May programme updates

Here are some highlights from the month of May

Learners at Ponelopele Oracle Secondary School, who are participating in an Enterprise Programme supported by General Electric’s Londvolota Trust, have been working on creating tile cleaner, shoe polish and permanent marker cleaner as products for their team businesses.


Toyota visited KwaBhekiLanga Secondary School in Alexandra

Toyota employees met with JASA Digital Enterprise alumni at KwaBhekiLanga Secondary School. These learners completed the course last year, funded by Toyota. The company wanted to reconnect with the students a year later and to interview Programme Coordinator Bonga Khumalo and some of the student company CEOs about their experiences

Some of the learners who did the programme are running businesses on the side while others are too focused on completing Grade 12 to continue with their enterprises, for now . However, the entrepreneurial seed has been planted and many expressed interest in looking into entrepreneurship in the future.

Small beginnings can lead to great things, especially when it comes to saving!

Grade 5s at Chartwell Leadership School graduated after completing the five-session More than Money programme.

One of the learners commented that she thought the facilitator was good. One of the things she had learnt was that by saving it was possible to make enough money to start a little business and grow it from there.

Sponsored by HSBC, JASA is aiming to reach around 7000 primary school learners with this programme in 2018. JASA began a pilot earlier this year where all five sessions are taught in one day. The feedback from teachers trained to facilitate has been very positive since the material aligns well with the curriculum.

Students at Hlanganani Primary School in Khutsong, Carletonville, show their appreciation that JASA chose to come to their school. We’re glad too, thanks to the sponsor of the More than Money Programme in this school, HSBC.


Ntuthuko Shezi modernises the African tradition of holding wealth in livestock

JASA alumnus Ntuthuko Shezi reimagines shared value through an innovative farming investment platform

In the past few years, JASA alumnus Ntuthuko Shezi has been thinking deeply about how we store and share value. This caused him to examine the age-old African tradition of storing value in cows. In our modern era of urbanisation though, the stock market has become the platform for storing value. Yet many people feel intimidated by the complex mix of financial instruments on offer. This led Shezi to come up with an innovative concept – shaping an investment platform where people can invest in tangible assets by buying cows and investing in sustainable farms.

In this Ted Talk he explains the concept further. You can also find out more at

Shezi had to go through many experiences before he was ready to shape this company. He grew up in rural Ndwedwe in KwaZulu-Natal in a home without electricity. His mother was a teacher and ran a side business at the school selling sweets, fish and vetkoek, to singlehandedly support Shezi and his four siblings. This is where he received his first taste of entrepreneurship. His grandparents lived a traditional rural life, keeping cows for milk and growing fruit and vegetables.

In high school he continued his journey of learning about business through selling biscuits. There he had the opportunity to do a JASA programme in 1997 and his team company printed and sold T-shirts.

After graduating from the University of Cape Town, with an electro-mechanical engineering degree, he worked his way up to managerial level in a management consulting firm before taking the leap to start his own company, a panel-beating operation at the airport, to service clients while they travelled. He provided panel beating, spray painting and glass repairs and employed 16 people.

In 2005, Shezi was selected as a Clinton Fellow for using social entrepreneurship to achieve social change and then in 2014 he was one of 46 South Africans to be invited to participate in the first Young African Leadership.

 Shezi commented: “My Junior Achievement experience was half my lifetime ago yet I still draw on it to enforce my business decisions. We learned everything from the real nitty-gritty of business fundamentals to advice that put me ahead of my competitors by making me more industry savvy. From the beginning of the programme the facilitators pushed us to really understand the inner workings of what we wanted to achieve.  We found out where the raw materials were produced, their cost at source, and how that was marked up in their sale to us and truly understand every facet of our mini- company.


“This in turn helped me start my first business, designing and printing T-Shirts and running it profitably. I then drew on both these experiences in applying for bursaries to finance my studies in Electro-Mechanical Engineering. Junior Achievement gave me a great start. I am proud to be a JASA alumnus.”


Digital Enterprise Programme students visit the GE Innovation Centre

General Electric’s Londvolota Trust sponsors two Digital Enterprise Programmes, including a site visit to the GE Innovation Centre

Students at Ponelopele and Sandtonview high schools in Johannesburg, who are participating in General Electric (GE) sponsored Digital Enterprise Programmes, were fortunate to visit the GE Innovation Centre in Rosebank, Johannesburg.

