Phela Plaatjies, Entrepreneur and JA South Africa Alumnus 2009
It still overwhelms me when I think of how many doors a programme like JASA opened for me.
“In 2009 I participated in the Enterprise Programme, funded by Graftech, when I was a Grade 11 learner at General Smuts High School. The programme sessions were held at Graftech’s offices in Meyerton. Our company’s name was Chain-It! and we sold key chains in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes. As the financial accountant for Chain-It! I was responsible for the money side of our business, from costing to profit and loss to balancing our balance sheet.
“The programme was a lot of fun but we also worked hard to ensure the success of our mini-company. I remember when our company broke even in the 4th week of business (which was a record at the time) we were ecstatic. We made a tidy profit by the end of the programme!
“The programme taught me that the possibilities are endless if you’re willing to take the necessary risks. We were selling products for four times their cost price, which in itself was a huge step for us, considering that we all came onto the programme with little to no entrepreneurial experience, but we never questioned what we wanted to achieve.
“The success of our business also landed myself and my financial manager (Yolandi Le Roux) a trip to attend a Sustainable Development Programme in Bulgaria in 2010, a once in a lifetime trip that I will never forget! I later on went to receive a John Craig award for Entrepreneurial Spirit at our school’s prize giving.
“It still overwhelms me when I think of how many doors a programme like JASA opened for me. I just had to ensure I wasn’t afraid to dive into opportunities the opportunities I was given.
“These days, I’m a very busy 21 year old entrepreneur. I am currently in my final year of studying towards my B.Com Entrepreneurship and Business Management degree, at North West University in the Vaal Triangle. (I’m planning on doing my Honours next year). I’m also in the process of starting up my own mobile beauty salon AND I’m a part-time model at Models Unlimited, doing both photographic and ramp work. I’m also an MC and do MC modelling and talent events around the Vaal.”