Team Meraki have a memorable time at Africa Regional COY in Ghana

Three Mc Auley House students represent South Africa at the Regional COY final in Ghana

The regional JA Africa Company of the Year 2018 was held Ghana in December. JASA MD Nelly Mofokeng, Programmes Manager Terence Modiba, Programmes Coordinator Elias Sebola and three members of the South African winning team  Meraki, who come from
McAuley House in Johannesburg, travelled to Accra to attend. Team member Mmatladi Laka shares her experience and photos from the event:

My experience at Coy was memorable. At first I didn’t know what to expect and so I was nervous. We had done a lot of activities as a team and met a lot of people with successful businesses. We had a lot of motivational speeches from the speakers and it motivated me a lot. This experience made me see that there are a lot of opportunities out there, that we live in a small world, and that it’s not easy to go out there and be what you want. But, by having hope and inspiration ,and applying yourself, you can make your dreams come true.


Ghana is a beautiful country. The people there are wonderful and very convincing. When we went to the market place, we watched how the sellers sold themselves and how they were convincing tourists to buy their goods and not giving up. The people from the hotel were very friendly and the food was outstanding – the chefs outdid themselves every day.

Meeting people from other parts of Africa was a great form of networking and a great opportunity because, as they say, you never know who will be your future boss or future employee.

COY was a wonderful experience and, with the knowledge and guidance that was given, I plan on taking my dreams to the next level. Thanks to JA South Africa for giving me the opportunity to do so.


JASA MD Nelly Mofokeng filmed their presentation from the audience, which you can view here.



Catch Team Meraki’s presentation at Africa Regional COY 2018 here

Catch Team Meraki’s presentation at Africa COY 2018 here

Filmed by JASA MD Nelly Mofokeng, who was in the audience, the team ended with the wonderful advert they created for their magnifier screen and the audience was clearly engaged. Team Meraki are representing South Africa at the Africa regional Company of the Year Competition 2018, which is hosted by JA Ghana. The presentations took place yesterday, Thursday 6 December, and the winners will be announced at an awards ceremony this evening. We are holding thumbs for you Team Meraki!

Company of the Year winning team attend Youth Entrepreneurship Exchange

Meraki, school company team from McAuley House in Jhb, attended the Youth Entrepreneurship Exchange (YEEP)

 Thanks to generous sponsorship from Law Trust (@lawtrustinfosec), the Meraki team, who won the national Company of the Year competition 2018, could attend YEEP. This camp assisted them in their final preparations for JA Africa regional Company of the Year, which kicks off this Wed 5 December, in Ghana.

Over three days the participants, which also included @JASwaziland alumni, converged at @GEN22OnSloane to be exposed to design thinking, branding, finance, teamwork & pitching skills. They were divided into teams and had to come up with an idea that they pitched to a team of judges, with mentoring and coaching built into the programme.

JA South Africa MD Nelly Mofokeng and Programme Coordinator Elias Sebola were on hand to support the team and Nelly was also a member of the judging panel.


Congratulations to all the graduates at McAuley House

Sponsored by Delta, McAuley House students graduate from the Digital Enterprise Programme

Today, McAuley House Grade 10 and 11 students who participated in the JA South Africa Digital Enterprise Programme had their graduation ceremony. Thank you to Delta Airlines, a global sponsor of JA Worldwide, for sponsoring this programme locally.

One of the student company teams at McAuley House is Meraki, which won the South African national Company of the Year Competition. Four team members will represent South Africa at the Africa regional competition. In early December teams from 14 countries will meet in Ghana, which is the 2018 host country as well as the country where the JA Africa regional office is based.

The Meraki team are busy refining their presentations and their products in preparation for travelling to Ghana. They have also had to quickly apply for passports and visas to make sure they are ready to travel.

We wish them all the best with their preparations and we will keep you posted on their adventures in Ghana.

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 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 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, 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.


  • 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.

Congratulations to the Company of the Year 2018 winners

The Company of the Year 2018 winners were chosen at the presentation and awards evening hosted by Citi

After two days of intensive strategy, finance and pitching workshops,the first presentation round led to six of the nine provincial teams being shortlisted.

These teams pitched their student businesses to a panel of JASA alumni judges in the final presentation and awards evening, hosted by Citi at their offices in Sandton on Thursday July 12.

The Company of the Year 2018 winning team was Meraki, from McAuley House, Johannesburg in Gauteng. Their programme is funded by Delta. The team was represented by Gugulethu Ngwenyama and Amohelang Molefi. In the photo below, they are together with our four judges.

In the next photo the winning team celebrate with JASA MD Nelly Mofokeng, Citi representative, Foreign Exchange and Money Market Dealer, Nemu Manjezi and proud JASA Programmes Coordinator, Elias Sebola.

