Chanel Srininvasan, Owner, Cre8tive Couture Beauty Salon & Spa

Chanel Srininvasan, Owner, Cre8tive Couture Beauty Salon & Spa and JA South Africa Alumnus 2008

“I remember eagerly registering for the JASA programme, as a Grade 10 learner at Kingsway High School. Three years ago I started  ‘Cre8tive Couture’, an exciting new concept in the contemporary nail and beauty market. With a constantly growing team of around 150 sales representatives nationally, we pride ourselves on  running professional training programmes and workshops to upskill and ultimately create jobs for up-and-coming stylists.

“JASA gave me the confidence to start my own business and taught me the most crucial lesson I have learnt to date; that a well-planned marketing strategy is the core to success. Utilising social media and viral advertising, I have managed to create brand awareness and develop a reputable name for my business.

“I read in Forbes Magazine that before dreaming about the future or making plans you need to articulate what you already have going for you. As I complete my Business Law degree I know that it was my JASA experience that gave me the confidence I needed to do so.

“Investing in JASA is investing in the future, as young minds are given invaluable entrepreneurial skills to help them find their way as they mature from learner to a productive South African adult.”


Read More...

Katleho Madikeng, Chairperson, Sisonke Entertainment

Katleho Madikeng, Chairperson, Sisonke Entertainment and JA South Africa Alumnus 2011

“The JA Entrepreneurship Academy Programme that I participated in last year has already made such a difference in my life. I was chosen from there to take part in the Enke Leadership Forum, where we were asked to begin a community project to alleviate some of the problems we saw around us.

“Substance abuse and crime are destroying the youth in my community, so I decided to start Sisonke Entertainment. We engage young people between the ages of nine and fifteen in free extra lessons and community activities like board games and soccer.

“Every Saturday about 40 young people come together at my school, Kgola-Thuto Secondary School, in Qwa-Qwa. It’s a neutral space so people feel comfortable enough to discuss their problems with their peers and we’ve been able to refer those that need help to Beacon Of Hope for counselling.

“I believe that we have the power to change our communities, by taking responsibility for our education and our learning. Being given the opportunity to take on leadership roles, like I was able to through my Junior Achievement experience, encourages people to explore creative options and find solutions.

“I am very honoured to have been chosen as one of the Mail and Guardian’s 200 Young People To Watch.  I’ve also attended the African Leadership Academy Winter Camp and appeared on an Etv documentary about Sisonke Entertainment. From here I want to do well in school so that I can study nuclear medicine at the University of Pretoria.

“When I go into business I will be amongst the business people known for operating with integrity, carrying my Junior Achievement experience with me throughout my life.”


Read More...

Zandi Nkabinde, Consultant, Facilitator & Assessor

Zandi Nkabinde, Consultant, Facilitator & Assessor and JA South Africa Alumnus 1986

“When I entered the Junior Achievement programme I thought that the only path available to me was social work but the programme unlocked the entrepreneurial spark in me. It uncovered my passion for accounting and provided the grounding I knew I would one day need if I was to start and run my own company.

“Being allowed to make mistakes within the  mini-company was a great way to really understand business without having to face the costly ramifications of real-world commerce.  I believe in this programme so much that I have now returned to it as a Facilitator and comparing the material for the Mini Enterprise Programme to materials I use when training in companies, I am blown away by how relevant and concise it is. I could almost use it to train in corporates!

Grab this opportunity with both hands.

“I entered the programme and was determined to prove to everyone that I could make it. I now hold an accounting qualification and run my own consulting business, so I guess that I have proven my point!  My message to anyone involved with Junior Achievement is to grab this opportunity with both hands!”


Read More...

Masanda Magaqa, Sole Director, MasMag

Masanda Magaqa, Sole Director, MasMag and JA South Africa Alumnus 2007

In business it’s never smooth sailing but hard work pays off.

“I come from a family of business people but I had to find a way to kick-start my own path into business. I participated in a Junior Achievement programme in 2007 where I filled the role of Financial Manager on a project to sell lip balm to our teenage peers. This was the stepping-stone that sparked my interest in the business world.

“The programme exposed me to what has to be considered when setting up a business and the trials and tribulations to get your product to market. When we started we faced many problems including failed products and mistakes in ordering packaging, which required immediate action.

“It is through this programme that I experienced the difficulty of having to come up with an original and creative business idea, formulating a business plan and how to effectively deal with group dynamics. I have recently registered my own company and believe that the knowledge I gained from Junior Achievement and my studies thus far will see me make a great success of it.

