Who we are

Who we are

Founded in 1919 in the United States, JA is operational in 118 countries globally. The organisation was established in South Africa in 1979 and for the past 38 years JA South Africa has been providing experiential business, entrepreneurial and life skills to young people aged between 8 and 35 years nationwide in both rural and urban environments.

Independently audited by Deloitte, JA South Africa has earned the reputation of being a financially well managed organisation that effectively utilises resources to achieve a far reaching impact on the lives of the youth of South Africa.

Our Vision

We are the platform of opportunity for every young person

Our Mission

To be the catalyst for every young person's entrepreneurial journey through our experiential programmes

Our Philosophy

Purposefully crafting #opportunitymakers

Our Values

Purposeful We have a firm commitment to creating #opportunitymakers
Responsive We react quickly and positively to opportunities in our environment
Bold We are courageous and daring in our mission to create a culture of #opportunitymakers
Aware We are knowledgeable and informed about the environment in which we operate
Professional We perform to the best of our abilities and in so doing, meet and exceed expectations of delivery
Accountable We are responsible and diligent in our approach to our work

As long ago as 1979, Dr Steven Black realised the potential for the Junior Achievement programmes, launched in 1920 in the United States, to make a positive contribution to economic and social transformation in South Africa. With the help and guidance of business advisors - volunteers from funding companies - young people from both the previously white only areas and the townships were brought together to learn business and entrepreneurial skills through practical, experiential programmes.

Since then, JA South Africa has been providing these essential skills to young people of all ages, across the country, in both rural and urban environments. Children as young as eight years of age are exposed to entrepreneurial and business activities in a fun and interactive manner. The core programme is one for young people from the ages of 16 to 25, where under the guidance of highly trained facilitators, participants are introduced to key business concepts before launching a small business of their own.

South Africa Today

In June 2017, youth unemployment hit a 13-year high to reach 38.6%‚ with 58% of the total of unemployed people aged between 15 and 34.

Although entrepreneurial activity is considered to be an important mechanism to address this massive challenge of youth unemployment, the current South African school curriculum does not provide for practical skills development in the understanding and management of economics, business, entrepreneurship and personal finances, leaving little scope for school leavers to shape a future for themselves through the establishment of a business.

For the past 38 years, JA South Africa, a non-governmental organisation supported by Junior Achievement Worldwide, has been providing these essential business and entrepreneurial skills to young people of all ages, across the country, in both rural and urban environments. Children as young as 10 years of age are exposed to entrepreneurial and business activities in a fun and interactive manner. The core programme is one for young people between the ages of 16 to 25, where under the guidance of highly trained facilitators, participants are introduced to key business concepts, after which they launch and manage a real small business.

Through some very turbulent times in our country, JA South Africa has never ceased to offer young people an alternative to formal employment, through the transference of practical business and entrepreneurial skills.

“In the mid-1980s, at an awards event, a young woman said that the JA South Africa programme was the only education she had received that year as schools had remained closed. This was during a particularly difficult time in our history.”