By Mpofu Sthandile
As Africa continues to pursue the growth and development goals of Agenda 2063, much attention has turned to small South African businesses, which are playing an increasingly important role in curating the prosperity of the country’s economy. By fortifying connections between educational centres and the workplace, the International Youth Foundation (IYF), is dedicated to injecting new energy into the growing economy by instilling essential life and business skills into South Africa’s young talent.
IYF continues to make a difference in cultivating future leaders of industry in the country through their Skills for Life Programme (S4L). In collaboration with The De Beers Group, the goal of the programme is to help improve the employability of South African youth, specifically those enrolled at Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges. S4L has been recognised as a contributor to the nation’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan following the COVID-19 pandemic, and is currently positively changing the lives of Limpopo youth through its partnerships with TVET College networks.
Additionally, S4L has partnered with Brand South Africa and their Play Your Part initiative to conduct nationwide masterclasses and pitching sessions, designed to motivate students to pursue sustainable business ventures. The most recent of which also targeted Limpopo youth, taking place at Meropa Casino and Hotel in Polokwane in August.
The entrepreneurial initiative, Play Your Part Ignite, aims to fuel entrepreneurial passion among South African youth by providing key guidance and business acumen that is essential for business success. The initiative serves as an interactive platform for South African youth to get excited about being a small business owner as well as having the confidence to carry their business ideas into existence, furthering and complementing the foundational skills imparted through S4L. Through this partnership, the IYF is able to extend its affect on youth development, increasing the scale and scope of the S4L programme.
As part of the synergy with Play Your Part Ignite, many students received prize-winnings to the value of R25 000, providing tangible incentives for student participation. The winner of the Ignite event, Busisiwe Chabalala, who pitched her budding clothing company, received an R8 000 investment.
While S4L is currently focused on the Limpopo region, the IYF and The De Beers Group are working on rolling out the initiative.
IYF’s continued and valued partnerships with equally dedicated stakeholders are pivotal to expanding the reach of The Skills for Life Programme. The programme has evolved into a holistically driven, growth development initiative that not only provides foundational life skills, but also access to mentorship and practical opportunities in the entrepreneurial space.
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