The JA ITS TYME Programme
This 20 session incubator style programme is targeted at out of school unemployed youth between the ages of 18 – 35 and is facilitated over three months. During this time students are required to start up and run a sustainable business. The programme is modelled on the highly successful Mini Enterprise Programme where students are introduced to business theory, after which they are required to start up their own businesses.
Programme objectives include:
– Students equipped with the necessary skills to establish a sustainable business
– Students start a sustainable small business
– Students made aware of resources available to support and advise them after completing the programme
– Students introduced to micro finance institutions as options for funding their business start ups
– Students assisted through a mentoring process for a period of six months after programme completion to ensure business sustainability
After intensive programme marketing, applications are received from interested students. A selection process is undertaken in an attempt to ensure the suitability of the applicants. The application process includes:
– An assessment of English literacy, both understanding and speaking
– An evaluation of propensity towards entrepreneurial activity
– Determination of the availability of the candidate to fully participate in the programme (they cannot be working or studying full time)
– Preference will be given to those candidates who have previously participated in a life skills or other business skills programme
– The candidates’ participation in and results of a small business exercise (the Ginger Beer Exercise)
As part of the selection process, students are required to participate in the Ginger Beer Exercise. In teams of 4 -5, students are provided with sufficient ingredients and a recipe to make up 20l of ginger beer which they are required to make and sell within a week. They are expected to learn quickly how to work effectively in a team, and to decide on their own on the selling price of the ginger beer, the marketing thereof and where they will conduct their sales.
During the next programme session, the teams report back on their sales and profits and any profits made are shared among the team. Those students who have not fully participated in the exercise are not accepted onto the formal programme.
The programme includes a community mapping exercise during which students are required to conduct a transect walk and map the assets, both physical and human, within their communities while identifying possible business opportunities where needs and wants are not being met.
In addition, they spend some time as individuals in mapping their own assets to assist them to identify their own particular skills and interests.
The first few sessions conclude with a session on trust, both among themselves and of the programme process and the facilitator.
The following 7 sessions relate to business theory and it is during these sessions that students are required to conduct and analyse their market research and finalise their product or service. Students may work individually or in teams of not larger than 5. Once they have confirmed the product/service, under the guidance of and with the support of the facilitator, the students launch their small businesses. During this process they also write up a fully comprehensive business plan for submission upon programme completion. Particular emphasis is placed on product/service costing and financial management and controls.
After completion of the formal structured programme, students are provided with comprehensive information on other business support programmes, micro finance opportunities and as well as interesting reading on small business management.
Prior to the launch of their small businesses, each student is required to invest R200 into their own business as start-up capital. JA South Africa is prepared to match that investment as a loan up to an amount of R1 200 to increase the available start-up capital. Students are also referred to micro finance institutions should more funding be required.
For a period of six months after graduating off the programme, the new business owners are supported through a mentoring process. This is conducted mainly telephonically and past experience has shown that even such telephonic mentoring assists the new entrepreneurs greatly. They value the support and advice provided immensely which motivates them to continue with their business ideas even through the most difficult times.
On 10 June, Tshepo Mdwaba and Anastasia Peters attended the ITS TYME Programme in Orange Farm where they met the 29 learners in attendance on the day and agreed, the programme is what is needed to create much-need entrepreneurs to bolster the South African economy and address the challenge of youth unemployment.