June is Youth Month in South Africa: a time to celebrate young people's role in moving the country forward.
The month centres around Youth Day on June 16th. The day commemorates the 1976 Soweto Uprising, when black students protested Africaans as the medium of instruction in schools and were met with police brutality.
This year's Youth Month theme is “Live the Legacy: Towards A Socio-Economically Empowered Youth” and programmes and activities that are hosted throughout June will be aimed at addressing youth unemployment.
In the spirit of this year's theme, we are asking South African learners from our programmes, both past and present, what it means to be a young entrepreneur.
Pumza is a Grade 10 student at Bulelani High School in Eastern Cape. She is part of her school's EEESAY (Entrepreneurial and Environmental Empowerment for South African Youth) business team.
"Being a young entrepreneur means a lot to me because many young people will be motivated by my achievements and by me. I want other countries to know that South Africa youth have a big impact on being a part of South African businesses. I can also be one of the risk takers, a creative thinker and an overseer of the business.
Being a young entrepreneur, I can bring a lot of change in my community. I will encourage people in my community to open their own businesses. I will help them by providing the knowledge I know about being an entrepreneur from the EEESAY project to help them so that they can start their businesses and that will decrease unemployment ...that's the way I will change my community."
Mbulelo Mandindi graduated from Hillcrest High School in 2014 where he participated in the School Enterprise Challenge with his classmates. Since leaving school, he has started up his own successful social enterprise.
"To me, being a '21-year-young' entrepreneur infers bestowing upon myself the responsibility of solving the problems that I see within my immediate environment. It means that I choose to see the world not as it is but rather as it ought to be, and then working towards creating that reality.
Through Elevate Procurement, my collective procurement company, I am using economies of scale to avail organised groups of people such as crèches, orphanages and underprivileged schools with the ability to procure staple food products at a significantly reduced cost."
Nwabisa and her classmates created the award-winning Dancing Taste Buds Cafe through the EEESAY Prgramme in 2017. Hear Nwabisa speak about her entrepreneurial journey and putting her school on the map with her business' success.
" Everybody just started working together and I had this vision of me running a business of my own; of me being a successful black woman doing something great for myself, my community, my society.
I hope everyone is getting the same opportunities that we are getting - they are getting a chance to also experience everything that comes with the EEESAY project. We're brainstorming ideas. We're building the youth to not depend on anyone but be independent and gain ideas for the near future; we're building future leaders."
Entrepreneurial and Environmental Empowerment for South African Youth is a joint programme run with WESSA Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa and funded by the EU in South Africa.