Using Lean To Decrease Youth Unemployment In South Africa And Beyond – Interview with Lean Startup

This is a podcast conversation between Maryana Iskander, CEO at Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, and Ann Mei Chang, Executive Director of Lean Impact at Lean Startup Co., focused on the pioneering work of Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator in South Africa and their efforts to tackle the global youth unemployment crisis.

In Maryana and Ann Mei’s conversation, they discuss:

  • How Harambee focused their efforts on solving problems for two customers – young people looking for a job and businesses needing to hire. 
  • How they used data to guide their problem solving efforts and what some of the key learnings were.
  • Their efforts to scale their work to Rwanda and what the key challenges have been.

And much, much more…

South Africa has a big problem on its hands. Even though they make up less than 1% of the world’s population, they have one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world. It’s a problem that’s compounded over time. Every year, nearly two-thirds of young people who enter the job market end up unemployed, resulting in a population of between six and nine million unemployed young people.

It’s a problem not easily solved. It’s not just a matter of not having enough jobs or a lack of the right type of education — although, those are big problems. But even at the most basic level, there are barriers to entry that are just now being recognized. Things like not having the resources to properly look for a job or enough money to afford transportation to an interview are factors that haven’t traditionally been considered in the past.

But when businesses began to recognize their difficulties in finding young people to fill open positions, they got together to try to find a solution. Their efforts led to the creation of Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator. Today, the award-winning non-profit uses data and innovation to bridge the gap between employers and unemployed young people as they work to solve the global youth unemployment crisis.

Listen to the podcast at: