From left, Nonjabulo Zikhali, Lebo Gunguluza, Nolwazi Sindane and Martin Sweet, the managing director at Primestars at the annual National Youth Awards. Photo: Supplied.
A group of young South African learners have been equipped with business knowledge and skills when they participated in the 2019 Step Up 2 A Start Up and Smartbucks programmes.
Outstanding learners who excelled in the programmes under the theme ‘Think Tech. Do Business’ were recognised at the sixth annual National Youth Awards that were held at Silverstar in Krugersdorp on 4 December.
This prestigious ceremony saw the private and public sector stakeholders gather in one venue to celebrate the achievement of these young minds who have shown determination to make a difference in their communities through technologically aligned businesses anchored by sound financial decisions.
The awards ceremony was a culmination of a five-month entrepreneurship development programme and competition targeted at 12 000 high school learners. It was made possible by key sponsors including Sasol, the MTN Foundation, Tsogo Sun, Liberty and Omnia with the support of SEDA.
This incredible educational journey began in August when thousands of Grade 9 to 11 learners attended screenings at Ster Kinekor Cinemas nationwide to learn about tech entrepreneurship and financial literacy, through the programmes.
The lessons were activated through nationwide screenings of two films. The financial literacy movie took them on a journey of a varsity student who ends up in debt because she made bad financial decisions.
At the cinema, learners received toolkits which reinforced the lessons communicated throughout the movie. The toolkit assisted them to implement the skills learned to develop their own business ideas and model canvasses to enter the Step Up 2 A Start Up Tech Entrepreneurship Competition.
With input from industry leaders and experts, the top nine entrepreneurial teams in South Africa that demonstrated the most innovative tech-enabled business models were identified to take up the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend an intensive three-day Entrepreneurship Boot Camp hosted at the Gordon Institute of Business Science in Johannesburg.
This led to the teams presenting their business models to a panel of judges in hopes of winning some of the amazing prizes and, of course, officially becoming the 2019 Step Up Young Entrepreneurs of the Year.
All finalists were awarded prizes comprising bursaries, business incubation, cash and gadgets, among others.
The ceremony also included the 2019 Primestars Lifetime Achievement Award being presented to Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi, who has contributed immensely towards sustaining educational programmes in South Africa.
“This year’s theme aligns with government’s goal of technological advancement in education, and aims to help South African youth harness technology to develop solutions and business models that help accelerate development, improve living standards and foster inclusive growth,” Martin Sweet, Managing Director at Primestars said, summing up this glorious empowerment initiative.