The Youth Entrepreneurship Programme is aimed at equipping unemployed youth with skills to become successful entrepreneurs. Picture: Dean Hutton/Bloomberg
JOHANNESBURG - Vodacom and Innovator Trust on Wednesday launched the Youth Entrepreneurship Programme (YEP).

The programme is aimed at equipping local unemployed youth with the requisite set of skills to become cutting-edge entrepreneurs.

Chief Officer of Corporate Affairs at Vodacom, Takalani Netshitenzhe, said the tailor-made youth entrepreneurial programme aims to drive innovations and create job opportunities that could bring significant changes to the local economy.

Netshitenzhe said to kick it off, Vodacom and Innovator Trust were offering 10 unemployed youth, based in Gauteng, who graduated from the Vodacom Academy Programme a spot in the programme. During the period of six months, the qualifying youth will receive business training from experienced facilitators and gain insight into business acumen.

“South Africa’s youth unemployment statistics are shooting through the roof, with the unemployment rate for under 25s at 67.4%, showing that two out of three South Africans aged 18 to 28 are unemployed. As a company with strong local roots and in partnership with Innovator Trust, YEP is part of our response to bolster our government’s efforts to curb the rising unemployment rate among young people in SA, given that entrepreneurship plays an influential role in driving economic growth and employment creation,” said Netshitenzhe.

Netshitenzhe said YEP would relate to the overall business development support required for 10 Vodacom Academy graduates by supporting them with developing their business idea, business model, business plan and other business development areas. In turn the graduates will increase their potential of becoming an entrepreneur, thus also increasing their prospect of qualifying for a Full Business Incubation Programme.

The programme would also include courses such as Pitching and Presentation Skills, Business Development, Marketing, Creating a Business Plan, Due Diligence and Compliance including CIPRO Requirements, Basics of Labour Law, New Companies Act/BEE, HR Management, and Financial Management, to mention a few.

Tashline Jooste, CEO of The Innovator Trust added, “While there is no doubt that entrepreneurs, especially in the ICT industry, are highly skilled individuals, who understand their product or service, they often lack business fundamentals that are needed to grow an existing SMME business. This is why it is important for Vodacom and Innovator Trust to partner in launching this programme. This is not only the opportunity for us to change the face of the Industry, but to also point these young up and coming entrepreneurs in the right direction, so they can to make a success of their businesses.”