Organised by Celiwe Zondo of GE, the students were taken through the process of design-centred innovation by consultant Kathy Berman. The student teams had a chance to present their ideas and gain constructive feedback that they can now apply as they repeat the design process to refine and evolve their ideas as needed.

The key learning the students took away  is that the process of refining your ideas is critical to success. It is only through repeating the process of testing your ideas and then making changes that you can come up with innovative sustainable solutions that stand the test of time.

For more information on a design-centred approach to innovation see this article, which goes through the steps of this method.


Design-thinking as an approach to shaping innovation

JASA programmes incorporate a design-thinking approach to innovation

In JASA programmes, the facilitators introduce learners to design thinking, a step-by-step approach to coming up with innovative solutions to problems. Students are encouraged to look around their environments and identify problems they want to tackle. Then the students work on innovations that will provide solutions, in the form of products or services.

But first… what is an innovation?

Well, it is a new idea, method or product.

  • It can improve an existing solution, such as cars becoming more efficient, or mobile phones having better cameras.


  • It can be new and disruptive.

Examples of disruptive innovations include:

  • Digital film technology completely overtook the traditional film industry
  • Airbnb has disrupted the traditional hotel model by linking host accommodation to potential guests. Since they don’t own hotels or employ staff this means far less risk for the company.

Sometimes, taking the initiative to apply an existing solution to solve a problem in your community can be innovative since you are using a method that wasn’t there before.

At age 14 William Kwamkamba built a windmill to power his family’s home. Even though windmills existed in the world, he found a cost-effective way of making one. You can hear his story here.

One South African innovator is Danielle Mallabone. When she was 17 years old, after seeing the film Titanic, she was inspired to create a thermal lifejacket. She even tested it herself by being immersed in 10° C water for an hour! Luckily the heat effect of her lifejacket worked. You can read about her story here.

So what is the process of design thinking and why is it effective to come up with solutions?

Design-centred innovation 

1. Recognise a need, challenge, opportunity or pain point

The first step is to look around you to see what needs there are in your community and identify a problem you want to address.

2. Understand your operating environment

Speak to those affected by the problem to help you generate products and services that people need and want.

3. Frame issue – Problem Statement

You need to keep questioning to scratch below the surface to understand the problem from different angles and to see what the real issues are.

4. Ideation

Once you have decided on a problem, consider many options of how to address it and write down all the ideas you and your team think of.  Handle your new ideas with care because they can be fragile until they are developed.

Listen to feedback. Perhaps you have a good idea but there is already a product on the market. Maybe your idea has a flaw that you hadn’t noticed. Useful feedback may mean that you have to rethink your idea. Most entrepreneurs go through this process of refining their ideas, over and over again. Those that succeed are the ones who didn’t give up!

4. Prototype and test

You can also make sketches of your ideas or basic prototypes using materials such as cardboard, glue, pens etc. Making a model in the early stages makes it easier to test your idea in the real world.

5. Iteration (repeat the process)

You may need to test your idea and then make changes and go through this process a few times. Often an initial idea will change into something different. Allow this to happen.

JASA facilitators have been hosting two-day workshops on design thinking for learners on some JASA programmes and the insights gained will be taken into consideration in the programmes review.

Avive Papier, a learner at Orion Secondary School in De Aar, said this method gave her a way to gain insight into how things could be improved. Students were encouraged to use anything around them to make prototypes and they found the process so exciting that they didn’t want to stop.

Design-based innovation is used at the SABS Design Institute. An industrial designer and mentor there, Sibusiso Mkhwanazi, explains this process here. Recently nine JASA Alumni and Junior Innovators Competition winners from the past years went through a year-long incubation programme, were they repeated the design innovation steps until they came up with refined ideas that they could prototype. You can read about their journey here.

Here are two examples of emerging companies in South Africa who have come up with innovative solutions to problems.

Empty Trips

Have you ever thought about what happens to the empty space on trucks doing return trips. Well nothing really… until recently. Empty Trips are launching an online trip exchange platform designed to match transport companies having space capacity with those who can make use of it, through an online auction system. This start-up won the Africa Chivas Regal Pitching Den Competition at the 2017 SA Innovation Summit. They represented South Africa at the 2018 Startup World Cup in San Francisco on May 11.


