JA South Africa Company of the Year Competition 2017

JA South Africa Company of the Year Competition 2017

The final presentation evening of Junior Achievement’s 2017 Company of the Year competition was hosted by our sponsor Citi at their auditorium in Sandton on Thursday, 13 July.

A select group of finalists in Grades 10 and 11 from schools across the country, who participated in the JA South Africa Mini Enterprise and Entrepreneurship programmes, had the opportunity to demonstrate their talents and be recognised for their hard work and team efforts. Nine teams presented their unique business ideas to a judging panel of business people and other industry professionals.

From North West, the Sedibelo Secondary School’s company Epitome of Elite Industry was named the winning team for their innovative multi-purpose, non-toxic, environmentally-friendly cleaner made from natural ingredients including aloe and lemon.

Junior Achievement’s 2017 Company of the Year competition was hosted by Citi on Thursday, 13 July

Sedibelo Secondary School’ Epitome of Elite Industry were represented by Phemelo Motloba (left) and Mpho Ntshole.

Sedibelo Secondary School were awarded with a cash equivalent prize for their school and will be transported to Johannesburg to attend the JA Africa Regional Company of the Year Competition, taking place between 5 and 9 December 2017. South Africa is hosting the regional competition this year, in Johannesburg.

Second place was awarded to the team from Gresswold Secondary School in Johannesburg, Gauteng Their company Last Kings and Queens makes multi-purpose stationery desk containers from recycled materials, which are then decorated.

Ferrum High School’s Phola 911, from KwaZulu-Natal, took third place with their compact and affordable first aid kits target households and travellers.

Judges’ assessments were based on several criteria, including business idea clarity, the team’s ability to think critically, understanding basic business principles and the sustainability and relevance of the product or service to social responsibility.

Our guest speaker Nokwazi Mzobe founded the boutique consulting firm, Matoyana to enable more business owners in Africa to run successful, sustainable businesses and to promote a culture of entrepreneurship & innovative thinking. She generously gave two copies to each of the three winning teams of her book, The Small Business Handbook.

All learners attended a series of workshops where mentors helped them fine-tune their business ideas as well as their problem-solving, leadership and presentation skills to prepare them for the competition.

“JA South Africa’s partnership with Citi spans over 30 years, with Citi funding a number of programmes aimed at empowering school learners and out-of-school youth,” says JA South Africa MD Nelly Mofokeng. “This will be the third year that Citi has sponsored the JA South Africa Company of the Year event, and we are looking forward to a long and prosperous partnership in years to come.”

“The Citi Foundation has committed a US$100 million over the next three years to prepare 500,000 young people for today’s competitive job market,” explained Peter Crawley, CCO SA / TTS SSA Head. “With the rising youth unemployment rates globally, it is imperative to help youth build their confidence and cultivate their leadership skills and competitiveness.”

From left to right: Fortunate Huma, JA South Africa, Peter Crawley, Mastercard, Phemelo Motloba, Mpho Ntshole, Karabo Denelane, JA South Africa Board member and COY judge, Nelly Mofokeng, JA South Africa MD.

Schools who were selected to participate in the Company of the Year Competition are:


Business name

Product / service description

Gresswold Senior Secondary School, Johannesburg, Gauteng

Last Kings & Queens

Multi-purpose desk containers

Sedibelo Secondary School, Moruleng, Rustenburg, NW

Epitome of Elite Industry

Multi-purpose, environmentally-friendly cleaner made from natural ingredients including aloe and lemon

Custom-made beaded bracelets.

Kgakoa Secondary in Ramongwana, Limpopo

Dynasty Enterprise

Knitted wool slippers

Mhlume Secondary School, Mbombela, Mpumalanga

Super Achievers

Beaded bracelets, necklaces and rings

Clubview High School in Witsiehoek, Free State

Clubview Art Galore

Laundry bins in custom-made sizes from recycled wire and reeds

Ferrum High School in Newcastle, KwaZulu Natal

Phola 911

First aid kits

Douglas Mbopa Secondary School in Motherwell, EC

Shining Stars

Scented gel candles for different moods

Lentegeur Secondary School, Western Cape

Junior African Crafts

Dual beaded desktop mobile phone holder and photo frame

Emang Mmogo Comprehensive, Kimberly, Northern Cape

Unity Connections

Multi-purpose school bag covers

Company of the Year 2017

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