“I include my JASA certificate in my CV as Junior Achievement is an internationally recognised programme that is renowned for building young entrepreneurs that are ideally positioned to make an indelible mark in the business world.  I am proud to count myself among its alumni.”


Read More...

Gift Mahenya, Owner, GM Events and JA South Africa Alumnus 2003

Gift Mahenya, Owner, GM Events and JA South Africa Alumnus 2003

I came to realise, through the mentorship I received during the programme, that all of us can achieve and be counted as contributing members of our community.

“I completed the Enterprise Programme when I was in Grade 12 in 2003. What I learned changed my mindset so that when I entered the workplace I was able to identify an opportunity when I saw it.

“I went to work as a Sales Manager at an event hire company. The company often received enquiries for an event organiser so I started thinking about meeting their need. I started an event organising company and negotiated with the hiring company to ensure that I could remain their Sales Manager and run my business at the same time. My company fills any requests for events, for amongst others, year-end functions, kid’s parties, weddings and 21st birthday parties.

“Junior Achievement set me on my path to success by showing me that if you never give up you will reap the rewards at the end.”


Read More...

Keagile Maite Makgoba, Co-owner, Playtime Parties and JA South Africa Alumnus 2008

Keagile Maite Makgoba, Co-owner, Playtime Parties and JA South Africa Alumnus 2008

“I took part in the Enterprise Programme in 2008 and it really opened my eyes to what I was capable of achieving. Our company elected to sell  party packs  at our schools. There was more than one group selling the packs so we got an insight into the real world of business, where you may have a similar product to your competitors but have to devise a way to position yours differently.

“I was inspired by my JA experience and starting selling sweets and chocolates at school for extra money and it was from there that the idea to open Playtime Parties was born. I am currently studying towards my BA Corporate Communications degree but I learned all my business skills through the JASA programme.  We learned  important business fundamentals such as  how to work with people and the steps for growing your ideas into reality.  

I learnt all my business skills through the JASA programme.

“Being a student and having a business is a challenge but it is one that I will overcome as my future depends on it. The programme material I received on the Mini Enterprise Programme is always with me as it guides me in the right direction and to this day I am grateful for my JASA experience.”


Read More...

Takura Mutemasango, MD, Chimurenga African Designs

Takura Mutemasango, MD, Chimurenga African Designs and JA South Africa Alumnus 2005

Now is the time to learn more about entrepreneurship, start businesses and employ each other.

“We, the youth of South Africa, are facing hard times. With the country experiencing economic challenges, finding employment is tough. In my opinion the solution is to work towards an economically active youth society by learning more about entrepreneurship, starting businesses and employing each other.

“I discovered my passion for entrepreneurship by completing Enterprise Programme at Junior Achievement South Africa. This is where I acquired the basic skills and know-how of running a successful business.

“It also awakened my drive to develop and promote youth enterprises. I took that discovery and started my own handbag designing company.  I also serve as the Operations Officer of a youth development agency called Youth Ina City, where we believe that it is paramount that young people become custodians of their own development. The youth programmes we run are structured to motivate, educate and prepare youth who come to Johannesburg in search of education, jobs and skills and create opportunities for them in business.

“Junior Achievement is an invaluable starting point for young entrepreneurs who will be able to draw on the business and life skills they learn in the programme throughout their journey as active, contributing members of South African society.”


Read More...

Applications for virtual out-of-school JA Africa Regional Company of the Year are open

Calling Youth Enterprise Development 2017 and 2018 Alumni to apply for online JA Africa Regional Company of the Year competition

  • Are you a JASA Youth Enterprise Development Programme graduate of 2017 or 2018?

  • Have you started a company that provides a product or service or are you developing your business idea?

  • Can you submit your business plan to info@jasa.co.za by Wednesday October 3?

If you have answered yes to these three questions, you are eligible to enter the South African qualifying round for the online JA Africa Regional Company of the Year.

To enter you need to send us your answers to the questions below and attach a copy of your business plan, in an email to info@jasa.co.za by no later than Sunday September 30, 2018. You could be chosen as one of two South African nominations that will be eligible to enter the online regional competition.

Send us your answers to these questions via email to info@jasa.co.za, with your business plan attached.

  1. What is your name?
  2. What is your cellphone number?
  3. Where did you attend the Junior Achievement out-of-school Youth Enterprise Development Programme?
  4. Did you do the programme in 2017 or this year, 2018?
  5. What is your product or service?
  6. Are you currently selling your product or service?
  7. How long has your company been running for? If you are still in the development phase, please describe your current activity to get your company up and running and give us an estimate of when you intend to start marketing and selling your product.

