer) and Peter Forshaw (Chief Financial Officer) bought the licence to establish a master franchise of the Australian brand, the world leader in trading and marketing second-hand goods and now the world’s largest cash and asset converter. Cash Converters Southern Africa purchases merchandise from customers, enabling them to have instant access to cash.

Since 2007, it has also offered short term loans against a customer’s valuables or against their salary. Cash Converters Southern Africa is built on a solid foundation of franchisee owner operators, guided by core values of passion, professionalism, integrity, respect and collaboration. It has already empowered nearly 100 franchisees to run their own businesses and create their own wealth. Each franchise store, in turn, provides job opportunities for an average of 12 employees, each supporting about five other people. This network of businesses is supported by robust processes and systems and ongoing training programmes for franchisees and staff.

Dynamic growth of up to 20% per annum has created more than 84 Cash Converters stores in Southern Africa (as at 1 January 2018). These stores will have a combined annual turnover in excess of R1.7bn across all products and services in 2018.

They are part of the rapidly expanding Cash Converters International network of more than 740 stores around the world. These can be found in such diverse countries as Australia, the founding country, the United Kingdom, Singapore, New Zealand and the UAE, as well as France. Cash Converters Southern Africa was a finalist for the Franchise Association of South Africa Franchisor of the Year Awards in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

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