The shortlist of the learners participating in the final phase of the iValue Entrepreneurship Programme has been announced.
Nineteen grade 11 learners from Kwena Molapo High School near Lanseria addressed a panel of four judges on 17 April 2015, using their newly acquired knowledge of business management and entrepreneurship to develop their feasible ideas. Over recent months, they had formed groups to work hard on their ideas and present them to the panel with the hopes of being selected to receive start-up capital for their business plans. Two of these groups – Matrix Play and iHealth – were announced as the winners. Matrix Play will be an internet service provider to learners at their school, while iHealth aims to accelerate living a healthy life style for schoolchildren.The iValue Entrepreneurship Programme, initially launched in 2014 as a pilot project, was targeted at a group of grade 10 learners with the aim to have at least five of the learners become entrepreneurs within the next five years.
With the help of second year students completing their Diplomas on Small Business Management at the University of Johannesburg, the learners have spent the past year developing their skills. Learners have been empowered to understand and apply entrepreneurial knowledge, skills and principles in their entrepreneurship projects, as well as identify viable entrepreneurial opportunities within their communities.
According to Carole Podetti Ngono, the Founder and Managing Director for the Valued Citizens Initiative, “The learners now have the entrepreneurial spirit and skillset to implement their business ideas successfully. Over the coming months, they’ll be afforded the opportunity of gaining real-world experience of running a business and forming relationships with stakeholders.”
As one of the Programme’s sponsors, South African Central Securities Depository Strate strongly believes the iValue initiative is aligned to government’s important objectives of addressing youth unemployment to foster sustainable economic growth. “Not only is South Africa confronted with high levels of unemployment, there is also an increasing number of discouraged work seekers among young people. Only some 7% of successful grade 12 learners in South Africa find employment in the formal sector. There is an urgent need for the promotion of entrepreneurship as a potential solution to youth unemployment, which is why initiatives such as the iValue Entrepreneurship Programme are vital. It enables young people to empower themselves, so that they can successfully contribute to the economy and inspire the people around them to follow in their steps and nurture their own entrepreneurial spirit,” explains Tanya Knowles, the Head of Strate’s Project Innovation and Business Services Division.
To ensure that the Programme continues to be sustainable, the learners will be tracked over a five-year period to ensure the successful implementation of their business ideas. Key Performance Indicators will be developed and measured on an annual basis. These measures will include operational areas, such as profits margins, growth of the business, job opportunities created, contracts with vendors, marketing exposure and sustainability.
Following the success of the pilot programme, the Valued Citizens Initiative will continue to search for learners to enrol in future iValue Entrepreneurship Programmes. The University of Johannesburg, Faculty of Management has also identified the need to tailor make a new programme and curricula to entrepreneurship. If successful it will be among the first tertiary institutions in South Africa to launch Bachelor in Entrepreneurship at undergraduate level.
“Learners who partake in the iValue programme will be afforded the opportunity to get a bursary to these new entrepreneurship programmes at UJ. In addition, the rest of South Africa or any prospective entrepreneurs will also be able to empower themselves and nurture their skills to become vital contributors to their own success, and in turn South Africa’s socio-economic development,” says Joyce Sibeko, Faculty Advisor for Enactus at the University of Johannesburg.