Junior Achievers South Africa invests in women entrepreneurs

Young women from across Gauteng graduate from Junior Achievement South Africa's Youth Enterprise Development Programme. Photo: Supplied

 

This year, more than 160 out-of-school, unemployed or self-employed young women aged between 18 to 35 graduated from Junior Achievement South Africa’s Youth Enterprise Development Programme.

This Mastercard-funded initiative, which aims to empower women to pursue entrepreneurial ventures of their own, saw the women participating in more than 20 weeks of the programme which included theoretical and practical sessions focused on business theory, market research, financial and business management, sales and marketing, computer literacy and business funding.

The women, from various townships in Gauteng including Alexandra, also gained practical interpersonal skills and business experience by starting up and managing their own businesses.

“Entrepreneurs characteristically have ambition, determination and a flair for original ideas. However, many lack the business expertise required to develop these into commercially-viable ventures,” said Nelly Mofokeng, managing director at Junior Achievement South Africa.

“A key focus of our programme is to help equip young women with the skills to launch and grow their own businesses and instil the discipline of earning a living, saving, spending and investing.”

According to the 2017 Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs, women account for only 19.1 per cent of business owners in South Africa and have a low rate of entrepreneurial activity, with only seven per cent of working age women in the labour force engaged in early stage entrepreneurial activities compared to 11.6 per cent for men.

“South Africa’s resourceful women are one of its biggest assets, yet it is evident that South African women’s full potential and value as entrepreneurs and business owners are yet to be unleashed,” said Mark Elliott, division president, Mastercard Southern Africa.

Elliot said the programme was just one of the partnerships established to dismantle the structural obstacles and biases that impede female entrepreneurship so that women can play an enlarged role in South Africa’s economic growth story.

Graduates from the programme received an NQF level 4 Services Seta Accredited Youth Enterprise Development Certificate and the Intel Learn Easy Steps Digital Literacy Certificate, and an opportunity to participate in a six-month mentorship programme which will provide them with additional business support while they start formal enterprises.

Edited by Stacey Woensdregt

Read: One-stop service centre for entrepreneurs opens in Joburg CBD

How can women get more involved with entrepreneurial activities and be inspired to start their own business? Tweet and share your views @AlexNewsZA

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