YEP(Young Entrepreneurship Project): Supporting young entrepreneurs

Everything we do at GIFS is carefully aligned to our commitment to create a better Africa for others to inherit. We believe the future lies in empowering, nurturing, bolstering, teaching, guiding and moulding young minds to be agile individuals who ideate and innovate for the betterment of communities. This is why we partnered with the Young Entrepreneurship Project (YEP), a joint initiative by Stellenbosch University (SU), the Hoogeschool Utrecht (HU) University of Applied Sciences Utrecht in the Netherlands and Michigan State University, aimed at nurturing business skills in high school learners from the Stellenbosch area of the Western Cape.

YEP has been inspiring eager, young minds for a second year in a row, empowering learners with knowledge, skills, training and mentorship to turn their ideas into viable start-up businesses. The winning team receives funding to turn their dreams into reality. GIFS is thrilled to partner with YEP this year, providing seed funding for the winning team.

“GIFS is thrilled to be part of this exciting initiative,” explains Kershen Pillay, CEO of Graduate Institute of Financial Sciences (GIFS). “We are always on the lookout to support programmes that empower the youth as we believe in the transformative power of education. Start-ups and medium-sized businesses play a critical role in boosting localised communities by creating jobs and GIFS is proud to support an initiative like YEP that aims to generate positive, sustainable impact at a grassroots level.”

Working in teams, students from HU University and the SU Department of Business Management developed course material for an entrepreneurship workshop that learners from Kayamandi High school, Makapula High and Lückhoff High School attended in July.

Five teams of young entrepreneurs presented their unique ideas to a panel of judges. Then it was up to the panel to make the final decision, and what a tough call it was! The learners impressed with their innovation and infectious enthusiasm! “We found that many of the ideas and concepts were very good from all five teams. The learners’ ideas were innovative and relevant to the context of their communities where the businesses are to be implemented, so it was no easy task,” explained one of the judges, Renee Hector-Kannemeyer, Deputy Director of Social Impact and Head of Matie Community Service at SU.

In the end, based on a range of criteria including the mission and values of the idea, implementation process and long-term sustainability, a team from Lückhoff High School was announced the winner!

Judges were blown away by their ideas, called Siblam Bracelets, that involves recycling plastic and other waste into bracelets that can store info. This is specifically aimed at parents as they would be able to track their little children via the bracelets if they become lost or separated from their loved ones.
Learners from the winning team will continue to work closely with lecturers and students from SU’s Department of Business Management over the next few months to get the project off the ground.

We wish the learners everything the best and can’t wait to see the end-product of their entrepreneurial spirit!

23 September 2019