Johannesburg, South Africa – A youth entrepreneurship competition sponsored by Sasol; among others, is set to reach its climax with an Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for the finalists and an award ceremony this evening.
The Step Up 2 A Start-Up is open to learners in Grade 9 to 12 from predominantly underserviced areas. Since its inception in 2014, the programme has provided entrepreneurial education to more than 65 000 high school learners across South Africa. This year’s theme is “Think Tech. Do Business” and is designed to encourage entrepreneurs to use technology in setting up and running their businesses.
“It is important that young people are enabled to participate in the economy more meaningfully,” says Brenda Nkosi-Bakare, Head of Social Investment and Community Affairs at Sasol, adding “Our youth do not only want jobs, they want to be part of the solution to the many societal challenges through entrepreneurship.”
The learner’s journey to this evening’s award ceremony began in August this year with the viewing of an educational film developed with the Department of Basic Education to teach basic concepts of entrepreneurship. About 12 000 learners saw the film in 15 cinemas across all nine provinces.
The next step in the competition was the supply of an Environmental and Social Entrepreneurs Tool Kit for participating learners. The kit was developed in conjunction with Wits University, Regenesys Business School and the University of Stellenbosch Business School – Executive Development.
The kit provides an accessible, illustrated practical guide for educators and learners on how to identify and foster entrepreneurship in their school and how to develop a business based on the Lean Start Up methodology, which was pioneered by Yale graduate and start up guru Eric Ries. All the learners who viewed the educational film had access to the toolkit.
The youngsters then had an opportunity to enter the National Youth Entrepreneurship competition, which allows learners to apply their skills and stand a chance of bringing their entrepreneurial ideas to life. Teams of up to 3 learners were required to develop business ideas using the Tool Kit Framework and fill in questionnaires designed to test their entrepreneurial acumen.
The last step is the Boot Camp and National Entrepreneurship Awards where nine selected teams were shortlisted and finalists invited to attend an Entrepreneurs Hands-on Skills Development Boot-Camp in Pretoria, Gauteng. This is a 3-day intensive learning experience where top entrepreneurship educators and role models share their knowledge and experience with the finalists. The award ceremony will recognise three teams out of the nine finalist. Winners will receive prizes and bursaries from the various sponsors.
Nkosi-Bakare notes that the competition, which Sasol is sponsoring for the fifth consecutive year, has seen an improvement in the quality of business plan submissions. “This is why entrepreneurship, development and creating opportunities for youth owned businesses is at the core of our social investment strategy,” says Nkosi-Bakare.
The event takes place in Pretoria tonight.
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