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    Congratulations to Gauteng graduates of the Mastercard-funded Youth Enterprise Development Programme 2018

    Well done Gauteng YEDP Class of 2018!

    On Thursday 26 July, 128 Gauteng-based young women graduated from the coursework component of the JASA Youth Enterprise Development Programme. Many of these women rented gowns for the ceremony that was generously hosted by SAP at their offices in Woodmead.

    “Together with likeminded organisations like JASA, we can advance opportunities for young South African women by helping them develop the skills and expertise they need to thrive as entrepreneurs, in turn empowering them to better able to provide for themselves and their families. This creates knowledge transfer and employment opportunities for their community, too” – Mark Elliott, Division President for South Africa at Mastercard.

    Mastercard has partnered with JA South Africa for the past eight years, reaching 2 500 young women during this time.

    In the first six years, Mastercard sponsored the high school Enterprise programme and in the past two years they have been sponsoring the out-of-school Youth Enterprise Programme, aimed at young adults. There are also Mastercard-funded programmes running in the Western Cape and Limpopo and a further 50 or so women will be graduating in these regions.

    The Gauteng participants attended classes at four community centres run by Siyafunda, which is the key implementing partner. In addition to providing venues, Siyafunda also conducts the computer skills training. Graduates from the programme receive a NQF level 4 Services Seta-accredited Youth Enterprise Development Certificate and the Intel Learn Easy Steps Digital Literacy Certificate. Here are some of the staff members of our implementing partner, Siyafunda,together with JASA alumnus Nthabiseng Tomotomo.

    In his welcome address, Sunil Geness, Director of Government Relations and CSR at SAP urged the graduates not to be afraid to think big. He explained how SAP started when a few engineers left IBM to start their own company in the 1970s. Since then, the business has grown to have a presence in 180 countries.

    JASA Board Chair Dolly Mokgatle gave an example of another global company with humble beginnings. These days Jo Malone cosmetics are sold globally under parent company Esteé Lauder but it all began with a women dabbling in her kitchen to mix ingredients for body lotion.

    “Empowering young women to rise above systemic challenges and be able to meaningfully participate in the economy through experiential entrepreneurship training and mentorship is key to developing self-sufficient communities” – Nelly Mofokeng, Managing Director at JA South Africa

    All of the Gauteng graduates have committed to the mentoring phase, which happens over the next six months. This will assist them to tackle some of the challenges start-up businesses face, such as accessing finance and markets beyond their communities and refining their products.

    In addition to being assisted to start sustainable businesses, alumni are exposed to further opportunities through the JASA network. Nthabiseng Tomotomo is a 2017 alumnus who had the opportunity to pitch at a We Connect conference, as an example.

    She spoke at the graduation ceremony, explaining how being an employee had been frustrating for her. Wanting to start a business, she joined the closest JASA programme in 2017, which meant commuting from Soweto to Katlehong to attend classes. Her commitment has paid off as she builds her business, Baby Sonic, which delivers baby and personal hygiene products to busy mothers, as the primary target market.

    We honour the hard work of all the graduates and send out a big congratulations!

    Here are some photos taken at the event by photographer Melvin Modiselle, who came along with her mother Evelyn, who was a graduate.