Tips on how to create a good business plan

Start with an Executive Summary that includes:

  • Company name
  • Mission statement/Purpose
  • Company values
  • Description of product/service
  • Market and sales
  • Business strategy
  • Company team composition
  • Summary of financials, including budgets, sales history/income, cash flow, breakeven analysis and projections

Expand on these aspects in the body of the business plan

  • Highlight any innovative aspects about the company/product/service, and include photos.
  • Describe how innovative thinking impacted the overall business performance.
  • Address how the company’s product, service or specific business strategy has incorporated tech innovation, which could include device modification, digital game design, digital graphic design, digital marketing, internet applications, multimedia applications, mobile apps, or computer coding/programming, to name a few.

We will notify the two successful South African nominations for the regional round, by October 4. Before entering the qualifying round, please note: 

The two successful shortlisted companies will need to submit an online application for the regional competition by Monday, October 15. These two teams will need to prepare the following four items between October 4 and October 15:

  1. Complete three Facebook Blueprint Courses, from beginner to intermediate, about digital marketing. Companies will have to upload the certificate of completion for each course to the registration site to prove completion.

Notes: The courses can only be accessed by those who have a personal Facebook account. JA Africa will provide $20 worth of data credits to each team to complete the online courses. JA Africa will liaise with each Member Nation to confirm how this will be credited. You will receive a certificate of completion for each course – ensure you save a copy of each certificate since you will need to upload them to the registration portal.

  1. Create a Company Facebook page, based on their learning from the Blueprint courses. Judging Criteria: Judges will evaluate how effective the page is in providing information to and drawing customers.
  2. Submit a business plan for review and scoring by the judging panel.

Notes: The Business Plan provides a summary of the company’s business goals, reasons they are attainable and plans for reaching them, market information, background information about the organization and/or team attempting to reach those goals, budget and financials.

  1. Create a video advertisement, three minutes in length.

PRIZES

  • The Out of School Africa Regional Company of the Year will receive a cash prize of US$1500.
  • The runner up will receive a cash prize of $1000.
  • The company with the Best Digital Media Marketing will receive a cash prize of $500 and Facebook Ad credits to help grow their business among their target market.

The pages of the three companies will also be promoted via JA Africa’s Facebook page, which has a following of over 300,000 people. Members of all competing teams will receive certificates of achievement.

Please note: The JASA Company of the Year school team will compete in Ghana at the competition in December but for the out-of-school component the competition is digital and the shortlisted nominations from all the regional countries will be judged based on their online submissions.


Read More...

From 1979 to 2019: Four decades of empowering youth

From 1979 to 2019: Four decades of empowering youth

Junior Achievement South Africa (JASA) was established in 1979 as a nationwide, autonomous, non-profit organisation, supported by Junior Achievement Worldwide (JA), which was established in the United States in 1919. Thus, 2019 marks our local 40th anniversary and global 100th anniversary.

Early days

JASA’s story began at the end of the 1970s, when Wits Business School was given the mandate to make some of the school’s resources available to the wider community. So, with funding from South African Breweries, Professor Jake Jacobs established the Centre for Developing Business (CDB) and a highly entrepreneurial innovator, Dr Stephen Black, was appointed as the first director.

 Aiming to make a positive contribution to economic and social transformation in South Africa, the help and guidance of business advisors was sought and young people from both the townships and white-only areas were brought together to gain business and entrepreneurial skills through practical, experiential programmes.  Through some very turbulent times in the history of the country, JASA has never ceased to offer young people alternatives to formal employment.

From its inception, “participants on the programmes represented every racial group in the country and for most this was their first-ever interaction with people from other races,” explains founding JASA Board member, Ian Clark. Here is an excerpt from his account of the early years:

In spite of a rather scary visit from the Security Police in the early 1980s, during which we were informed that they knew what we were up to but had decided to turn a blind eye, for now, the programmes were extremely successful. … In the mid 1980s, JASA was established as a separate Section 21 organisation. A very talented colleague, Eric Louw, and I were able to negotiate significant funding from USAID. With Steve as the Director, Norman Adami joined JASA as a founding member of the first Board of Directors and played an invaluable leadership role in giving direction and inspiration.

The real heroes in the early days were the business advisors – business managers who gave of their time and wisdom to support the achievers. They would go back to their offices after seven in the evening when the programme ended, to finish their work. The most dedicated and effective advisor was Barry Cook, who advised on every Johannesburg programme for many years. A very fine chemist and manufacturer, he increased the product range made by the youngsters – and significantly improved the quality of their products.

