HSBC Staff visit an Environmental Entrepreneurs Programme

Environmental Entrepreneurs get a visit from sponsor HSBC’s staff

 Several staff members from HSBC attended a session of Junior Achievement South Africa’s Environmental Entrepreneurs programme at MC Weiler Primary School in Eastbank, Johannesburg.

Funded by HSBC Global, the Environmental Entrepreneurs programme has been developed for implementation in schools for learners in Grades 6 and 7, ages 10 to12 years. The programme was initially piloted in Latin America and has been redesigned to suit the environmental needs of South Africa.  The launch in Africa has been made possible by a further generous grant from HSBC Global  for South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.

Isabel Correia, head of marketing and company secretary for HSBC South Africa noted: “If we are successful in promoting environmental awareness and care amongst the young people who are our future leaders, we have a far greater chance of mitigating challenges to the environment and achieving higher levels of environmental sustainability.”

The learners learnt about the three Rs – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle and were divided into teams that had to develop, plan and launch their own sustainable recycling businesses. The HSBC volunteers assisted these teams in putting together their team mascots, using recycled material.

Programme Coordinator Fadeela Laher noted that the learners had been eager to meet with the HSBC volunteers and that she believed that the learners had benefitted immensely from both the programme and the HSBC visit.


Junior Innovators Competition launched with Investec

Junior Achievement South Africa and Investec launch the Junior Innovators Competition

Junior Achievement South Africa (JASA) and Investec are proud to announce the launch of the Junior Innovators Competition. The competition is aimed at rewarding one winner with entrepreneurship potential and characteristics. The competition is open to all grade 10 and 11 learners participating in JASA’s Mini Enterprise or Entrepreneurship Academy programmes during 2012.

The first round of the competition will take place from 15 May to 9 August 2012 and entrants will be required to complete a comprehensive application form, collect letters of motivation from community leaders and identify a socially innovative business concept to enter the competition.  From these entries the top 45 candidates will be selected from across the country, these finalists will be invited to participate in the final, in Johannesburg. “Not only does this competition aim to reward the highest scoring entrepreneur, it also aims at getting our youth to identify sustainable business ideas that positively impacts their immediate community’s.  We look forward to seeing what concepts the learners come up with. There will also be bi-weekly sms competitions during the first round and learners must be prepared to answer some tough questions, the prizes make it well worth it,” stated Namhla Saba from Investec.

The final will be held at Investec’s Sandton offices over four days from Sunday 30 September to Thursday 4 October 2012. Investec is sponsoring this all expenses-paid competition that includes meals, refreshments and accommodation for the finalists.  During these four days, finalists will be mentored by various Investec and JASA staff to develop their business concept into a feasible business plan, this business plan will then be presented to a panel of judges (all of whom will be successful entrepreneurs) on the final day. The event will culminate in an awards event on the final evening.  The winner of the Junior Innovators competition will be awarded R60 000 towards either the start-up of their business or their tertiary education.


Citi Foundation set to sponsor Mini Enterprise and Banks In Action programmes

Citi Foundation funds eight JASA Programmes for 2013

The Citi Foundation  announced its generous donation of US$50,000  towards eight Junior Achievement South Africa (JASA) programmes during 2012.  These programmes will consist of four Mini Enterprise Programmes and four Banks in Action programmes respectively.

The Mini Enterprise Programme is a 13-week intensive business programme where learners start up and run their own business after selecting a product or service, whilst the Banks in Action programme is a sixteen hour programme which explores the banking sector, how a bank functions and careers in banking with a computer simulation exercise of running a “real” bank.

“The Citi Foundation has been loyal supporters of JASA’s work in the entrepreneurship space for over ten years and we are extremely grateful for the support, both financially and strategically over the years.” Noted Linda McClure, Managing Director of Junior Achievement South Africa.  “Not only has the Citi Foundation funded numerous programmes throughout the years, their support on a board level both locally and internationally has been extraordinary.” She went on to state.

The 2013 Mini Enterprise programmes will be run in the same schools as during 2012 namely Sandtonview Combined School and Phoenix College, with the addition of two new schools, which will be determined at a later date.  The programmes will impact the lives of approximately  280 learners from four schools around Johannesburg.

“The Citi Foundation’s generous contribution will go a long way toward lighting the entrepreneurial spark in the learners and hopefully the learners will go on to become successful entrepreneurs with sustainable businesses, contributing to the economy and creating employment.” – Linda McClure


South African team win prestigious global Social Innovation Relay

Emulsified Environmentalists from JA South Africa take top award at relay involving over 1500 teams from countries around the world

Junior Achievement today announced the winner of the second annual SocialInnovation Relay, a global challenge developed by Junior Achievement and HP for high school students to create and develop new business concepts intended to have a positive social or environmental impact.