Meraki produces a portable projector that doubles as a screen magnifier, which can be used as mini-projector for small groups and assists with reading. Due to its affordability and portability the team aim to access a diverse market. Currently they are marketing their products at school assemblies, as well as through presentations, social media and word of mouth.


Dynasty, from Reahola Secondary School in Phuthaditjhaba in the Free State, who attended a programme funded by Investec,  took second place. The team was represented by Kelebokgile Hlalele and Bonolo Tshabalala.

Dynasty use matchsticks to make coasters that can be customised to suit their clients’ tastes. An innovative aspect of the design is that the coaster will have a heating element to keep cups warm, using a USB connection that can be plugged into a laptop. Marketing is done through social media, posters and word of mouth.

In third place was O’ My Garden from Northlands Girls High School in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. Their programme was funded by Citi and the team was represented by Caitlin Christopher and Tamzyn Naidoo. They sell glass jars containing succulents, planted in soil layered above pebbles and then wrapped with cellophane and a ribbon. The unit price is R30 and they had sold approximately 358 products by mid-June. Advertising is done by word of mouth.


The other three teams that made the shortlist of six included:

  • A-Team Productions from Lentegeur High School in the Western Cape, from a programme funded by Citi.
  • Eleven Levels, from Boresetse High, Barkly West in the Northern Cape, from a programme funded by Investec.
  • Tswarenang, from Sandtonview, Johannesburg in Gauteng, from a programme funded by General Electric’s Londvolota Fund.

Welcome addresses by JASA MD Nelly Mofokeng, JASA Board Chair Dolly Mokgatle and Citi’s Nemu Manjezi inspired the students to continue to shape their destinies.


Vumile Msweli, who runs Hesed Consulting, delivered a powerful address where she told stories from her own life and career. Also a JASA alumni, Msweli is a role model on how you can direct your career path and succeed, despite the odds. At times, while she was talking, there was a hushed silence followed by gasps of awe.

Thank you to our wonderful judges, all JASA alumni, as mentioned, who gave the participants constructive feedback in the Q&A after each presentation. They were:

  • Nombasa Hlathi, Cash Product Manager, Treasury and Trade Solutions Team, Citi
  • Sherishnie McDonald, who holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree and runs her own successful food and beverage business in Pretoria
  • Fulufhelo Miswe, a businessperson in the property and transportation industry in Alexandra, Johannesburg
  • Thabo Serame, award-winning entrepreneurship education leader in organisations including Wits, EY, Investec, Absa and Youth Leadership & Entrepreneurship Development (YLED), where he currently serves as Director of Finance and Board Member


Thabo Serame also gave some useful tips to the learners, as he handed out the awards. Having so many alumni speaking and involved in COY made the event extra special.

The first part of the event was MC’d by JASA Programmes Manager Terence Modiba and then actress and television and radio presenter Candice Modiselle took over for the latter half. Being a JASA alumni from 2011, she recounted the decisive impact the high school programme had made on her life, her choices and her confidence to approach life from an entrepreneurial perspective. She was excited to see JASA Programmes Coordinator Bonga Kumalo, whom she remembers fondly as the facilitator at her school.


We are grateful to Citi for our long-standing partnership. Not only do they support JASA by funding programmes but this is the fourth year in a row that they have hosted our national Company of the Year. As part of the event, the internationally renowned Mzansi Youth Choir performed.

The regional JA Africa Company of the Year 2018 will be held in Ghana in December, represented by four members from our winning team, Meraki. They will be accompanied by a chaperone on an all-expenses paid trip to Ghana, as well as receiving a cash equivalent prize for their school.

For all the photos of the event please click through to the Flickr album:



Company of the Year 2018 finalists gear up for the final presentation week

Nine provincial finalists are preparing for the final presentations of Company of the Year 2018

Two representatives from each school will come to Johannesburg for intensive workshops to hone their presentations. Then, in the first pitching session, a shortlist of five teams will be selected. These will go on to present in a final pitch and awards evening, sponsored by Citi and hosted at Citi in Sandton on Thursday July 12. They will have the opportunity to present their unique business ideas to a panel of four judges of business people and industry professionals. On the same evening the winners will be announced.

All students teams that have participated in JA South Africa Mini Enterprise and Entrepreneurship programmes were eligible to enter. Here are the final teams:

North West           Sedibelo Secondary, Saulspoort

Company: Phenomenal Art of Jupiter (PAJ)    Funder:Anglo American 2018

PAJ industries produce AfriVin Bracelets, which are made from hand-woven thread, personalised to include a person’s name using alphabet beads, and then painted. These bracelets are marketed to young men and women who have an eye for art and fashion.



