In 2018, we focused our communications and marketing endeavours at further developing platforms for the broader JA South network to engage as a community. Our organisation also featured prominently at events that brought a broad range of stakeholders together to strategise on tackling youth unemployment. We have also continued to refine the website and have increased the content on our YouTube channel significantly.
Three highlight events – Company of the Year, sponsored by Citi; Junior Innovators Competition, funded and hosted by Investec, and the Transnet Young Movers Competition, in partnership with the SABS Design Institute – showcase the most impressive ideas and businesses to emerge from the JA South Africa programmes, garnering media attention and peaks of engagement on social media.
The finalists travel to Gauteng to participate in workshops to refine their understanding and deployment of financial, marketing and design thinking skills. They also have the opportunity to hone their presentation and practice pitching, in preparation for the presentation rounds, where the winners emerge. JA South Africa staff work tirelessly throughout these events to ensure the sessions and the presentation rounds run smoothly, as well as mentoring the students.
Being the hub of our communications, the website has undergone further refinements since we relaunched a more responsive site in 2017. We have been gathering the stories of our former learners in the alumni section and have developed sections on our home page to share opportunities and useful information. There is also a new history page that celebrates the many significant milestones of the past 40 years, recording the impact of the remarkable individuals that have served JASA and the pivotal role of our funder and partners, while tracing the evolution and success stories of our achievers.
As part of this anniversary year, with JA Worldwide turning 100 and JA South Africa turning 40, we call on you to send in your stories. We would love to know how you have shaped your entrepreneurial journeys since completing a JASA programme or how you have been involved in the organisation’s evolution. We welcome submissions in the form of voice notes or text, accompanied by photos where possible, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our newsletters are now digital and if you are not receiving them and you want to sign up then please get in touch. If you are on LinkedIn please connect with JASA and follow us for updates.
In the past 18 months we have added nearly 30 videos to the JA South Africa YouTube channel and the centerpiece is our new organisational film. There are also alumni stories, videos of some of our competition events and even tips. One favoured video of 2018 is the recording of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba’s speech at the African regional Company of the Year, where he spoke about his life under Apartheid and how difficult it was to pursue his entrepreneurial aspirations within very limiting circumstances. Inspiring indeed.
We honoured our JASA staff and facilitators on World Teachers Day and these video interviews proved to be very popular on social media and YouTube.
Through our partnership with Tribeca PR, JA South Africa gained extensive coverage in the media throughout the year. In April, the reach of our More than Money Programme in a Day, which was piloted in Global Money Week, was extended with the publishing of an article about teaching your child to be money savvy, in parenting and lifestyle media. Other thought leadership pieces included an article on Why business mentorship is crucial for entrepreneurs.
Several alumni were featured in various media, such as alumnus Annwen Jordan through Career Planet. There were also radio interviews on the topic of entrepreneurship as a viable option for school-leavers with JASA Youth Council members and JA South Africa staff.
Social media highlights
As part of documenting the competitions, we posted short video clips of staff, facilitators and student winners, which proved to be very popular. With Company of the Year, engagement on Facebook peaked with 1, 196 people reached. Other peak days on social media included October 4th, during the Transnet Young Movers and Junior Innovators Competition week, and October 16, where we posted a video interview we did with an urban farmer for World Food Day.
We also celebrated various highlights of the international and national calendar, such as Women’s Month and for Intellectual Property Day we interviewed Junior Innovators Competition judge and Intellectual Property lawyer Kirsten-Lee Dinnes on the importance of registering a patent. On Twitter, JASA Programmes Coordinator Bonga Khumalo is always active in sharing organisational activities.
For the HSBC-funded More than Money Savings Challenge that targeted over 7000 Grade 7 students, we had cardboard piggy banks, savings trackers and posters made.
Thank you to all the people who have signed up to become mentors. This programme is being piloted in the early month stages of 2019 and we will be in touch with you as mentorship opportunities arise in your respective areas.
JA South Africa MD Nelly Mofokeng represented the organisation at high-level forums on entrepreneurship in education and tackling youth unemployment. These included the 5th annual Accelerating Inclusive Youth Employment forum and the Foundation for the Advancement of Entrepreneurial & Technology Education conference.
We also made use of the opportunity to attend other networking events, such as the Edutech Conference, where we met potential partners that working the STEAM2D, technological Innovation and/ or digital education ecosystems.
Thank you for shaping the JA South Africa story with us and please continue to engage!