Entrepreneurship is the Winner in the 2014 Junior Innovators Competition
One of the highlights of the Junior Achievement South Africa (JASA) year is the Junior Innovators competition hosted by Investec – and this year’s event proved to be no exception, with 45 learners in Grades 10, 11 and 12 putting their entrepreneurial ideas to the test in the final round of the competition.
The 45 finalists were among the hundreds of high school learners nationwide who participated in JASA’s Mini Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Academy programmes, during which learners nurtured the skills needed to launch and manage their own small businesses.
During the final week of the school-based programmes, JA South Africa alumni were on hand to mentor the finalists, to help them refine their business ideas and give them insights into microeconomics, business ethics and the practical details of being an entrepreneur. The finalists then participated in a four-day workshop at Investec’s offices in Sandton, giving them exposure to a dynamic work environment and providing further mentorship to help them finesse their business ideas.
Tsakane Sono, a Grade 11 learner from McAuley House in Gauteng walked away with the coveted 2014 Junior Innovator title for her ‘Heating Kettle Bottle’ idea and was awarded a R60 000 bursary towards her tertiary studies at a university of her choice. She plans to study a business-related degree when she finishes Grade 12, and wants to see her business proposal become a reality.
JASA’s partnership with Investec has run for three years and is a wonderful example of how a big corporate can make a meaningful difference in the lives of young South Africans. Its practical nature shows South Africa’s youth that they can be job creators too – they can be so much more than job seekers.
Karabo Denalane, Dudu Nchoba and Sthembiso Tshabalala Join the JA South Africa Board
We’re excited to announce that the JA South Africa Board has welcomed three new Board members.
Karabo Denalane, Dudu Nchoba and Sthembiso Tshabalala have agreed to offer their wisdom, experience and insights to the organisation as we grow and diversify.
Karabo is Managing Director of McCann Johannesburg, and has worked at other heavyweight advertising agencies such as Ogilvy & Mather, Grey South Africa and FCB Lindsay Smithers, as well as launching his own agency, In-Continuum Communications Concepts in 2003. He also worked client-side for Cell C during its launch years.
Karabo brings a wealth of advertising, marketing and branding experience to the Board, along with his creativity and passion for entrepreneurship.
Dudu is Chief Director of Marketing at the Department of Arts and Culture and has held positions such as Campaigns Manager for the 2010 FIFA World Cup local organising committee, Communications Manager for Tiger Brands, Executive Manager of Marketing for the Morula Casino and Hotel at Sun International, and Campaigns Manager at Standard Bank.
Her experience on international campaigns as well as her insights gained from launching her own communications consultancy sees her well equipped to play a guiding role in JASA into the future.
Sthembiso is a JA South Africa alumni, and is currently employed as a senior audit trainee at Deloitte & Touche. We’re looking forward to have the insights of his experience with the JA South Africa programmes on the Board, as well as his insights from his current role in one of the world’s largest auditing firms.
We welcome Karabo, Dudu and Sthembiso, and look forward to working with them as we expand JA South Africa’s footprint.
Young Entrepreneurs Give Back to their Community
The Vini Club Company from JM Ntsime Secondary School in the North West Province wanted to give back to their community after they completed their Entrepreneurship Academy Programme, and enlisted the help of local JA South Africa agent Zipporah Segabetla to do so.
The team had beads left over from the business that it launched and managed as part of the programme, and made items of jewellery that they gave to people in their community. They then turned to their fellow learners at the school, asking each one to donate just 50 cents to their cause. The Vini Club Company members then doubled the total donations from their friends from their business’s profits by adding money from their own pockets.
They used the money to buy cleaning materials and seeds, and headed to the St Catharina Hospice, home to 15 elderly adults and three children, where they spent a day cleaning floors, walls and windows, and washing and ironing linen. They also designed and planted a flower and vegetable garden.
“We are so proud of the learners for undertaking this initiative. It shows that they truly understand how successful entrepreneurs can make all kinds of difference in their communities, whether it’s by creating jobs or by helping to take care of people who are unable to look after themselves,” Zipporah says.
