The winners of Junior Achievement South Africa’s (Jasa) Company of the Year competition are excited to take their business to the next level as they get ready to represent the country at a competition in Ghana in December.
The competition, sponsored by Citibank South Africa, is aimed at showcasing the community-driven business ideas of learners between grades 10 and 12 and drew groups from all over the country.
They pitched their ideas to a panel of judges comprising business owners and professionals from different sectors.
The winning business, Meraki from McAuley House in Gauteng, won the school R5 000 for a unique magnifier for mobile devices.
They will also get to compete in the continental competition. Elated Gugulethu Ngwenyama, one of the eight winning Grade 10 pupils, said: “This shows all our hard work and dedication to our product is being recognised.
We will use this opportunity as a platform to grow as a business.” She said she would never have expected a group assignment to turn into something as big as representing the country in an international competition.
“We believe this product will have an impact on people who have bad eyesight and people who cannot afford laptops and tablets.
“We obviously want to win in Ghana, but are looking forward to seeing the different ideas our peers are going to present.”
Nelly Mofokeng, managing director of Jasa, said “It’s essential for our youth to be introduced to the world of work and sustainable business at an early age, and the creative business ideas put forward at this year’s Company of the Year competition are testament to the success of our programmes.”
Citibank country officer Peter Crawley said the partnership with Junior Achievement through the Pathways to Progress initiative addresses the issue of youth unemployment.
“The Company of the Year programme tackles this matter head on by providing young people with the opportunities and training they need to start and run their own businesses successfully.”
Crawley added the initiative was “clearly changing the lives of young South Africans”.