Accelerating the creation of jobs and youth economic empowerment
On Saturday 30 November 2019, the Alumni Network held its inaugural Annual Business Summit at the Belron Training Centre in Braamfontein. The Summit was a culmination of an entrepreneurial competition that began in August 2019 and challenged existing Alumni Network members to craft compelling business plans for their existing businesses or business ideas.
The competition aimed to strengthen the entrepreneurial education already underway within Afrika Tikkun’s Work Readiness Programme. In the process, these young people were exposed to training, coaching and mentorship in the context of entrepreneurship. At several stages of the competition, competitors advanced to the next stage until thirteen finalists (nine from Johannesburg and four from Cape Town) met at the Business Summit, the final leg of the contest.
The event was attended by Afrika Tikkun’s CEO Marc Lubner, Craig Van Buuren, the Business Unit Lead for the Training Division at Afrika Tikkun Services, and over 60 Alumni Network members. In his inspiring address to the group where he charted his own entrepreneurial and philanthropic journey, Marc Lubner noted, “Starting a business is not about money but about passion to change other people’s lives and communities”.
Each of the thirteen finalists presented a concise pitch of their business or business idea to a panel of esteemed adjudicators who are experts in the entrepreneurial space. They included Robin Bleekers of Letsema Consulting, Dave Wilson of the National Mentorship Movement and Lindiwe Mdaki, a Youth Development Specialists. The finalists were drawn from a number of sectors including fashion and retail, ICT, construction and property development, health, beauty and fitness, motivational speaking, catering and events management. Each business was innovative and demonstrated some contribution to local economic and youth development.
Despite fierce competition, four winners were announced two in the business ideas category and two in the existing business category. Happy Results Fitness, a fitness company led by Sazi Fakude that makes use of recyclable materials, produces healthy smoothies and offers affordable fitness packages, won one of the existing business awards. The other winner in this category was Nhlanhla Gxeleka, who’s construction company, GIP Construction, already has a number of satisfied clients and partners strategically with another construction company in a nearby community.
Winners in the business ideas category were Luzuko Mabhongo of the Green Light Vegetation and Siphelele Mbunjelwa of Mbunjelwa Construction (PTY) LTD. Each winner will receive resource support, mentorship and exposure to business development opportunities. The initiative aims to mitigate the unemployment rate of 55.2% in the age bracket of 15-34 years, according to the Statistics South Africa. Afrika Tikkuns short- and medium-term goals are to assist young people to launch start-up businesses and connect them to business acceleration opportunities that will advance their skills and potential to be funded. The long-term goal is to assist young people to move themselves into a higher and more sustainable income bracket.
The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) South Africa’s latest report indicated that for 2016-2017, 37.9% of South Africans perceived that they had the capabilities required to start their own businesses. In addition, 35% of South Africans recognised entrepreneurial opportunities in and around their communities, suggesting there is an appealing business environment in the communities for Afrika Tikkuns Alumni Network members. It is therefore an opportune time for Afrika Tikkun to assist in accelerating and realising entrepreneurship dreams, eventually paving the way for job creation and economically empowering their young people. Afrika Tikkun would like to extend sincere gratitude to Netsurit for its generous sponsorship of the four winning entrepreneurs.