A business proposal to ensure easier access to fresh produce for their community secured a Khayelitsha high school trio a top-10 spot in a national green entrepreneurship competition – with prizes that include bursaries, tablets and vouchers.
The team from Chris Hani Secondary School was a finalist at the Step Up 2A Green Start Up National Youth Entrepreneurship Awards, which culminated in a prestigious ceremony held at Nedbank, in Sandton, last week.
The first prize went to a team of three from KwaZulu-Natal for their concept of using Marula nuts as a fuel source.
Grade 11 learners Lindokuhle Lamani, Asemahle Ncinane and Busisa Mnyazi identified the need for easier access to fruits and vegetables for street vendors, schools and retirement homes in their community in order to address high transport costs and safety risks.
The concept involves producing and selling fruit and vegetables within the community and involved the secondary business of repurposing unused plastics and tyres into gardening equipment.
“It means so much that we came in the top 10. It shows us we are capable of great things. We now need an investor to make this a reality and make a change in our community. We learnt so much at the boot camp, even though it was tiring and hard,” said Lamani.
Team members each received a degree bursary from Richfield to the value of R112 000; a bursary to the Johannesburg Business School’s Entrepreneurship Programme to the value of R50 000; a tablet sponsored by Sizwe IT Africa Group and access to the coveted Imbewu Facilitation for Transformation Programme.
The Step Up 2 A Green Start Up National Youth Green Entrepreneurship Programme, run by youth development agency Primestars, has over the last eight years shown nearly 100 000 youngsters how they hold the power to be a positive force for both the planet and job-hungry South Africans by harnessing environmental challenges as new business opportunities.
“To create entrepreneurs and reduce our high unemployment rate, our youth will need to learn skills and develop competencies that will enable them to create businesses and become gainful employers in a circular, restorative, inclusive and clean economy,” said Primestars’ MD Martin Sweet at the event.
To demonstrate practical inspiration for the journeys that the bright young entrepreneurs are about to embark on, two business excellence categories were put forward to recognise distinguished South African entrepreneurs.
The prestigious Trailblazer of The Year Award was accepted by Alan Fainman, CEO of Bidvest Services International; and Mandla Mpofu, on behalf of Omnia Holdings, walked away with the coveted Innovator of the Year award for their ground-breaking Nutriology brand in the agricultural space.
The award ceremony marks the last stage of the 2022 instalment of the Step Up 2A Start Up programme.
In the days running up to the event, learners and teachers had also participated in a business boot camp in Johannesburg, with workshops led by representatives from a few of the programme partners, including Nedbank, Richfield, Sizwe Africa IT Group, Johannesburg Business School, Uber, Allan Gray Entrepreneurship Challenge, Raizcorp and Clicks.
“As young people, if you want to be an entrepreneur, you must enter the journey to leave a legacy,” said Seriti Resources’ CEO Mike Teke, who delivered a candid but inspirational keynote address.
Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu said, “We all know that start-up entrepreneurs need a multiplicity of support.”
This support came through from the programme’s sponsors with prizes valued at over R5 million.
Besides the bursaries, other prizes for learners included a trip to Silicon Valley sponsored by Sage/EGL Institute; access to business incubator Razicorp’s P3 programme and Seed Academy’s internship programme; seed funding of R20 000; and vouchers from Markhams and Clicks.
Prizes for teachers also included tablets, as well as an invitation to attend Allan Gray Orbis Foundation’s Circle of Excellence Conference. Additional prizes were pledged on the spot by EOH, Proudly South African and the Signa Group.
The Step Up 2A Green Start Up programme consists of four stages:
● The Edutainment Feature Film (Karabo’s Kitchen), which tackles the potential of social and environmental entrepreneurship, using a network of cinemas to reach thousands of young people.
● The Entrepreneurs Tool Kit, which provides a practical step-by-step guide based on the Lean Start-up methodology.
● The Step Up 2A Start Up National Youth Entrepreneurship Competition, where school teams’ ideas are heard, tested, and supported.
● The Boot Camp and National Youth Entrepreneurship Awards.
“Primestars is extremely passionate about this programme, and we are honoured to have sponsors on board that share the same passion for the programme and the potential it holds in offering young South Africans a better future,” concluded Sweet.