Chris Ball of First National Bank saw the finance potential of the advisor role as a highly effective management development tool and it became an integral part of the fast tracking of managers in the banking group. This managerial development aspect was widely promoted to other businesses and enabled a massive increase in activity and enhancement in the effectiveness of the advisor process. One of the most admirable qualities of JASA is its resilience.

Since its inception it has operated through very turbulent times that never affected its programme delivery. I recall a Cape Town awards evening in the mid-1980s where a young lady indicated that the JASA programme was the only education she had received that year (the schools had stayed closed) and that it had given her courage and hope. The sound financial management of JASA has contributed to its success. The twin philosophies of “get the money before you spend it” and “look after it well when you have it” was adopted by Steve and continued so very admirably by Abdul Rajah. Linda McClure was appointed as the Managing Director in challenging times and successfully consolidated the success of the organisation and, with the support of a very dedicated Board and staff, re-established JASA as an NGO of reputation, success and impact. The potential of JASA to transform the lives of young people is needed as much now as it ever was.

Over time, the number of programmes increased and the footprint expanded to a national reach, with the organisation being registered as a Section 21 Company. Since then JASA has continued to successfully deliver business and entrepreneurial programmes to learners in and out of school, across the country.

Milestones and highlights

The early years: 1979 to 1996

1979/1980  – JASA is founded and the first programmes are established. By the mid-1980s JASA becomes a separate entity from the Wits Business School’s Centre for Developing Business.

1993 – USAID funds facilitate the development and piloting of the first in-school programme: the Enterprise Dynamics Programme. A new format is introduced for administering the Mini Enterprise Programme (MEP), now known as the Enterprise Programme, which involves contracted co-ordinators supported by the national office. Despite problems of violence and poor school attendance in the black residential areas, programme attendance averages 91% nationwide.

By this year, JASA had delivered 1 000 MEPs and 30 000 students had benefited from attending JASA programmes.

The Centre for Opportunity Development, later known as Business Establishment and Sustainability – BESP, is established to offer a similar programme to disadvantaged, unemployed, out-of-work youth and receives a glowing report from Pro-Civitas Education consultants, who call it a, “pedagogic model which could well have a significant contribution to make, not only to youth development, but to education in the wider extent.” The BESP programme trains 6 500 youth and unemployed people in economic literacy and how to research their markets in order to establish a small business.

1995 –  BESP opens a new branch in Polokwane, with 70 teachers trained to deliver programmes to 4 350 learners, reaching a peak of 1 752 learners. South African achievers receive the highest percentage (95.4%) of pass marks in the Cambridge University enterprise examination of any country outside the United Kingdom.

Clem Sunter, author and then executive director of Anglo American Corporation, addresses the 1995 awards ceremony and says that JASA programmes go to the very heart of the South African situation. The GLOBE programme, introduced that year, initiates a group of high school pupils into the mysteries of foreign trade, exchange rates and the cultural problems inherent in the import-export business.

1996 – Excellent results are once again achieved by the record number of 245 South African candidates writing the 1996 Cambridge University examination.

A 95% pass rate is attained, with 9% of the candidates receiving distinctions.

The BESP programme is restructured at all branches, making it significantly more cost effective, attractive to donors and relevant to its target market.

JASA is publicly acknowledged by Britain’s Overseas Development Administration (ODA) as the funded project that brings the best return on investment. Dr Stephen Black retires and Abdul Rajah, Finance Director, takes on this portfolio temporarily. The JA Today journal is launched to raise public awareness of JASA.

Late 1990s – 2009

 2000 –  JASA textbooks and educator guides receive approval by most provincial education departments for use in Grades 4 and 8, in partnership with Vivlia Publishers. The MEP, a programme traditionally attended by Grade 11 learners, is offered to a group of unemployed graduates in collaboration with Absolute and Keyboards, and the impact is astounding. JASA achievers also make an impression when addressing the Global Summit for Women, held in Sandton.

The KwaZulu-Natal branch receives the Durban Mayor’s Award for Excellence. JASA secures funding for the national database from the Department for International Development (DFID) in the UK. JASA hosts visitors from Namibia and USAID who are interested in setting up similar initiatives in their countries. Ernest Mchunu, a retired executive, joins JASA as MD and Chairman. Zanele Twala, one of our managers, attends a workshop on institution building in Washington, under the auspices of The Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA). A special training programme for unemployed graduates takes place in Observatory from October to December. More than 30% of the graduates participating in the programme are placed in permanent jobs. The initiative incorporates one of our business programmes, the MEP.