Emulsified Environmentalists, a team of students from Sandtonview Comibined School in Alexandra, Johannesburg, won the global competition with a concept for a solar-powered lamp made from recycled materials that will bring light to disadvantaged communities, while also eliminating the environmental and health damage caused by traditional kerosene lamps. Working with  HP mentors, the team developed their concept in response to the problems of electricity shortages and growing respiratory problems in South Africa. Teams from China and Slovakia were runners-up with ideas for a programme that trains young volunteers to work with China’s elderly population, and an educational DVD with supporting training designed to raise awareness around migration issues for young people, respectively.

—   “Winning the Social Innovation Relay means we’ve achieved our goals of helping our community, getting recognition for our school and improving our social awareness skills. Our HP mentors helped us think critically and to broaden our perspectives, and we have developed our self-confidence and improved our presentation skills and our relations with our classmates. Over the course of this project, we’ve learned the importance of team work and that innovative thinking can bring positive change to the entire community. The whole experience has been a lot of fun, and we would like to thank HP and Junior Achievement for this opportunity.” Emulsified Environmentalists

Each participating team of 3 – 5 learners was required to develop a socially innovative business  concept into comprehensive presentations with the assistance of dedicated HP volunteer mentors, for national judging by HP senior management.

Team Emulsified Environmentalists, from Sandtonview Combined School, seen below with their facilitator Isaac Ganyiwa, were judged the winning South African team by the HP judges. The team identified the current power shortages and constant fire breakouts in South Africa’s informal settlements, caused by the use of candles and paraffin lamps, as a serious problem facing their community. Their solution focused on creating solar powered lamps out of recycled material, thus eliminating the need for both candles and paraffin lamps. The lamps, made from recycled cardboard and foil, can be placed in the sun during the day, charging the solar cells.

The winning national teams from across the globe were then required to present their concepts to a panel of global HP judges, who quizzed the teams on the feasibility and global impact of their concepts.  After days of deliberation the panel determined that Team Emulsified Environmentalists idea was the winning concept.

‘We  would like to congratulate Team Emulsified Environmentalists for winning the Global Social Innovation Relay.  Our organisation often comes across some of the incredibly innovative ideas that the youth of our country create, and  it is wonderful for South Africa to receive some recognition.  The team has made us proud  and we are excited to see how their product develops.” – Linda McClure, Managing Director of Junior Achievement South Africa

With over 20,000 students from 13 countries participating, the Social Innovation Relay is the largest global educational initiative to be run with a blend of virtual and face-to-face mentoring.  1,564 teams around the world registered for this year’s relay. 13 teams competed in the final round of the competition.

“The Social Innovation Relay is designed to equip secondary school students with the entrepreneurial and ICT skills they need to succeed in the 21st century economy. This year’s exceptional entries prove that with the right education and resources, today’s youth has the power to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges.” Caroline Jenner, CEO Junior Achievement Young Enterprise (JA-YE Europe)

The Social Innovation Relay was first launched in 2010, and over the past two years more than 30,000 students and 300 HP mentors have participated, submitting nearly 1,000 socially innovative concepts.

“The quality of innovative, socially orientated business ideas and increasing numbers reflects a successful collaboration with HP mentors and our partner Junior Achievement. The Social Innovation Relay is part of HP’s commitment in applying our expertise and technology to help students everywhere gain vital IT and business skills to solve societal issues , leading to a future with many more bright social entrepreneurs.”  Jeannette Weisschuh, director, Global Education Programs, Sustainability and Social Innovation, HP

Project finalists

Team (Winner): Emulsified Environmentalists (South Africa)

Concept: A solar-powered lamp made from recycled materials to help bring electricity to poor people and to reduce the use of paraffin lamps, which are bad for the environment

Team (Runner-up): Team Flower (China)

Concept: A program that trains young volunteers to work with China’s elderly population to document their life stories and overcome loneliness

Team (Runner-up): Egalite (Slovakia)

Concept: “Kick out the difference”, an educational DVD designed to raise awareness around migration issues

Team: Jeux Des Sets Familles (France)

Concept: Educational games to motivate students to learn by having fun

Team: Team Awesome (United States)

Concept: AquaGen, a turbine generator that is attached to rain gutters and uses run-off rain water to generate electricity

Team: Synergy (Kenya)

Concept: Daladala Tracker, a mobile application that indicates the nearest available public transport options

Team: The Innovators (India)

