Funded by Mastercard, the 20-week JA South Africa Youth Enterprise Development Programme targeted 210 women in three provinces. The graduation ceremony for Gauteng was held in Johannesburg on 5 July, where more than 160 out-of-school, unemployed or self-employed young women between the ages of 18 and 35 graduated from the programme. The Limpopo graduation was on 11 August, followed by the Western Cape on August 22.
Graduates from the programme receive a NQF level 4 Services Seta Accredited Youth Enterprise Development Certificate and the Intel Learn Easy Steps Digital Literacy Certificate, and an opportunity to participate in a six-month mentorship programme, which will provide them with additional business support while they start formal enterprises.
“Entrepreneurs characteristically have ambition, determination and a flair for original ideas. However, many lack the business expertise required to develop these into commercially-viable ventures,” says Nelly Mofokeng, managing director at JA South Africa. “A key focus of our programme is to help equip young women with the skills to launch and grow their own businesses, and instill the discipline of earning a living, saving, spending and investing.”
This initiative empowers women to pursue entrepreneurial ventures of their own and over the 20-week programme, the women participated in theoretical and practical sessions focused on business theory, market research, financial and business management, sales and marketing, computer literacy and business funding. They also gained practical interpersonal skills and business experience by starting up and managing their own businesses.
Lydia Makgoba, a 29-year-old who attended the programme in Diepsloot, says: “I see myself owning a baby clothing manufacturing company with shops selling my brand locally and internationally so this programme is exactly what I needed. It helps young South African women like me who would like to be entrepreneurs by providing us with important skills such as financial literacy that we need to succeed.”
Annwen Jordan co-founded Joe4Real Productions with Jonah Zacheus. They assist musicians and composers with music administration, publishing, production and distribution. She comments: “Some people hire accountants and other people to handle various aspects but it is beneficial for an entrepreneur to know these processes so that you don’t get exploited.”
Through the 20-week programme, she was implementing what she was learning. After the session on market surveys she drew one up and sent it to musicians signed to Joe4Real. “I got great feedback from the surveys, which helped us improve our business.” She also found learning about business plans, finance and accessing funding useful.
Anolia Lusunzi started Anolia’s Beauty Salon in 2015 and has begun empowering members of her community by training them. This enterprise development programme has assisted her to run her business more effectively, especially when it comes to managing her finances and cash flow. She also gained a better understanding of how to craft a business plan for future growth. Lusunzi’s vision is to gain the funding and assistance required to open branches across the whole of Gauteng and Limpopo and to have her course accredited. She is excited about how the mentorship aspect of the programme will assist her to make her dream a reality.
Our guest speaker at the Gauteng graduation, Zaza Motha, is a JA South Africa alumni and founder of POUT, an inspirational and aspirational media platform for stories, opportunities and information that equips young women in going after their dreams and being the best they can be.
According to the 2017 Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs, women account for only 19.1 percent of business owners in South Africa, and have a low rate of entrepreneurial activity, with only seven percent of working age women in the labour force engaged in early-stage entrepreneurial activities compared to 11.6 percent for men.
Thuli Khubeka of Green Leaf Cooperation was one of four graduates who gave presentations on how they have utilised the knowledge gained in their start-ups.
“South Africa’s resourceful women are one of its biggest assets, yet it is evident that South African women’s full potential and value as entrepreneurs and business owners are yet to be unleashed,” says Mark Elliott, division president, Mastercard Southern Africa. “The JA South Africa Programme is just one of the partnerships we have established to dismantle the structural obstacles and biases that impede female entrepreneurship so that women can play an enlarged role in South Africa’s economic growth story.”