Spoon is another company addressing a local market. There are around 800 000 stokvels in South Africa and yet these informal savings groups, and the people who borrow from them, cannot gain access to the traditional banking industry. This is where Spoon steps in as an intermediary, by providing an online stokvel management system and providing 30-day loans to the stokvels to pool their money for the collective benefit of all members.

Anyone can follow the tried and tested design-centred approach to come up with a solution to a problem.


Launch of JA More than Money Savings Challenge

The Savings Challenge is open from this week starting 23 April, 2018, until the end of the winter school holidays on 16 July 2018. Around 5 000 earners participating in the More than Money and More than Money in a Day programmes each receive a  cardboard piggy bank and set a target of how much they want to save, based on a weekly target multiplied by the 12 weeks of the challenge.

In the first week after the school holidays they will open their piggy banks with their teachers and count their savings. If they have reached their savings target they are eligible to enter the provincial draws, which will take place on Thursday 26 July 2018, just at the end of Savings Month, at the JASA offices.

A total of nine winners from across the country will be announced after the draw. The winners will need to open bank accounts and JASA will match each winner’s savings from the challenge and deposit this sum into their accounts. (The maximum amount that JASA will match is R2 000.) We would like to track the nine winners over the year that follows to see if they continue to save.

HSBC’s decade-long partnership with JASA

Since the launch of JA More than Money in 2008, globally HSBC Holdings has partnered with JA to sponsor and implement this programme, contributing $14.2 million (USD). In total, more than 579,000 students have been impacted by the program and more than 8,900 HSBC employees have volunteered.

The programme is currently rolled out in more than 30 Junior Achievement member countries worldwide and in 2010, Junior Achievement South Africa won the best practice award for extending the More Than Money experience to the learners’ families through financial literacy focus groups.

Since the inception of this global partnership, JA South Africa and HSBC have collaborated locally over these nine years to reach close to 23,000 grade six and seven learners across the country, in both urban and rural environments.

What does the programme entail?

In partnership with HSBC, the JA More than Money programme teaches Grade 7 students about money-management topics such as earning, saving, and spending as well as entrepreneurship skills. The style of learning is experiential and hands-on.

Learners gain the financial education basics, preparing them to be financially responsible adults who contribute positively to their communities.

At the conclusion of the program’s five, 45-minute sessions, students should be able to:

    • o Identify the role of money in everyday life.
    • o Think like entrepreneurs and identify a small business they can start.
    • o Explain the basic steps of starting a business, including why it’s important and its impact on society.
    • o Analyse the advantages and disadvantages of borrowing money.
    • o Explore the opportunities of global markets.

Each session includes a facilitator-led activity and a game experience to reinforce money-management and entrepreneurship skills learned during the session.

As the financial education landscape continually changes, online tools such as mobile banking and online budgeting have become increasingly prevalent. The updated JA More than Money program recognizes the shift toward technology-based solutions and offers digital resources beyond the classroom, encouraging students to understand emerging technologies from an early age.

The JA More than Money program’s focus on entrepreneurship inspires students to think about small businesses they can create. Throughout five sessions, students learn the fundamentals of starting a small business and developing a business plan. From there, they learn the purpose of financial institutions and explore the opportunities and challenges across global markets.

According to HSBC’s 2017 Essence of Enterprise Report, 25% of entrepreneurs in their 20s say that having a positive economic impact was a factor in their decision to go into business and 23% say they wanted to have a positive impact in their community. The JA More than Money curriculum fosters these aspirations by introducing the foundations of entrepreneurship to students at an early age, including why businesses are important and what their impact is on society.


AIG sponsors JA More than Money in a Day

The JA More than Money Programme was rolled out to three primary schools in Diepsloot, Gauteng 

Around 600 Grade 7 learners at three primary schools: Reshomile, Diepsloot and Diepsloot Combined, were taught how to be money wise, through the JASA More than Money in a Day Programme hosted there on Friday 20 April.

Funded by AIG, several volunteers from the company were trained to assist JASA staff, together with the Grade 7 teachers, to facilitate the programme of five sessions. Using interactive materials and games aligned to the CAPS curriculum, participants become financially aware and learn the basics on how to start a business.