Concept: A program that integrates theater in teaching to reinforce practical lessons introduced in the classroom

Team: LOT – Leads of Teens (Romania)

Concept: E-Progress, a program that facilitates meetings between youths and those at risk of discrimination in order to raise awareness

Team: Ideja (Russia)

Concept: Using VOIP software to connect students around the world and facilitate their study of foreign languages

Team: Optimum (Bulgaria)

Concept: Power ship engines with hydrogen obtained through salt water processing

Team: Alpha Enterprise (United Kingdom)

Concept: GloGos, safety product designed to enhance visibility of cyclists when indicating a change of direction in the dark

Team: Dreamers (Egypt)

Concept: A line of products designed to make reading and learning more interesting

Team: WW (Brazil)

Concept: A multiplier centre for the installation of low-cost sustainable solar heaters in poor communities

For more information on the lead up, click here.


South African team to compete in international social innovation relay

Sandtonview High School compete in 2012 SA HP Social Innovation Relay 

Over 800 learners from more than 13 schools across the country competed in the HP Social Innovation Relay between March and June 2012.  Learners participated in a three hour workshop, where they were taught about Social Innovation.  Learners then completed an online quiz and grouped themselves into teams of between three and five members. These teams were then required to develop a socially innovative business idea that would alleviate a problem affecting their communities.

40 teams submitted business ideas and the best 20 ideas were selected by a panel of Junior Achievement South Africa (JASA) judges.  These 20 teams were required to submit a full concept paper of their idea and the best 10 concept papers were selected. The judges scored the teams on content, innovation and creativity, social impact, the global scalability of the concept and feasibility.  The top 10 teams were comprised of learners from Dawnview, Sunward Park, Tlakula and Sandtonview High Schools in Gauteng as well as The Beacon Secondary School in Qwa Qwa, Free State.

Each team was required to develop their concepts into comprehensive presentations with the assistance of dedicated HP volunteer mentors, who spent many hours with their teams, ensuring they were ready to participate in the SIR national final. The finals were held at HP’s Johannesburg offices on 2nd July 2012, where the top ten teams were required to present their developed concepts to a panel of esteemed HP judges, namely Ms Gois Fouche – HPSA Transformation & Strategy Manager, Ms Sheryll Sukhoo – HPSA Education Services Country Manager, Ms Petro Plotz – HPSA Channel Account Manager, and Mr President Ntuli – HPSA Global Account Manager.

Team Emulsified Environmentalists from Sandtonview High School were judged the winning South African team. The team identified the current power shortages and constant fire breakouts in South Africa’s informal settlements, caused by the use of candles and paraffin lamps, as a serious problem facing their community. Their solution focused on creating solar powered lamps out of recycled material, thus eliminating the need for both candles and paraffin lamps.

 The lamps, made from recycled cardboard and foil, can be placed in the sun during the day, charging the solar cells.  Additional mirrors will be placed on either side of the light bulb, reflecting the light coming off of the bulb – ensuring that entire rooms are sufficiently illuminated.  It’s production and usage will save the environment from pollution caused by power stations and will also contribute greatly in the fight against global warming.  Approximately ¾’s of South Africa’s matriculants (final year of school in South Africa) have no electricity and therefore, no source of light to use to complete their homework, Emulsified Environmentalists believe that their solar lamp will assist all members of the community that do not have access to electricity.   The four members of Emulsified Environmentalists were each rewarded with an HP laptop for their winning concept and have progressed on to the final round of the competition.

The team will be participating in the SIR global final on 12 July 2012, competing against the top teams from across Africa and Europe.  During the next week, the students, with the help of a group of HP mentors, will be required to develop a three minute video pitch explaining their concept.  On 12th July 2012 the team will present their video and concept to an international panel of judges of top HP management, who will select their most feasible and innovative concept.

To see how they do, click here.


Successful Research in Motion Innovation Challenge

First South African RIM BlackBerry® Innovation Challenge – a huge Success

Junior Achievement South Africa launched the first Research In Motion (RIM) Innovation Challenge on Friday, 24 February 2012 at the University of Johannesburg’s Intellilab. 40 Grade 11 learners from McCauley House, Dawnview High School, Sunward Park High School and Ponelopele Oracle Secondary School participated in the day long challenge, funded by RIM.  Learners were taught how to think innovatively through a series of exciting challenges, designed in partnership with the University of Johannesburg’s Intellilab staff.

