Monthly Archives: April 2013

Accelerating Entrepreneurship in Africa Report – Omidyar Network

Written by Linda McClure, Managing Director of Junior Achievement South Africa

The recently released research report published by Omidyar Network in partnership with Monitor Group makes interesting reading and warrants comment.

The report, titled Accelerating Entrepreneurship in Africa: Understanding Africa’s Challenges to Creating Opportunity-driven Entrepreneurship, surveyed entrepreneurs in six sub-Saharan countries, the results of which were then benchmarked against 19 global peers.

The survey focussed on four critical aspects of entrepreneurial environments:

–          Entrepreneurship assets (financing, skills and talents, and infrastructure)

–          Business support (government programmes and incubation)

–          Policy accelerators (legislation and administrative burdens)

–          Motivations and mindset (legitimacy, attitudes, and culture)

In South Africa, 75% of respondents do not believe that schools devote enough time to teaching entrepreneurship in schools.  As such, there are limited opportunities for learners to experience hands on learning in the field of business and entrepreneurship so necessary to foster and develop the practical thinking and problem solving skills essential when embarking on an entrepreneurial career.

Yet the education department has disappointingly excluded Economic and Management Sciences from the primary school curriculum, with the exception of Grade 7. This is not good for a country so desperately in need of new and sustainable businesses to not only grow our economy but address the extremely high levels of unemployment.

But what an opportunity for an organisation such as Junior Achievement which has actively worked in the school environment for over 33 years, providing exactly the kind of programmes recommended by this research – recommendations including entrepreneurial and vocational training being integrated into the education system, career guidance counselling that encourages entrepreneurship as a career, and the celebration of successful entrepreneurs to encourage those just starting out.

This is exactly what Junior Achievement is about. We fill a critical need in the education space where we run practical, hands on entrepreneurship education programmes, nationwide, during the course of which learners start up and run a REAL business. Market research is conducted, a product selected, money changes hands and is recorded and managed accordingly and profits are shared.

And participants may struggle with business risks, team conflicts, product and sales challenges, disappointing sales, and low profits. BUT they all learn the essential skills to move onto an entrepreneurial career upon leaving school with a can do and positive attitude.

And many of them do. Take Nthuthuko Shezi, who runs a successful 24 hour mobile panel beating business based conveniently at OR Tambo International Airport; Keagile Makgoba who offers services and catering to parties; Takura Mutemasango who runs youth empowerment programmes while managing her own handbag designing business; and Zaza Motha who launched a self-empowerment movement for young woman.

Through Junior Achievement Programmes, in 2012, over 2 000 high school learners across the country experienced the realities of starting up a small business.  We reached over 14 500 primary school learners with our financial literacy and environmental entrepreneurship programmes.  Although we are pleased with our reach, representing an increase from 2011 of 87%, we are not even reaching 1% of school learners. To achieve this, we need the support of the department of education and funding from all sectors – government, corporates and foundations. It is in the interests of all us in the country to ensure that young people develop the skills needed to actively and productively participate in the economy.

Our success in the school environment has lead us into the out of school youth unemployed sector with an action learning, incubator style programme for small groups of young, unemployed BUT enthusiastic and motivated individuals. With funding from Absa, we have launched 5 programmes in Gauteng alone, reaching over 170 unemployed youth to date, with more programmes planned for launch over the year. In 2012, we ran a number of these programmes in Cape Town with great success. It is indeed very gratifying to witness a student who, in his own words, has never completed anything before in his life, attending every programme session, and launching his own successful business offering a delivery service to take away food outlets.

The research also shows that although attitudes towards entrepreneurship as a viable and aspirational career are changing, only 44% of South African respondents agree that “most people consider becoming an entrepreneur a desirable career choice”, and only 47% agree that those who have started new businesses have a higher level of respect than a manager in a corporate. To address this relatively low level of respect, the research recommends programmes and media initiatives that honour the journeys of successful entrepreneurs and encourage those who have failed to try again.

So let’s celebrate our successes, ever mindful of the growing need, while grasping every opportunity we have to develop and grow young entrepreneurs. Join us in our work and see the massive impact we can have in developing entrepreneurial thinking in the young people of South Africa.


Young Unemployed Youth Receive Experiential Skills Development Training

Junior Achievement South Africa and Absa have joined forces to combat South Africa’s soaring youth unemployment figures by equipping young, aspiring entrepreneurs with the skills and experience needed to build sustainable, successful businesses.

JOHANNESBURG, APR 19, 2013 – Junior Achievement South Africa (JASA) launched their Immersion Training Strategy: Targeting Young Marginalised Youth (ITS TYME) programme in January this year.  Absa has generously committed to funding the ITS TYME programmes in South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia – reaching 4,050 unemployed youth from across the African continent over three years.