The general manager explained that the programme has enabled him to discover skills he never knew he had. He has gained an understanding of how to apply market strategy, leadership and management skills to running a business and how these skills are especially important when you want to scale up.

Limpopo            Kgakoa Secondary, Makgodu

Company: Stay-Shining Enterprise    Funder: Anglo American

This company is making slippers and gloves made from synthetic cotton, in various colours, by hand. They would like to scale up production and be able to approach retail outlets, which will entail investing in a sewing machine. By mid-June the company had sold 10 pairs of slippers at R55 each and 15 pairs of gloves at R35 each.


Western Cape            Lentegeur High School, Cape Town

A-Team Productions    Funder: Citi

A-Team Productions make multi-purpose cellphone and accessory holders from new and used fabric. A selling point is that the various compartments that can store USBs, earphones and power banks, solving the problem of having to look for these items in different places. Since the holders can fold up and be secured using velcro, a zip or tied with a ribbon, they can easily fit into pockets and bags.

 The company plans to expand their range by extending into gift packs containing the multi-purpose holder with earphones, a USB cord and a power bank, that can be packaged for birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day and Christmas presents. They market on Facebook, in the school newsletter and on What’s App groups, where educators assisted by sending messages to parents, and a local community app.


Northern Cape            Boresetse High, Barkly West

Eleven Levels    Funder: Investec

Their Multipurpose Supplies Holders are designed to hold brooms, mops and cloths and are made from recycled materials. The product is versatile in that it can be installed in a cupboard or it can be hung on the wall and thus can be targeted at various markets, from individuals to institutions.


Eastern Cape           Vulamazibuko High, East London

Company: Sisonke Junior Achievers    Funder: Transnet

They resell snacks, stationary and other small items in small hand-made bags. By buying in bulk and then bundling products together, their assembled product makes it affordable for students with small incomes. Their initial idea was to make clutch bags but due to financial constraints, with some members not buying their shares timeously, they came up with the alternative of selling stationery and sweets in small bags. The bags and some of the accessories are made by the team.


Free State           Reahola Secondary School, Phuthaditjhaba

Company: Dynasty    Funder: Investec

Their product is a coaster made from matchsticks that has an African feel and can be custom-made to suit a client’s tastes and include branding for corporate gifts. An innovative aspect of the design is that the coaster will have a heating element to keep cups warm, using a USB connection that can be plugged into a laptop. Marketing is done through social media, posters and word of mouth.

Gauteng          McAuley House, Johannesburg

Company: Meraki    Funder: Delta

Meraki produces a portable projector that doubles as a screen magnifier. The magnifier is made out of glass and has a wooden stand. It can be used as mini-projector for small groups and assists with reading. Due to its affordability and portability the team aim to access a diverse market. Currently they are marketing their products at school assemblies, as well as through presentations, social media and word of mouth.

Gauteng           Sandtonview, Johannesburg

Company: Tswarenang Property Limited    Funder: Londvolota 

This company makes customised bookmarks made frpm paper, glitter and ribbons. Currently, the company uses word of mouth to target a broad range of readers. They are exploring the potential to grow by selling through bookstores and publishers.

KwaZulu-Natal           Northlands Girls High, Durban

Company: O’ My Garden    Funder: Citi

You can purchase a glass jar containing a succulent from O’ My Garden. The jar contains a succulent planted in soil layered above pebbles and is wrapped with cellophane and a ribbon. The unit price is R30 and they had sold approximately 358 products by mid-June. Advertising is done by word of mouth.


Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba’s address at the Africa Region Company of the Year Competition is worth watching as we reflect on Human Rights this week

Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba's address at the Africa Region Company of the Year Competition is worth watching as we reflect on Human Rights this week

We were honoured to have City of Johannesburg Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba as our guest speaker at the Awards Dinner of the JA Africa regional Company of the Year Competition 2017. In this address, he talks about growing up in Apartheid South Africa and his journey to becoming a successful businessperson. He succeeded against steep odds - going so far as to defy the law by starting a business as a black person when it was illegal to do so. He also inspired and motivated the students to follow their own path and carve out a future for themselves, particularly within the context of widespread youth unemployment. The event was graciously MC’d by radio host, actress and producer Relebogile Mabotja, who introduced the mayor.

Lebogang Chaka’s keynote address at JA Africa Company of the Year awards dinner

Lebogang Chaka, Keynote address, JA Africa Company of the Year awards dinner




Lebogang Chaka, CEO of Afro Visionary Legacy, gave this inspiring keynote address at the regional JA Africa Company of the Year Awards dinner, which was held on 8 Dec 2017 at the Gold Reef City Conference Centre in Johannesburg. JASA was the host country for the week-long event.

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