At the start of the day, learners were split into teams of four, comprising one learner from each school.  The teams were provided with clues which lead them to five Market Points around University of Johannesburg’s Kingsway campus.  The teams were required to purchase a box of robot parts at each Market Point whilst keeping an eye on the fluctuating exchange rate of their BlackBerry® Bucks – capitalising on purchasing the parts at the most profitable moment.  The Market Points were manned by enthusiastic RIM South Africa volunteers who helped the teams decide when the best time was to purchase their parts.  The RIM volunteers were headed by Karina Gibson – RIM Community Relations Manager for the EMEA region, who travelled from the U.K. to attend the event.

Teams collected points throughout the day for the completion of various tasks, be it budgeting or programming their robots.  Each team was also provided with a BlackBerry® PlayBook™ with which to document their experiences. The BlackBerry® PlayBook™ could also be used to snap photos of the teams at strategic points to increase their scores. The Duiker team won the overall challenge and were awarded various BlackBerry® branded prizes as well as R300 airtime for each team member.   The learners all felt the experience was invaluable and the RIM team was surprised at how innovative the teams were during the day.  The exhausted learners were all sent home at 9pm on Friday evening, having spent the entire day thinking innovatively.



South African teams have enriching experience at COY 2011

Junior Achievement South Africa teen entrepreneurs make South Africa proud!

Soweto students show dedication to fostering economic growth across the sub-Saharan region through business acumen and innovation.

 Ten excited learners, in Grades 10 and 11, from Meadowlands Secondary school in Soweto, arrived at OR Tambo International airport on 18th October 2011.  They were about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime, an all-expenses paid trip to the Second Annual Regional Junior Achievement (JA) Africa Region, Company of the Year (COY) competition in Accra, Ghana, sponsored by Barclays and Fedex. The learners were all participants in the Junior Achievement South Africa (JASA) Entrepreneurship Academy Programme funded by Investec.

The programme is a seven month long, intensive programme which aims to educate over 400 Grade 10 and 11 learners from eleven under resourced schools across six provinces on every aspect of running their own business, they are taught entrepreneurial skills by essentially starting up and running their own mini companies. The Meadowlands students had split themselves into two companies namely; Sisonke Enterprise and Young Achievers.  These mini company’s had been selected from over approximately 150 other mini companies, launched during JASA programmes during 2011, to represent South Africa in the JA Africa Region COY competition, due to their innovative products.

Sisonke Enterprise

 Sisonke Enterprise saw a need in their community, caused by a lack of electricity, specifically load shedding. They solved the need identified, by creating the Circuit Lamp Shade, a product that would provide buyers with an additional source of light during power outages.  The lamp shade is made from ice cream sticks, which are recycled.  They sold ice creams at school and refunded children that brought the sticks back to them.  They also located a supplier of new unused ice cream sticks for larger orders.  They are also currently in the development stages of a solar powered kettle.

Young Achievers

 Young Achievers produce the Express Music Case:  a plastic suitcase that has been modified to include various forms of music players.  The company decided to modify a suitcase to help their schoolmates, since cell phones are not allowed in schools, but school bags are.  The case runs on a battery so it is perfect for areas with load shedding or for homes with no electricity.  They also customised some cases to include a torch that can be used when the power goes out or for walking to school early in the morning or for studying late at night.

Five representatives from each company were selected to travel to Ghana to represent their companies. The South African teams joined 20 other student companies from 14 sub-Saharan countries namely; Botswana, Ghana, Namibia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Kenya, Mauritius, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia.

 Both teams performed extremely well in all aspects of the four day competition.  They produced excellent Company Reports, performed exceptionally well in their Trade Fair booths, executed phenomenal four-minute business presentations to a hall filled with people and handled themselves with professionalism during their panel interviews. They enjoyed socialising with learners from different African countries and were the most eager teams at the competition.  The South African teams were always sitting in the front row, or jumping on stage with the performers to dance.  They were eager to share their views and experiences with anyone that was willing to listen and they were always early to any of the sessions.  They also thoroughly enjoyed the Ghanaian weather and took full advantage of the pool.

 Unfortunately neither South African team was awarded the ultimate prize, the Kenyan team Eco Eagles deservedly won.  Eco Eagles produced quality organic broccoli, cauliflower and lettuce using their own unique, innovative organic and modern scientific methods.  They used locally available waste material, instead of soil, as a growing medium, without any synthetic fertilisers or pesticides, thus producing an environmentally friendly and cost-effective product.

Although our teams did not bring home any of the prizes, what they gained in knowledge and experience far outweighs any trophy.

“Our trip to Ghana was awesome!  There were so many life changing moments, we learnt so much, met so many new people and had a great time.  A big thank you to Junior Achievement South Africa for making our dreams realities,” says Omphile Rakate – Young Achievers