The ITS TYME programme is an intensive three to four month programme during which students meet once or twice a week for three hours.  ITS TYME is an incubator style entrepreneurship skills programme for out of school youth between the ages of 18 and 35 and is aimed at addressing the vast unemployment challenge facing young people in South Africa. The project also includes traditional workplace readiness skills, life skills, financial literacy and banking and saving.

All of JASA’s programmes involve real hands-on, experiential learning.  Participants form small businesses, elect managers, complete market research to determine a product or service that will sell in their community, manufacture the product and finally share in the profits. In so doing, they learn how to start and run their own business in a practical way.  The ITS TYME programme follows the same methodology, ensuring that students experience hands-on learning.  “JASA’s 33 years’ of experience running experiential programmes in the in-school market have provided a strong foundation in entrepreneurial education from which to expand into the out of school market.” Noted Linda McClure, JASA’s Managing Director.

ITS TYME programmes are already underway in Eersterus, Ivory Park, Kagiso, Khutsong, Heidelburg, Soweto and Thokoza and programmes are also planned in Tembisa, Rustenburg and Duduza in the near future.  Interest in the programme has been excellent in some areas, for example, in Khutsong there are already 45 students attending the programme and each week there are additional students wanting to join.

In total there are 17 ITS TYME programmes planned for the year, predominantly in Gauteng. Provision has also been made to run programmes in the Western Cape and North West Provinces.  The programme intends to reach 600 unemployed youth this year and JASA has partnered with several youth organisations including Siyafunda CTC, Khulisa Social Services, National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), Youth Making a Difference (YMAD), Seed Container Park (SECOPA) and the Kagiso Multipurpose Community Centre (MCC) to ensure that we reach this goal.   These organisations are in regular contact with unemployed youth throughout the country and these partnerships will ensure that the ITS TYME programme reaches the youth that have the greatest need.

“Although the out of school market is a challenging market in which to work, the need for this programme most definitely outweighs the risk.  Junior Achievement’s main purpose is to shape young entrepreneurs and to nurture entrepreneurial thinking, and we believe we are perfectly positioned to make a positive impact on the lives of unemployed youth in South Africa.” Concluded Linda McClure.

MasterCard Continues to Support Entrepreneurship in South Africa

R1 million donation from MasterCard to Junior Achievement introduces 440 learners – predominantly females – to the business environment

Johannesburg, 17 April 2013 MasterCard continues its support of entrepreneurship in South Africa, with a R1 million donation to Junior Achievement South Africa (JASA), which will see 440 learners from 11 South African high schools taking part in the 2013 Mini Enterprise Programme, a globally-recognised initiative that fosters entrepreneurship, particularly amongst females.

The Grade 10 and 11 learners selected for the programme have committed to attending preparation sessions after school hours. During these sessions they will be taught workplace readiness, and essential entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills in a 15-week programme. In addition to a theoretical grounding, the learners will gain practical interpersonal skills and business experience by starting up and managing their own businesses over the duration of the programme, which concludes on 31 July 2013.

“Entrepreneurs characteristically have ambition, determination and a flair for innovative, original ideas,” says Linda McClure, MD of JASA. “However, many lack the business expertise required to develop these into commercially-viable ventures. A key focus of our programme is female advancement and equipping learners with the skills they will need to launch their own businesses, in turn creating employment opportunities for others.”

JASA is the local chapter of the global non-profit organisation that partners with business communities, educators and volunteers worldwide — all working together to develop much-needed entrepreneurial skills in learners preparing for the working world after high school. Similarly, MasterCard has consistently focused on nurturing entrepreneurship in youth, with a strong focus on the empowerment of women.

The 2013 MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement found that female business owners, defined as those who generate paid employment for others, were significantly underrepresented in South Africa with fewer than 42 females owning businesses for every 100 male owners. This was in spite of the survey indicating that South African women had equal access to employment opportunities and tertiary education, and reasonable levels of workforce participation.

“We’re encouraged by the positive results of the 2012 JASA programme, says Philip Panaino, Division President, South Africa, MasterCard. “We are confident that as we collaborate with JASA for a third successive year, the country’s need for entrepreneurs continues to be addressed in a meaningful way.

“Our support of the programme also extends to the personal involvement of the members of our team,” Panaino adds. “Staff volunteers are giving their time to mentor and teach learners during the next 15 weeks, giving them first-hand insight into the commercial world.”

