Factors that influence entrepreneurial intentions of rural youth: a case of Narysec Free State.
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Poverty alleviation in South Africa has been placed high on the government agenda in the past decades. According to Statistics South Africa (Stats SA, 2017), the unemployment rate in the country has risen rapidly in the past few decades, increasing from 7per cent in 1980, to 18per cent in 1991 and 27.5per cent in 2019. The government has a political and moral obligation to alleviate the burden of poverty, create jobs and ensure that it stimulates economic growth and development through the creation of a conducive environment which will enable the small businesses to survive and thrive. The purpose of the study was to identify factors affecting the entrepreneurial intention of the National Rural Youth Service Corp students. The study draws heavily from entrepreneurial intention models and focuses on the relationship between key variables, namely, exposure to entrepreneurial education and social capital. The institutions of higher learning play a crucial role in stimulating entrepreneurial intentions of students, hence the university students are perceived to be more effective in their role of developing entrepreneurial intentions leading to the emergence of new ventures and to the growth of small, medium and macro enterprises. Entrepreneurial education has an important role to play in enhancing entrepreneurial self-efficacy and the influence of social capital on entrepreneurship intentions. A survey was conducted amongst the NARYSEC students. The respondents of the study comprised of 103 students who were identified by means of simple random technique. The total numbers of 103 questionnaires were completed by the NARYSEC students at Thaba Nchu College in the Free-State and the response rate was 84.3per cent. The data was quantitatively analysed with the use of SPSS computer software. The results show that the majority of students have strong intentions to become entrepreneurs in the near future. Students had positive attitudes towards entrepreneurship as they would prefer to be entrepreneurs rather than to be employed and some of them indicated that they are already in a process of starting their own businesses. Most students admitted that their families are everything to them and whatever they do is aimed at pleasing them however they do not choose a career based on their family’s advice. To overcome the challenges, this study recommended the review of curriculum to determine success, failures and gaps as well as stimulating entrepreneurship intentions by allowing students to discuss and implement their own business ideas in class as a research project. The study concluded by recommending that the government should expose every South African learner to entrepreneurship from primary level so that they can grow up thinking and reasoning about entrepreneurship which will propel them to put their ideas into action.