EMS Teacher Bongiwe Ngobese said, “The connection this programme has with our curriculum is very good. We are still going to start teaching finance this semester so the children are getting a head start in familiarising themselves with the finance terms and ideas.” She also commented that several learners were already budding entrepreneurs. Some would go to the mall and buy items to resell, such as ice in hot weather, while others found things around their houses to sell.

“The children are already in tune with the concepts being taught and this course reinforces what they know. As they were going out of the classroom for lunch I could hear some of them repeating the concepts and exercises that we had gone through,” commented AIG employee Rachel Makwela.

Bongani Miya from AIG facilitated the sessions in Zulu. One learner told him how she holds jumble sales outside her house gate, selling old clothes. “So the entrepreneurial spirit is already there – they just need to be guided in the right direction.”


Another employee from AIG, Ferguson Langenhoven, commented,

“The students are so involved in the learning that I think this is really creating a legacy for their future as money earners. It is important to start this education at a young level so that when they start earning money they will use it wisely.”

AIG’s Annual Survey on Teen’s attitudes to finances

For the past 20 years Junior Achievement has conducted an annual survey of 1 000 US teens to gain a better understanding of how they see their financial futures. Being Financial Literacy Month, April is an apt time to release the results, which can be found here.

This year’s survey covers teens’ financial plans and concerns, as well as what they think about topical issues, such asBitcoin. Their main concerns include being able to pay for college, finding a well-paying job, not being to afford a home and not having money management skills.

In the survey results, teens stated their financial goals for the future include graduating from college (75%), creating a savings plan (50%), affording international travel (37%), starting a business (30%), and retiring before age 65 (29%). “It’s apparent from these findings that today’s youth think a lot about their financial futures, and are looking for ways to be better prepared to be successful at managing money,” said Laura Gallagher, Global Head of Corporate Citizenship at AIG. “One way AIG is helping on this front is by partnering with organisations like Junior Achievement to get young people the information they need to be more prepared and to feel more confident about their futures.” To read the survey results, click here.

Thank you to AIG and the team of volunteers who came on board to assist with the programme!


JA Alumni Graduation: SABS Design Institute and Investec Accelerator Programme

Nine JA Alumni graduated from a pilot Accelerator Programme, through a partnership between SABS Design Institute and Investec 

Congratulations to the nine JA alumni who recently graduated from the pilot Accelerator Programme, made possible through a partnership between Investec and the SABS Design Institute. The nine participants attended JA programmes and then went on to become winners at Investec’s Junior Innovators Competition before being selected for this process.

The graduation ceremony took place at Investec’s offices in Sandton, Johannesburg on Tuesday 3 April. Graduates were joined by Investec, SABS Design Institute and JASA staff members. The Accelerator Programme provided an opportunity for the participants to refine their business ideas and develop 3D prototypes of their products, under the guidance of SABS Design Institute staff, over the course of a year. One of their mentors, an industrial designer at the SABS Design Institute, Sibusiso Mkhwanazi, explains the process.

We cannot disclose any of their exciting innovations until the products are patented but watch this space as we follow the progress of these entrepreneurs in the making. At the ceremony some participants shared their experiences on the programme. Kate Kekana, who went to Sandtonview Combined School in Alexandra and did a JASA Programme in 2013, listed the Ds of what she has learnt: “To be an entrepreneur requires devotion, determination and decisiveness. You need to have a dream and create something desirable to see your destiny.”

She describes the process of becoming an entrepreneur as starting something new and this involves taking a risk – not only financially but also psychologically – in order to focus on your goal. “We are game-changers and we want to change the world. We all have the courage to go out into the wilderness and stand in front of investors and persuade them to invest in our ideas. We need to be resilient to criticism. A wise man once said that knowing how to think empowers a person far beyond those who know what to think.”

Another graduate, Lebogang Mogale, also from Sandtonview, explained how thinking through her idea uncovered some complications she had not expected. This is common in the early phases of developing an idea and thus it is important to be flexible. It was through figuring out how to deal with complications that the product evolved into something better.

