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    Africa Region Company of the Year successfully hosted by South Africa

    JA South Africa hosts 7th regional JA Africa Company of the Year Competition

    Junior Achievement South Africa proudly hosted the 2017 Africa Regional Company of the Year awards, which took place at Gold Reef City in Johannesburg from 6 to 8 December.

    This year, 42 students aged between 14 and 20, from Botswana, Gabon, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe and our local entrant competed for sought-after titles by pitching and presenting their business products or services to a panel of judges composed of business professionals and influencers from across South Africa.

    The week culminated in a gala dinner with Recycling Industry, a company that recycles plastic bottles by converting them into ottomans from Lycée Paul Emane Eyeghe in Gabon winning the coveted title.

    Digera, a company made up from students from St. Georges Girls Secondary in Kenya, came second with their cashless payment system for school students.

    The manufacturing of decorative wall clocks, made from both recycled and purchased raw material, earned the Artistic Scorpions, from Mjingo High School in Swaziland, third place.

    Winning team Recycling Industry from Gabon

    Second place went to JA Kenya, Digera

    Neighbouring Swaziland took third place

    We were honoured to have special guests at the gala dinner, which included guest speaker City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba, Councillor Leah Knott, MMC for Johannesburg’s Department of Economic Development, and keynote speaker Lebogang Chaka, CEO of Afro Visionary Legacy, as well as representatives from donor organisations – some of whom travelled from as far away as the US and Middle East to participate as judges. For a full list of the judges please see our event booklet. The event was MC’d by radio host, actress and producer Relebogile Mabotja. South Africa was represented by Epitome of Elite Industry, a business from the Sedibelo Secondary School in Rustenburg, with their multi-purpose, environment-friendly cleaner, made from natural ingredients.

    Photo on left: Nelly Mofokeng, JASA MD, Elizabeth Bintliff, JA Africa CEO, Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba, Jean Chawapiwa, JA Africa Board Chair and Dolly Mokgatle, JASA Board Chair

    The Regional Company of the Year Competition is the culmination of JA’s highly acclaimed Company Programme (Enterprise Programme in South Africa), which delivers entrepreneurship education to high school youth across Africa. Currently being taught to more than 500,000 young people a year globally, this programme teaches students how to start and run their own businesses and develop and market a product or service with coaching and mentorship from a local volunteer from the business community.

    The year’s theme was Innovate, Create, Be Great and students truly demonstrated their business acumen and spirit of entrepreneurship in the competitive environment by pitching their products to panels of judges drawn from business and influencers from across South Africa.

    Through their sponsorship, FedEx, Citi Foundation, Delta Air Lines, Rogers Capital, Oliver Wyman, Facebook, Marketo and Afrovisionary Legacy demonstrate a commitment to youth economic empowerment and entrepreneurship education in Africa. Each young competitor represents thousands of others across Africa receiving entrepreneurship training, mentoring and access to capital that will transform their financial situations and improve the wellbeing of their families and communities.

    “By showcasing their businesses, all students demonstrated teamwork, innovation, problem-solving and leadership skills,” says Elizabeth Bintliff, CEO of JA Africa. “The success if this year’s competition confirmed the growing importance of entrepreneurship among young Africans who contribute to build a proud, innovative and prosperous Africa. These young budding entrepreneurs have taken action, for the benefit of their own future, their country and the whole of Africa.”

    Elizabeth Bintliff, JA Africa CEO, Anolia Lusunzi, JA South Africa Alumni and Afro Visionary Legacy CEO Lebogang Chaka

    MC Relebogile Mabotja