Young entrepreneurs from Gauteng public schools to compete at UJ

Nearly 100 Grade 11 pupils from four public high schools around Gauteng are expected to gather at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) on Thursday, 18 April 2019 to pitch business ideas in the hopes of seeing their entrepreneurial dreams realised. Picture: Supplied

Nearly 100 Grade 11 pupils from four public high schools around Gauteng are expected to gather at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) on Thursday, 18 April 2019 to pitch business ideas in the hopes of seeing their entrepreneurial dreams realised. Picture: Supplied

The programme focuses on providing entrepreneurial skills to Grade 10 and 11 pupils to teach them to run ethical and successful businesses.

Nearly 100 Grade 11 learners,who are part of the Valued Citizens Initiative’s iValue Entrepreneurship Programme, from four public high schools in Gauteng are expected to pitch their business ideas at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) on Thursday.

The programme focuses on providing entrepreneurial skills to Grade 10 and 11 pupils to teach them to run ethical and successful businesses.

The pupils from Forte Secondary School in Dobsonville, Mokgome Secondary School in Meadowlands, Emadwaleni Secondary School in Umzimhlophe and SG Mafeasa Secondary School in Kagiso are in their final year of the two-year programme. Each of the schools is represented by no more than five groups and their business ideas are ready for the pitch.

The teams will present their business ideas to a panel of three representatives from Strate, a South African central securities depository that provides electronic settlement for equities, bonds and money market securities, UJ and Valued Citizens Initiative, a non-government organisation that runs life skills programmes in public schools.

All three organisations are partners in the iValue Entrepreneurship Programme with Strate as the main funder and UJ supplying mentorship for the pupils through their second-year students doing a National Diploma in Small Business Management.

“Becoming an entrepreneur is about being creative and purpose-driven, being an independent thinker, a problem-solver and having an appetite to take risks,” said Carole Podetti Ngono, managing director of Valued Citizens Initiative.

“The power of such programmes lies in their impact, which goes far beyond the learners who participate in this programme and permeate into their families, communities, futures and the country as a whole.”

According to the SME Landscape Report, an Assessment of South Africa’s SME Landscape: Challenges, Opportunities, Risks & Next Steps’ 2018/2019 launched last week, there was reason to be optimistic.

Seventy-four percent of South African entrepreneurs said they launched their businesses to have a positive impact in society, followed by 65 percent who said they had the desire to create something, and 57 percent said it was the necessity for earning a living.

Selected in 2018, the learners were clear entrepreneurship was a way to get out of poverty and be rewarded for creating a successful business which adds value to the community.

“As the learners run their businesses for a year, trust becomes instrumental within their teams and the running of their business.

“Ethical values-driven business people are necessary for the future of South Africa’s economy and values should be taught alongside with business acumen. There’s no better time to learn than at this stage before Matric,” Podetti-Ngono said.

This week, one to two groups from each school will be selected to compete for the pitch and then run their business idea. The winning teams will get start-up capital based on their pitch by way of resources that will bring their business ideas to life.

These groups will then continue with the programme and the team that makes the most profit at the end will win a cash prize towards their business.

African News Agency (ANA)

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