“Learning to accept criticism enables you to collaborate with other people and be creative and invent things together rather than just sticking to one idea. You need strategic relationships – these are the people who are going to be honest with you and urge you to do your best and push you to work hard. I was very shy when I started at JASA but not anymore. There is no place for it. Leave you shyness in your suitcase,” Mogale said.

Thandolwethu Magagule, who did a JASA programme at Suikerland Secondary School in Malelane, came up with many complicated ideas before he started to refine one idea and work on the prototype phase (and no, sorry we cannot disclose this one either, at least not until it is prototyped and patented). “When there are negative things you can change them into positive stones to build your bridge,” he said. “I am grateful for this programme, which will benefit me for a lifetime.”

Ashley Dhlamini started her entrepreneurial journey in a JASA programme at Dawnview High School in Germiston, Gauteng, in 2015. She introduced herself as an inventor and an economist in the making and explained how the idea she came up with for JIC has evolved through the Accelerator Programme to become a unique innovation that utilises existing technology in a new way. She remarked on how most of the group had developed their initial ideas in new directions but that this was good because it helped them to shape better products. The path to refinement may seem long but it really pays off.

“Pressure makes diamonds and look at me here. We spoke to strangers, people who didn’t believe in our ideas and people who were busy, but here we stand together. Nothing works better than simply an improved product,” she said.

Sibusiso Mkhwanazi, an industrial designer at the Design Institute who worked closely with the programme participants, gave a glimpse into the process. A product begins with an idea, in a sketch or in words on paper. This can be very rough at first but through development it can turn into a unique innovation. Once the idea is more refined then the next step is to create a computer-aided design (CAD) drawing from which a model can be printed in 3D. Having something solid is useful to show potential investors. In addition, a model forms the basis for creating a fully-fledged prototype. To do that involves the next step of accessing the suppliers, technology and engineering support needed.

Mkhwanazi and his colleague did a global search on the innovations being developed by the accelerator programme participants and, in some cases, they could not find a counterpart in the world. In one case, a similar product was in development in the US but that means the South African market is open for a similar product to be patented.

Investec and SABS are in discussion regarding how they can support these entrepreneurs on their journey further to continue with the rapid prototyping phase and find investment to take their products to market and to develop their businesses.

Setlogane Manchidi, Head of CSI at Investec, congratulated the graduates and urged them to realise their visions of making a mark in the world. In his address, SABS Design Institute Head Gavin Mageni emphasised the importance of entrepreneurship as a creator of opportunity in our current economic landscape, where jobs are scarce. He explained how innovation had made a resurgence in the past decades with the SABS Design Institute leading the way.

The Institute was founded in the Apartheid era as a reaction to sanctions, when imports into South Africa came to a halt. As a result, the Department of Trade and Industry were tasked with driving innovation internally since the country could not rely on sourcing from outside its borders.

Though the world was not supposed to do business with South Africa, curiously, exports out of South Africa were not restricted. During this time, around 700 innovations were developed and many of these were exported around the world. Then, after Apartheid ended, the focus shifted and innovation became neglected. However, over the past decades, innovation has once again became a priority and this accelerator programme is but one to create a resurgence of innovation, business and prosperity.

For more photos please see our Flickr album by clicking here.



JASA hosts workshops at STEAM Kasi Career Expo in Soweto and in Mpumalanga

JASA hosts workshops at STEAM Kasi Career Expo in Soweto and in Mpumalanga

The fourth annual Kasi Career Expo will be travelling around South Africa to all provinces through 2018. The first expo was held in Soweto on January 27 at the Elkah Stadium and then, on March 10, the expo moved to the Shongwe Boarding School in Mpumalanga.

The aim of the fair is to highlight opportunities in the sectors of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) by connecting students from rural and township communities to recruiters, funders and mentors at top local organisations and providing them with tools to support them along their career journeys.

JASA hosted 90-minute workshops to engage high school students to start thinking about how they can take an idea and turn it into an entrepreneurial venture. Students were guided through a business simulation called The Spaza Shop, where the learners form teams and have to make business decisions. They need to think carefully because each decision has a negative or positive impact – leading to either profit or loss – and ultimately all the decisions collectively determine whether the business is successful and sustainable or not. Winning businesses were identified and a review done to assess why they achieved success.