The 440 Grade 10 and 11 learners are from 11 schools in five provinces:

  • North West Province – St Anne’s High School
  • KwaZulu-Natal – Greenbury Secondary School, Crystal Point Secondary School, and  Ridge Park College
  • Western Cape – Kensington Senior Secondary School, and Villiersdorp Secondary School
  • Gauteng – Dawnview High School, Letsibogo Girls High School, Senaoane Secondary School, and McCauley House
  • Limpopo – Motse Maria High School

This year’s programme was launched at the Orlando Soccer Stadium in Soweto where keynote speakers Zaza Motha, a JASA alumni, journalist and entrepreneur, and Lebo Mashile, a popular performer, presenter and poet, captured the audience’s attention with their compelling stories of personal achievement. Motha encouraged and inspired the youthful guests with her experiences in founding POUT (Powerful, Outstanding, Unique and Talented), a self-empowerment movement for young women, while Mashile charmed and motivated the audience with her characteristic flair.

Ayanda Dube, a Grade 12 learner from McCauley House in Johannesburg took part in the JASA programme sponsored by MasterCard in 2012, and shared her insights with the learners gathered at the celebration:

“The JASA programme taught me that entrepreneurship is not necessarily all about money, BEE regulations, and tenders – it’s also a way to follow your dreams and aspirations. I always knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I didn’t know where to start. The programme helped me realise how to take the first step, and how to follow it through, armed with the skills and knowledge required to run a successful company. I understand that times will get tough, but if you are as persistent as I am, you’ll realise that success is within reach,” Dube said.

Young people around the world improve their employability through participation in the Social Innovation Relay

Johannesburg, 10 April 2013. Today, Junior Achievement Young Enterprise (JA-YE) Europe and the University of Warwick announce the impact of the 2012 Social Innovation Relay – a global competition organized in collaboration with HP that challenges secondary school students to develop an innovative business concept that addresses a social need. In 2012, there were over 20,000 participants from 13[1] countries. The University of Warwick evaluated the program and demonstrated the significant impact of the Social Innovation Relay (SIR) in terms of 21st century skills (teamwork, problem-solving, and decision-making skills) as well as use of technology, and the potential of social entrepreneurship. The results of this public-private collaboration show the importance that e-mentoring and technology can play on the employability and entrepreneurship potential of young people.

Today’s job market is more competitive than ever and employers expect high levels of entrepreneurial and ICT skills from the next generation of employees. Unfortunately, many students do not have the opportunity to learn and develop in these areas, leaving them to struggle upon graduation. In fact, the European Commission estimates that less than 5% of young people in Europe participate in entrepreneurship education in school. Elsewhere in the world, this percentage is even lower.

In response, Junior Achievement Young Enterprise (JA-YE) Europe worked with the HP Sustainability and Social Innovation group to create the SIR to build competencies and interest in entrepreneurship and social innovation while cultivating critical 21st century skills.  To have greater reach and impact, technology was firmly integrated in the project design, a first for JA-YE which has traditional depended solely on face-to-face engagement.  Now, in the program’s 3rd year, student teams from 19 countries worldwide are creating and developing new business concepts intended to address a social or environmental impact.

The University of Warwick evaluated and demonstrated the significant impact of the Social Innovation Relay.  Overall:

  • 80% of the student participants agree or strongly agree that they understand what social innovation is as a result of their participation in the SIR;
  • 71% of the student participants agree or strongly agree that they are more aware that social and business objectives can be complementary as a result of participating in the SIR;
  • 74% of the student participants agree or strongly agree that they have learned how to work with others in new ways to address social needs;
  • 76% of the student participants agree or strongly agree  that they have developed their ability for creative thinking following participation in the SIR;
  • 72% of the student participants agree or strongly agree that they better understand the importance of ICT in pursuing social and business initiatives;
  • The vast majority of the student participants reported improvements in their communication skills (87%), teamwork skills (74%), decision-making skills (72%) and problem-solving skills (67%).

The SIR presents students with the challenges of social innovation. Students work in teams to develop new strategies and concepts to help meet various social needs and create a positive social impact. Participating students communicate and present their ideas using the latest software and digital technology. More than 22,000 students from 13 countries formed 1,564 teams that registered for last year’s relay. The top 20 teams in each country were paired with HP employees from around the world, who connected with the finalists, virtually or face-to-face, to help them bring their concepts to life. Thirteen teams competed in the final round of the competition and their submissions were judged virtually by judges from HP using HPVR technology.

