A select group of 18 young entrepreneurs from across the country showcased their community-driven business ideas at the annual JA South Africa Company of the Year Competition, held at Citi Bank Plaza, Sandton on 14 July 2016.
The Competition, which acknowledges the growing importance of entrepreneurship among young South Africans who have the potential to contribute towards the country’s economic prosperity, is hosted in partnership with Citi. It highlights business ideas conceptualised by grade 10 – 11 learners participating in JA South Africa’s Mini Enterprise- and Entrepreneurship Academy Programmes.
The winning team was Core Vortex from McAuley House that presented decorative jars made from recycled material. They were awarded with a cash prize for their school, flights for the team and a chaperone to Harare, Zimbabwe to compete in the JA Africa Regional Company of the Year Competition taking place in December 2016.
Second and third place were awarded to Glamorous Creations from Stanger Manor Secondary School, KwaZulu Natal for its Medical Alert Bracelet that allows a person to carry vital medical information on them in style and Flip To Fold from Malibu High School, Western Cape that presented a clothes- folding device made from recyclable material respectively.
“Our experiential programmes run throughout the year and ignite a spark in young people to experience and realise the opportunities, realities and challenges of the working environment,” says Nelly Mofokeng, acting managing director of JA South Africa. “The creative business ideas put forward at this year’s Company of the Year Competition is testament to the success of our programmes.”
The learners, from nine different schools across South Africa, were selected to pitch their team business plans to a panel of external judges. All qualifying teams first attended a series of mentorship workshops leading up to the competition to help improve their business ideas, problem-solving, leadership and presentation skills.
Judges’ assessments were based on a number of criteria, including business idea clarity, the team’s ability to think critically, understanding basic business principles and the sustainability and relevance of the product or service to embodying social responsibility.
“Citi has funded JA experiential in-school and out-of- school programmes through a global partnership spanning over 30 years. We are proud to partner with Citi SA on this momentous occasion for the second consecutive year,” says Mofokeng.
“The Citi Foundation is focused on providing youth with the career readiness tools and opportunities needed to thrive in the 21st century economy. Together with JA South Africa, we are helping youth build an entrepreneurial mindset, acquire leadership, financial and workplace skills and begin to engage in the formal economy. The Company of the Year Competition has been nothing short of phenomenal. The teams showed real business acumen and presentation skills, which is rarely seen in entrepreneurs this young,” said Citi SSA Head of Trade and Treasury solutions, Peter Crawley.
Schools who were selected to participate in the Company of the Year Competition are:
||Product / service description
|Vulamazibuko High School in Mdantsane, Eastern Cape
||Seasonal school uniform with scarves, hats and rain jackets that can be branded for the school
|Stanger Manor Secondary School in Stanger, KwaZulu Natal
||Emergency charm bracelet to allow the person wearing the bracelet to carry vital medical information on them in style
|Phl Moraka, Sikhululekile and Makgetse High Schools in Hammanskraal, Gauteng
||Brooms and stationery containers made from recycled materials
|McAuley House in Parktown, Gauteng
||Decorative jars made from recycled materials
|Malibu High School in Blue Downs, Western Cape
||Flip To Fold
||Clothes-folding device made from recyclable materials
|St Anne’s High School in Bapong Village, North West
||Mobile movie screening and refreshments station
|Motse Maria High School in Ga-Mashashane, Limpopo
||Range of themed, beaded bracelets for various major events and special occasions.
|Suikerland Secondary in Malelane, Mpumalanga
||Custom-designed pens with a rubber grip for comfortable writing, topped with erasers shaped like each of the ‘Big Five’ animals
|Vuyolwethu High School in Ipeleng, Northern Cape
||Delectable range of themed toffee-apples
About JA South Africa
Junior Achievement South Africa (JA South Africa) is a non- profit organisation affiliated to JA Worldwide (www.jaworldwide.org), one of the largest business education organisations in the world, operating in over 120 countries. For the past 37 years, JA South Africa has been providing essential entrepreneurial and financial literacy programmes to young people of all ages, across the country, in both rural and urban environments. JA’s unique, experiential programmes ignite the spark in young people to experience and realize the opportunities and realities of work and life in the 21st century.
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