The Digital Mini-Enterprise Programme Goes Live!
JA South Africa has been working on creating a digital version of the Mini Enterprise Programme for some time and we were delighted to have launched it on 6 October 2014 at the Allanridge Secondary School in Gauteng, in one of seven such pilot programmes across the country.
Bonga Khumalo from JA South Africa introduced the digital programme to 42 enthusiastic Grade 10 learners during the recent school holidays. Each learner was given a tablet computer for the day, loaded with the course material.
Once the students were familiarised with the tablets and material, they were comfortable to carry on working with the programme independently until 2 November. Once the pilot phase is complete in November, Bonga and the JA South Africa team will evaluate whether the digital version of the programme can be used in urban and rural areas, and whether the programme can be introduced nationwide.
“When we worked with the learners during the holidays, we saw that they found the digital programme interesting, exciting and that is easier to find information,” says Bonga.
“The programme is very interactive and the learners found it easier to complete assignments before moving to the next level. The facilitators also value the digital programme, because they no longer have to carry a lot of course material around with them on public transport, when they travel from school to school.”
The digital Mini Enterprise Programme makes it easier for learners to work through the course outcomes, which include conducting a needs analysis ahead of initiating a new business, conducting market research and analysis, determining a break-even point, leadership and working as a team towards a common goal, and business planning and strategy.
‘Moving Ideas’ Gets Rolling
One of our exciting collaborations during 2014 has been the Moving Ideas competition, a joint collaboration between JA South Africa, Transnet and the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS).
Transnet and the SABS sponsored five 20-session Entrepreneurship Academy Programmes – two in East London, one in De Aar, one in Rustenburg, and one in Qwa Qwa. The five most promising learners from each programme were named the finalists, and brought to Pretoria for an all-expenses-paid innovation experience at the SABS Design Institute.
JA South Africa facilitators visited each school to prepare the learners for this experience, polishing their design and innovation skills. Many learners had never travelled beyond their home towns or flown in an aeroplane, making this a particularly exciting adventure for them.
The programme in Pretoria included theory and practical sessions, reviewing case studies, and outings to inspiring venues like the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Johannesburg. The learners presented their fine-tuned business cases to a panel on the final morning of their trip, leaving the experience enriched and inspired. The three winners each received a tablet with design software already installed.
“The learners thoroughly enjoyed the whole interaction. It exposed them to life experiences that they would otherwise never have had access to,” says Joanne Bender, National Programmes Manager at JA South Africa, who was present for the workshops.
“There were many valuable results from the programme and we’re confident that the learners are going to take their learnings and achievements from the programme to become leaders in business and their communities.”
The 2014 Moving Ideas competition is the first in a five-year partnership that includes entrepreneurship programmes for school learners, young adults, and SMMEs with a stated intent of stimulating job creation and employment in South Africa.
Leigh-Ann Lock Takes JA South Africa Skills to Plot Her Career
Leigh-Ann Loch, who matriculated at Glenvista High School in Gauteng at the end of 2013, participated in the Mini Enterprise programme in 2012, while in Grade 11.
She was part of a 15-person team/business called Legends Pty Ltd, which sold Boho bags and handmade charm bracelets, and she fulfilled the role of HR Manager.
“I learned that team work is key to running a business, and that you need to trust your team completely to be a success,” says Leigh-Ann. “Starting a business is a huge risk in so many ways, but it is a good thing that builds character.”
The programme also helped Leigh-Ann decide on her career path. She had planned to study HR or Law when she left school, but her experiences of HR during the programme made her realise that this avenue was not for her. She is currently working on an undergraduate degree at the University of Johannesburg, after which she hopes to complete her LLB and Masters degrees, with a long-term goal of opening her own law firm, specialising in family law.
“Before I took part in the programme, I didn’t really work well in teams and I was a perfectionist, getting very frustrated when people working with me didn’t do things the way I wanted them to,” she says.
“The programme taught me to share responsibility and to allow everyone in the team around me to contribute ideas. I also learned valuable communications skills, and how to manage people. I’m really glad that I did the programme as it has taught me such important skills for life and for business.”