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    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: