On Wednesday, the cream of the crop in young entrepreneurs from around the Eastern Cape were recognised for their sterling youth entrepreneurship development work last year.
Mpambani Mzimba High School from Alice, Pentecost Genius School from Cofimvaba and Rainbow Preparatory Academy from Tsomo were awarded cash prizes for the projects in their first-rate participation in the Eskom Simama Ranta schools’ competition.
Simama Ranta, which means “empowering the South African economy”, initiated by the Eskom Development Foundation in collaboration with the Education with Enterprise Trust (EWET), aims to identify and acknowledge South African secondary schools that are leading the way in education initiatives aimed at entrepreneurship.
This, with the intention of encouraging learners to become employers rather than employees.
“Masakhane Youth Enterprise Society” from Mpambani Mzimba High School in Alice was announced as the provincial winner for the Eastern Cape, receiving a R50 000 cash prize for their project. It started in 2017 when they purchased a popcorn and candy floss machine to sell snacks to fellow students and the local community.
“The students use their profits to buy school uniforms and sanitary towels for underprivileged learners. They also support a local day care centre by providing children with scarves, teddy bears and mats.
“Through the competition we learnt a lot. We had no idea that we were so talented. We are also so grateful for how it exposed us to business owners who started small like us but have now made a great success of themselves,” said an overjoyed Siphosethu Mazikho, student at Mpambani Mzimba.
“We are so very proud as a rural school. This prize money will go a long way in enhancing and empowering not only the learners but also the quality and standard of life in our community.
“The light that the Eskom Development Foundation has brought to this village will help our people to find their way, a much better way,” said an excited Nceba Nqaleni, Principal at the school.
Another two schools in the province also received their prizes. First runner-up, Pentecost Genius School which makes and sells scarves, sweets, muffins, fast food and blended juice.
Rainbow Preparatory Academy runs a tuck shop and various fundraising initiatives which include farming, handcrafts, performing arts and jumping castle rentals. Each school won R25 000 and R10 000 respectively for their projects.
Eskom’s Unati Figlan, Senior Manager: Maintenance and Operations advised the young entrepreneurs to continue on the road less travelled by youth.
“You are young which means you have the time – take it. Give thought to growing your businesses, take calculated risks, and above all keep learning. Knowledge is power.”
Eastern Cape learner entrepreneurs honoured at Eskom Simama Ranta prize-giving ceremony
EWET Project Manager Solomon Kabanda said that the program hopes to ensure young people are employable after school.
“Let us teach them while they are still young. Let us help them learn skills that will help them put food on their tables. These young ones are well on their way there. This is why we are here to celebrate them.”
The competition is open to South African intermediate and secondary schools that run entrepreneurship clubs that teach learners the basics of starting and running a business while also responding to their community’s social and economic needs.
Figlan concluded to say that there can be no doubt that small business growth is the wave of the present and will remain that of the future.
“It is trite to say that the youth are the future. This does not make it less true. The Eskom Development Foundation has a strong vested interest in the establishment and growth of small and emerging enterprises.
“Our aim is to make a meaningful and sustainable contribution to the social and economic development of our country. We are dedicated to building a healthy, educated and skilled population that is positive about the future of our country and empowered to live a fulfilled life.”
CAPTION: The three schools receive their prize money. From left to right: Solomon Mukotami, Poswayo Hlumelo, Matoti Ayanda Mxotwa, Nomtandazo Sigonya, Mabuda Siphesihle, Maziko Siphosethu, Nathi Maphophe, Nceba Ngqaleni, Mvula Kuhle, Tapane Lufezo and Ivan Mutyaba