Entrepreneurship education empowered by e-mentoring

This effort would not have been possible without the active engagement of the HP volunteers who were trained to serve as e-mentors. According to student survey respondents, mentors had a positive impact on their learning outcomes. Survey respondents reported that their mentors improved their considerations for social issues (80%); and provided real-life examples and stories that were not to be found in books (75%). Almost two-thirds reported that their mentor had made them consider starting up a social business. Those student teams who engaged virtually with their mentor were even more likely to experience positive learning outcomes, a strong testament to the value of e-mentorship.

ICT key driver in pursuing social and business initiatives

The Warwick University study confirms that students who participated in the SIR believe they are better able to understand the importance of ICT in pursuing social and business initiatives. ICT provides new and exciting opportunities to students for competitive collaboration within and across countries and across business and education communities. Two-thirds of participating students agree that ICT has made participation in the SIR interesting and 70% agree that ICT has made their learning fast and easy.

To read the full report, click here

[1] Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Egypt, France, India, Kenya, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Slovakia, UK, USA

MONEY MATTERS: Teach them young and avoid hard lessons later

*This article was first published in Sunday Times: Money & Careers

Apr 7, 2013 | Warren Ingram

Your offspring would do well to fear credit cards and personal loans
CHILDREN who grow up understanding money will have a real advantage in life – and the sooner parents start teaching their offspring about this vital part of modern living the better. Our values in terms of money are formed at an early age, so it is important for the lessons of good money habits to start from the moment children can speak. It will be almost impossible for them to change these habits when they are parents themselves. These are the principal points you need to drum home:

What you need vs what you want

We need to help children understand that their financial resources will always be limited. Often, parents try to give their children everything they want, especially sought-after items such as smartphones.

Use your children’s demands for these items as an opportunity for a money lesson. If they want a smartphone, help them to work out how to earn and save enough money to get one, rather than simply buying one for them. This should include doing extra chores at home to earn additional money, which establishes the principle that extra work leads to more money.

You could also help them to open a savings account in which their money can earn interest until they have sufficient funds to buy the phone they want.

You might even teach children how to start a small business to earn money to buy the things they want. The lessons involved in this sort of project are numerous – marketing, negotiating prices, scheduling workloads and determining what resources are required.

Budgeting basics

Don’t shield children from the real cost of food, clothing and luxuries, because they will need to understand these costs when they live on their own. You could start to involve them in your budgeting decisions by, for example, telling them what the family spends every month and how this relates to the family income.

Teaching your children how to budget is nearly as important as teaching them to read. It should be second nature by the time they leave school.

But try to impart knowledge about money without burdening your children with guilt.

When times are tough, use the situation as an opportunity to explain how the family will adapt and, more importantly, how to develop a plan to work yourselves out of your situation.

Investing for the future

By the time your child is in high school, you should be discussing how their savings should be invested. Few young adults know anything about investing. They might have heard of concepts such as unit trusts and shares, but they have limited understanding of what these are.

Take the time to explain these concepts to your children and start investing some of their money in a unit trust or exchange-traded fund, such as Satrix, to teach them real-life lessons about investing.

Teach them to fear debt

One of the most important lessons about money will be how they manage – and preferably avoid – debt. Try to raise children who have a fear of credit cards and loans.

The one factor that most often leads to financial success is the ability to save and avoid debt. Few people manage to do this, which is why so few people are able to retire comfortably.

Consistent discipline

Your children need to learn that financial success is achieved by consistently spending less than they earn. Achieving a balance between instant gratification and long-term discipline is critical. If your children have this discipline by the time they leave home, you will have given them a head start in life.

Warren Ingram is a certified financial planner and wealth manager who has been advising people about their investments since 1996. He is a director of Galileo Capital

HSBC Staff Volunteer at Sandtonview Combined School

8 very busy HSBC staff volunteered some of their time to assist 80 Grade 5 and 6 learners from Sandtonview Combined School.  The learners are participating in a Junior Achievement Programme sponsored by HSBC known as the JA More than Money (MTM) Programme.  The JA MTM programme is a six to eight week programme that teaches primary school learners fundamental financial literacy specifically focusing on budgeting, saving and banking.  The HSBC staff volunteered during week 4 of the programme which involved facilitating the learners playing a board game, designed by HSBC to teach the learners about the benefits of saving and investing money.  This is the 3rd year that Junior Achievement South Africa (JASA) and HSBC have run the JA MTM programme at the school and each year the number of learners attending the programme increases dramtically.

Fadeela Laher, Programme Co-Ordinator for Junior Achievement South Africa (JASA) noted that the learners always benefit from visits from volunteers as it allows them to interact with people they wouldn’t usually interact with.  The learners all enjoyed the visit and learnt a lot from the volunteers, who were up for the challenge and fielded a wide variety of questions from their groups of learners.