This activity forms part of two JASA programmes aimed at students between Grade 10 and 12, the Enterprise programme, which consists of 12 sessions and up, and the longer Academy Entrepreneurship Programme. Learning is experiential and over the course of the programme the learners go through the phases of creating and developing a business, based on identifying a product or service and then use this as a basis to create and develop a business. In total, JASA has reached around 750 learners so far through these workshops. The feedback was very positive, with many students commenting that they had never been exposed to an entrepreneurship simulation before and that it had got them to consider entrepreneurship as a career option.



Fulufhelo Miswe: Entrepreneur and JA South Africa Alumnus 2006

JA Alumnus Fulufhelo Miswe has

a flourishing business and plans to diversify 

“The value of JASA’s programme is far more than the entrepreneurial skills it teaches.” 

When I joined Junior Achievement South Africa in 2006 it was actually by chance. The truth is I was not supposed to join the programme as at that time JASA did not work at my school. I had a friend Sibusiso Dube who had in the previous year been part of the programme. He was selected to be part of the JASA Youth Council and I really envied the opportunity that he got, so much that when he made it onto the Youth Council, I asked him to help me be part of the initiative.

I finally made it onto the 2006 Mini Enterprise Programme sponsored by Danfoss; I was in grade 11 at Wendywood High School. I wanted to prove myself so much that I was 100% involved, I was dedicated and didn’t miss a single meeting and that ensured my success. I was awarded best sales person for the programme selling bath foam packs for my mini-company: Exquisite gifts.

I sold not only the stock I had but some of my teammates’ products as well, ensuring we made a great profit. The Mini Enterprise Programme was held at Liberty Community School and the facilitator, Katlego Moselekgomu, was very helpful, knowledgeable and insightful. I was not a business-minded person at all but having participated in the programme I got the opportunity to operate a business in an incubator-type of environment, which ensured that I could make mistakes and learn. I am where I am right now because of the drive I developed during my JASA programme.

Currently I am the owner of a fleet of taxis that operate in the township of Alexandra. I was the youngest person to ever join the association as an owner at the age of 21. Since joining I have not looked back and while I expand my business I’m also spreading my investments. I own property that I rent out in different areas of Alexandra and Riverpark.

Apart from the business elements, I met one of my best friends during my JASA programme; we have been in contact since our Youth Council days. Maggie Kaniki plays an important role in my life. She’s fun and encouraging.

My ambition, drive, dedication and passion stem from the great organisation that is JASA. Since the programme I have been unleashed and I pounce on all opportunities that I see. I learned a lot but equally the drive I have as an individual determines a lot. I thank God for the opportunity!

The value of JASA’s programmes is far more than entrepreneurial skills it teaches.  You learn many life lessons too.

You can watch Fulu tell his story in this video:



NGO partnerships achieve Sustainable Development Goals

NGO partnerships can assist in achieving Sustainable Development Goals, says JA Worldwide CEO Asheesh Advani

At the Global Education and Skills Forum held in Dubai in late March, Junior Achievement held a public briefing on the future of school partnerships with the private sector. Asheesh Advani, the CEO of JA Worldwide, was interviewed by Raj Kumar, President of Devex, at the conference.

Advani explained that over the nearly hundred years of JA’s existence, programmes have historically been created by JA and then run in various regions as JA set up local operations, with JA currently being active in 118 countries.

However, he commented that to achieve the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – particularly goal four on education and goal eight on economic growth and job creation –  entails not only reviewing the JA model but also the way JA interacts with other organisations.

With the growing importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), JA Worldwide has begun to look at cultivating relationships with partners that already have good programmes in this field and then disseminating them through the strong JA networks, which will allow for faster expansion, rather than taking an approach of developing these programmes from scratch.

Advani further commented that JA has “spent decades building distribution into school systems” and thus has long-standing relationships with the key stakeholders in the education system, from the minister through to the regional heads, principals and teachers. This is an invaluable social asset to bring to partnerships with organisations struggling to get their programmes into schools.

The reverse can also be true, where JA can leverage off local organisations’ networks. An example is a partnership in India with a foundation that provides leadership courses to over three million children while JA’s footprint in this country has only been around 60 000. Through a collaboration JASA can now increase its reach exponentially.

JA South Africa is also assessing how to form strategic partnerships in order to expand in an elegant and efficient way.