2001 –  Zanele Twala is promoted to the position of Managing Director. A function is held for 100 past achievers to form a JASA Alumni Association. Alumnus Nonhlanhla Masina, from Jeppe Girls High School, attends the Marion Group Global State Institution in Chicago. Khetha Mbatha from Hill High School and JASA Board member Phumi Siphayi attend the Global Summit for Women in Hong Kong.

JASA headquarters relocate from Parktown to The Business Place, 58 Marshall Street, Johannesburg. Zanele Twala attends international conferences: Junior Achievement Global Leadership Conference in Milwaukee and the Springfield Centre for Business Development in Glasgow. JA Africa Region is formed in Nairobi and Ernest Mchunu attends the meeting. The Banks In Action Programme development is completed, ready for pilot in 2002.

2002 – Thembi Khoza joins the Youth Development Network (YDN) delegation visiting Brazil to observe youth projects and observe what a country similar to South Africa is doing to address youth unemployment. The Youth Unemployment Summit in Egypt, which had 65 countries participating, provides a perfect opportunity for our MD Zanele Twala to share information with delegates from other developing countries.

Cyril Ramaphosa attends a breakfast session where JASA showcases a number of young entrepreneurs. Ten staff members attend a YDN conference on programme implementation. Vumile Msweli, a KwaZulu-Natal achiever, represents JASA at the Marmon Global Trade Institute Conference in Chicago, USA.

2003 – The Job Shadow and Banks In Action programmes are launched. Thembi Khoza and Abdul Rajah attend a three-week sustainable development programme in Glasgow.

2004 – Zanele Twala leaves JASA to fill one of the highest positions in the non-governmental sector in South Africa, becoming MD of the South African National NGO Coalition (SANGOCO). The MEP performs extremely well, surpassing targets set at the beginning of 2004. Significant progress is made towards aligning the organisation with the requirements for accreditation by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).

JASA receives the Jet Club Community Award in 2003 and in 2004. A large-scale change occurs for JA International when it merges its operations with the head office of Junior Achievement Inc. in the US. The process involves some internal restructuring and results in a name change to Junior Achievement Worldwide.

2005 – A new strategy for JASA is developed and implemented and programmes identified as non-core are phased out. Based on the vision and mission statement, the major aims of the organisation are redefined. JASA provides a range of educational and business support services to a total of 6 038 young people. Dr Stephen Black, the founder of JASA, passes away in November. A Quality Management System (QMS) is introduced throughout the organisation.

2006 – JASA welcomes Linda McClure as the newly appointed Managing Director. Linda was the founding director of the Gordon Institute of Business Science, and her role was that of Director: Operations, Finance and Human Resources. Wendy Luhabe is announced as our patron at a function commemorating Youth Day on June 16. The Alumni Association is revived at a function in October to provide a network for JASA graduates who wish to continue their association with the organisation. JASA is awarded provisional accreditation with the Services SETA. A JASA Youth Council, on which selected MEP graduates sit, is established to ensure youth involvement in programme development.

Finance Director Abdul Rajah receives the Frances Hesselbein How to Be Award in July 2006, during the JA Worldwide Leadership Conference in San Diego, California. JA Africa regional directors meet for the first time, in Johannesburg, with future meetings planned bi-annually, to share best practice in programme delivery and organisational management.

2007 – As a result of the assistance and support of our patron Wendy Luhabe and the board, 15 new companies join the list of funders.

JASA successes include an increase in student numbers of over 60% from the previous year and an increase in the reach of our programmes.

The MEP receives the official endorsement of the Gauteng Department of Education. A total of 147 programmes are delivered during the year and for the first time are delivered in all nine provinces in both rural and urban areas.

 The MEP is piloted in a juvenile detention centre and a school for the physically challenged in Kimberley. The JASA Success Skills Programme, which was piloted in the previous year as a life skills programme, is successfully delivered in both Mpumalanga and Gauteng. Three Career Days, supported by the Bankseta, are hosted in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo. Linda McClure attends the International Young Entrepreneurs Forum in Cordoba, Argentina. Hosted by JA Cordoba, this forum involved over 600 students from mainly Latin American countries. It provides a model for a similar forum to be hosted by JASA in the future. Linda McClure attends the JA Worldwide Leadership Conference in Washington DC in August. The conference hosts JA members from around the world and provides an opportunity to interact and learn from JA operations in other countries.

