Young Entrepreneurs will be honoured at the sixth annual National Youth Awards set to take place at the Silverstar Casino ballroom on December 4.
According to the general manager at Primestars, Nkosinathi Moshoana, thousands of high school learners from disadvantaged communities began this amazing journey in August 2019 by attending educational screenings of their Step Up 2 A Start Up (entrepreneurship) and Smartbucks (financial literacy) programmes at Ster Kinekor Cinemas across South Africa.
One of the participating schools which entered the competition this year is Charlotte Maxeke Secondary School from Tembisa. Charlotte Maxeke Secondary also produced the winning team for 2018. The finalists for 2019 will be announced this week following the conclusion of the adjudication process by the sponsors.
Moshoana said the awards ceremony will be the culmination of a five-month entrepreneurship development programme and competition targeted at 12 000 high school learners made possible by key sponsors, including Sasol, the MTN Foundation, Seda, Tsogo Sun, Liberty and Omnia.
“During the screenings, learners were exposed to lessons on how to start a successful tech-business and the importance of following basic principles of financial literacy, such as budgeting, saving and investing in order to master one’s personal finances,” said Moshoana.
The screenings were followed by a competition whereby teams comprising two or three learners and one teacher had to identify a problem in their communities and come up with a tech-business model to solve it. Furthermore, they had to prove their business case by demonstrating the commercial opportunity.
“Following the screenings, we collected over 1000 Step Up and Smartbucks competition entries which were followed by an adjudication process, completed by the sponsors to select the top teams,” he added.
The top nine teams will be invited to attend a Boot Camp in Johannesburg, where they will be coached by experienced facilitators and entrepreneurs to kick off the process of them becoming future business leaders.
The winning team will be selected by a sponsor-led Dragons’ Den session where participating learners will pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges and be assessed on the viability, scalability and sustainability of their business models.
The three-day boot camp is the final step leading up to the awards event where the winning teams will receive prizes including bursaries, incubation, funding, mentorship and digital gadgets. Prizes have been contributed by sponsors including Raizcorp, the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, Richfield, the Innovation Hub and Regenesys to name a few.
“We have an amazing line up of speakers, including the Minister of Small Business Development, Khumbudzo Ntshaveni, and Mr Jacko Maree who serves as a special envoy to the President of South Africa,” added Moshoana.
Kavita Pema, executive of sustainability at the Omnia, said investing in such programmes was an important part of nation building.
“It is always a privilege to be part of something so impactful on the lives of young learners. Financial literacy skills for learners are an essential tool for improving the financial capability of our youth and communities, and, ultimately, South Africa as a country.
“The Omnia Group is proud of every learner that participated in the Primestars Smartbucks programme and would like to congratulate all the winners,” said Pema.