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University students are mentoring high school learners who are participating in the High School Business Plan Competition. The prize is tools to start up your business.
FUTURE businesswoman Kamogelo Machaba has taken the first step to making her dreams come true.


SiboneloSiboniso Ndlovu, assistant director of policy development in the CityMachaba, a 17-year-old learner at Thomas Mofolo High School in Soweto, wants to pursue a career in entrepreneurship. On the way there already, she is one of the students who will be representing her school in the High School Business Plan Competition.

“This programme is important to us as learners because it keeps our minds busy trying to think of business ideas and less time to even think of drugs and other destructive activities. It also helps me personally because I want to study entrepreneurship after matric,” she says.

On Wednesday, 4 May, students studying entrepreneurship at the University of Johannesburg Soweto Campus helped aspiring businesspeople like Machaba to draft business plans in preparation for the finals of the competition, to be held on 11 May at Museum Africa in Newtown.

The mentoring sessions came after the City’s department of economic development in January invited schools from around Johannesburg to enter the competition. The closing date for submissions was 23 March. In all, 33 schools entered.

Business plans they submitted were given to the mentors, who studied them with the aim of providing feedback and offering suggestions.

Of the 33 schools, the top 14 will be shortlisted for the finals. They will present their business plans to the City’s department of economic development, the National Youth Development Agency and the Gauteng department of education.

According to Siboniso Ndlovu, the assistant director of policy development in the City department, the aim of the competition is to attract a pool of high school learners to start thinking about business development.


Learners from Joburg schoolsLearners from Joburg schools busy working on their business plans“The benefits of entering this competition are for learners to get mentored. We want at least half of these business plans to be implemented – even the ones that did not make it to the finals,” he says.

“Everyone has potential, whether they win or not. Even learners themselves can approach other organisations to request assistance,” adds Brian Zondo, the deputy director of policy development in the City of Joburg.

Katlego Kgosieng, a 16-year-old Grade 10 learner from Ithemba Institute of Technology in Tladi, Soweto, wants to be a mechanical engineer one day.

“The programme will help young people like me to be business-minded and spend money wisely, and know that anyone can start their own business no matter how small it is.”

The sponsor of the programme, Amalgamated Beverage Industries (ABI), will give the winning team business start-up tools in the form of a cooler with five cases of soft drinks that the learners will have to sell. The money they make must then be used to develop their business.

The company will also assign an expert from the industry to help the team.

In June, 100 learners will be chosen for a corporate visit to the ABI offices, where they will learn about how the company operates. They will meet the company’s marketing manager and operational manager, and other role players.

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