A past achiever, Amukelani Shilubane, represents South Africa at the Road to Davos 2008 Summit, supported by the British Council, providing young people with the opportunity to present world issues to leaders of the G8. They initially meet in Greenwich UK as a preliminary to the actual G8 summit in Davos, Switzerland.

2008Our programme reach increases by 72% over that of 2007, bringing the increase in learner reach for the past two years to over 140%.

Three new programmes are successfully piloted and implemented – More Than Money and JA Titan in Gauteng and It’s My Business in Mpumalanga. In addition, the Travel and Tourism Programme is developed and delivered to birding guides, in partnership with Birdlife South Africa. The JASA Youth Council successfully hosts a debating tournament over two weekends. JASA successfully hosts the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) together with Endeavor and the Wits Business School’s Centre for Entrepreneurship. The GEW was hosted in the United Kingdom for the previous five years and was launched globally in 2008. In December 2008 JASA relocates to new offices in Kuyasa House near Ghandi Square in the Johannesburg CBD.

The information that relates to JASA’s history until 2009 was excerpted from the 30th anniversary commemorative book, which can be accessed here.

2010 – 2018

In progress… coming soon

 

“…the work of JASA has been a blessing for South Africa, to champion an institutional and systematic shift towards entrepreneurship in order to create the capacity necessary to both absorb those who cannot be accommodated in traditional employment and at the same time making a valuable contribution towards South Africa’s competitiveness.” – Wendy Luhabe, Patron, JA South Africa

“Although entrepreneurship is meant to form part of the secondary school curriculum, it is taught neither widely nor effectively enough – a situation which must be addressed as entrepreneurial education and training is one factor that has been shown to have a significant impact on entrepreneurial attitudes and aspirations. This can be addressed by improving the training in business skills offered at school level…” – Tracking Entrepreneurship in South Africa: A GEM Perspective (Herrington,M; Kew,J; Kew,P)

 


Read More...

UPS funded Be Entrepreneurial programme reaches 280 high school learners

UPS funded Be Entrepreneurial programme reaches 280 high school learners

Due to generous funding by UPS, several high schools – including Immaculata Secondary In Diepkloof, Soweto, Ponelopele Oracle Secondary in Ivory Park, Fundulwazi Secondary in Sebokeng and Relebogile Secondary in Carltonville – were earmarked for the JA Be Entrepreneurial Programme, which will reach 280 students in total. Some programmes have been completed and some are underway.

Shorter than the flagship JA Enterprise Programme, the 12-hour Be Entrepreneurial is a highly effective introduction to the world of entrepreneurship. The immersive learning experience provides interactive exercises that teach the learners:

  • The features of an entrepreneur
  • The production development process and how to come up with a product
  • How to analyse the customers’ needs and get to know the target market
  • How to draw up a business plan.

Students learn the basics of everything they need to start their own business, from costing and finance to advertising, and competitive advantages to marketing and they are challenged to start their own businesses whilst still at high school.

At Relebogile Secondary, learners engaged in lively debate as to whether being an entrepreneur means that you are a risk taker. Exploring product development lead to a challenge where students come up with products, based on exploring problems in their community that could be solved with a product or service. These kind of exercises not only got students working in teams but they also had to go out into their communities to see what issues existed.

In the session on advertising and marketing the students present adverts to the group and receive feedback from the facilitator. When it came to the aspect of competitive advantage, the group were given various scenarios to analyse and then discuss. Splitting up into smaller teams to do the exercise and the sharing with the larger group facilitates the learning process and enhances the insights that the students gain.

Through expressing themselves and their ideas, learners gain self confidence, which is an important trait in entrepreneurs. Queen Moeketsi, the facilitator at Relebogile, commented:

“The students have learnt that when considering a business you must get to know your customers. As you go out to service them, you must know your product and be confident about it, which is why it is important to develop a competitive advantage.”

Towards the end of the programme, the learners got to play a game that helps them revise what they have learnt in the course. While playing, one student told Moeketsi that he had learnt there is a difference between competitive advantage and chasing profit only, a lesson that he is applying to his current situation, since he runs a catering company for fellow learners.

Moeketsi was impressed at how students took the initiative to shape their business plans without her having to prompt them. Despite the challenges of having to do the programme in addition to their other school work, the students were committed. Even when a session had to be postponed due to exams, the students’ dedication was unflagging. In light of the news that are economy is in recession, equipping youth to shape entrepreneurial pathways becomes ever more important.

    


Read More...